What exactly is the point of the macOS App Store?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 10, 2014
The only apps I can find on there of any use are twitter and WhatsApp. Everything else you just go through the browser.

I understand apps on iPhone/iPad as they are built with touch interface in mind. So what benefit does a Mac app have over just either using the browser or downloading the app directly from a site?


macrumors member
Jul 26, 2019
The macOS App Store has a much better selection than the Windows App Store IMHO, I actually have quite a few apps downloaded through the macOS App Store.


macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
ny somewhere
it's a store, with apps... for the mac. plus, you're kept up-to-date (a nice touch). what's the point of any store, after all?.....


macrumors 68040
May 13, 2010
The point of Mac App Store is to give people a window into Mac apps. They can choose to download via this route or they can download via the developers' respective websites, that choice is left to the users to make.


macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
Everyone so far is missing a point of confusion on the part of the poster.

They seem to first be asking “what is the point of apps”, because “everything else you just use the browser”.

But they also ask about downloading directly from the publisher. So, I think a couple of different concepts are being conflated here.

I think you just aren’t looking hard enough. Lots of apps are useful, run on your Mac, and don’t have any back-end service or use the Internet at all. (A good example are Finder alternatives - I use PathFinder). And, indeed, CAN’T be implemented by a website. I guess you don’t have any need for them though.

As to whether to buy from the App Store or directly from the publisher that is your choice. The publisher will make more profit usually if you buy directly. And in some cases, apps downloaded from the publisher can have additional functionality that isn’t allowed in App Store apps. In the App Store column, apps there have had some vetting from Apple, have to meet certain standards, etc.

I think there is yet a third confusion here. Actually, I tried to search for an answer to how many apps are in the Mac App Store, and actuslly didn’t get any useful answers. But certainly there are at least thousands and probably much more than that. Maybe OP is expecting to find their favorite iOS apps also in the Mac App Store and is disappointed they do not exist.

Apple is actually encouraging developers to support all of iOS, iPadOS, tvOS and MacOS and has recently announced “universal apps”. Good luck with that! Great idea, but very difficult for developers. It’s a lot of work, and as well not every app “translates” well to the different environments.

will be lots of issues with touchpad vs mouse/keyboard. And the fact that Apple STILL doesn’t have a touchscreen laptop (like Microsoft Surface). When Apple should have been the FIRST company to implement that!
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macrumors regular
May 16, 2017
Toronto, Canada
It's to provide a revenue stream to Apple. Each app sold through their 'store' gives Apple a percentage.

You can debate all the "other benefits" as much as you like, but it's fundamentally about Apple's bottom line.
Yup. Just like the iPhone, iPad and iPods are just Content Delivery Devices to their App Store - their advertised functions actually secondary to that. Mac Store not for consumer, but for Apple.

Of course, secondary to that in the Mac Store is that they only allow apps that have been hobbled to suit Apple's 'sandbox', especially when the full product (often still found online and available for download and installation) provides a product / service / fix to Apple's embedded ones.


macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
I disagree about the iOS App Store being “only for Apple”.

As an app developer both iOS and Android) I appreciate that Apple does not accept the garbage that is found in the Play Store. It is obvious from a developers viewpoint that Google does little oversight - your apps are published essentially instantly on Play after a minimal automated test.

BTW Play Store apps appear on “alternative” app stores within 24 hours of publication. The average user has no way of knowing if they are genuine copies, modified, or completely different apps. And because your Java code is there in plain sight (unless obfuscated, which is not much of a barrier) its pretty easy to make a clone.

i take a few steps for Android (and iOS but particularly important for Android) that I’d imagine 99% of developers don’t bother with:

- won’t run on rooted/jailbroken devices
- won’t run on a simulator
- won’t run unless installed from Play Store (or from private enterprise store if enterprise app)
- encrypted database
- encrypted assets
- obfuscated Java code (not that it would do anybody much good, since any Java code in my apps is part of an open source framework and available on Github to examine.)
- encrypted code for UI and business logic

while this won’t stop everyone, it is enough to discourage most. its at least as effective as taking you car keys with you rather than leaving them hanging in the ignition with the door unlocked. MOST Android apps leave the key in the ignition with the door unlocked...

FWIW the framework I use uses the NDK (Native Development Kit) for Android. Just like the Google apps. Oh? Nobody told you? Google doesn’t eat their own dog food. Their apps are largely statically compiled to machine code and do not Use Java or the JVM.
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macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
ny somewhere
this forum is a great place... if one is in need of whiners. how can an app store generate so much venom? and is this really what ppl are concerned about in the world, surprised that apple runs like a business, and makes money?

the app store sells apps. you can find some of them on the developers sites, or check macupdate.com. or whatever. but it's exactly what apple has made it. so you can buy apps there... or not.

apple is not our friend... or our enemy. it's a business that makes (mostly) great products... which is why we're here on these forums to begin with. so, would be great to have more discussion here and less whining... but am not holding my breath. :rolleyes:


macrumors 68040
May 17, 2008
To OP,
The App Store is supposed to be a "safe haven" where all apps are safe to use, exactly like on iOS.

Due to the nature of modern computer use, people no longer use many apps on their computers, most everything can be done through a website. The few apps here and there that people use are usually from trusted companies (Like Adobe, Microsoft, Mozilla) so people do not worry about downloading them from the original source.

What makes it even worse is that Apple takes a 30% cut on app developers and subscriptions, guaranteeing that Apps bought from App store are always more expensive than if you go directly to the source. Also due to Apple App Store rules, some apps are not allowed in the App Store making the selection even less. I know TextExpander is one of those apps.


macrumors G3
Jul 4, 2007
Atlanta, GA
So ignoring the number of apps which are useful to you, which is a separate issue, I find it hard to believe that you don’t actually understand the purpose of the App Store.


macrumors 6502
Sep 29, 2006
Brighton, UK
Interesting looking at the BlueMail fracas

It's Apple's store; get out!


macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2006
Interesting looking at the BlueMail fracas

It's Apple's store; get out!
If they were really modifying the app bundle, Apple had no fault in rejecting them from the App Store.