What Is the Mac App Store and How Does It Work?

Date: July 17, 2021

Wasn't it a pain in the neck back then? Let's say you wanted to play the latest Call of Duty game on your Mac. To find it, you'd have to go to a physical store and rummage through products on store shelves. Is it out of stock? Then you'd have to buy it from an online store and either wait for a disc to arrive in seven to ten business days, or go through a lengthy download and manual installation process.

To get started, go to the Mac App Store. It was launched in January 2011 and allows Mac users to investigate and download free or premium software with only a few clicks from their computer. The Mac App Store was available in 90 countries as of August 2011 and includes hundreds of applications ranging from language flashcards to yoga routines in 21 distinct categories.

On Macs sold with the OS X Lion (version 10.7) operating system, the Mac App Store comes preloaded. Simply look for a blue circle with a white edge and a "A" in the middle, which is the Mac App Store icon.

You may still be able to download the Mac App Store if your Mac is running an older operating system. When you upgrade to OS X Lion, the Mac App Store is compatible with OS X Snow Leopard (version 10.6) and is available for free download. To access the Mac App Store, go to the Apple symbol in the upper left corner of your screen and select "software update." Click the "instal" button when a dialogue box displays. After the installation is complete, restart your Mac and open the Mac App Store from the dock icon.

The Mac App Store looks and functions similarly to the existing App Store for iPhones and iPads. To access the store on a computer, go to the desktop dock and click the Mac App Store icon. Users can search for programmes by name or keyword, browse for apps by category, examine "new and notable" apps, or look at staff picks when the Mac App Store opens.

The Mac App Store is designed after other Mac software with built-in purchase facilities, including iTunes and iBooks, which, as of June 2011, had sold over 15 billion music and 130 million books [source: Porten].

Continue reading to learn about a few significant changes made to the Mac App Store in OS X Lion.

How to Get the Most Out of the Mac App Store

The Mac App Store received some notable improvements with Apple's Lion (v10.7) operating system, which was released in July 2011, including the ability to make in-app purchases and receive push notifications, as well as an incremental update system that identifies, downloads, and installs only the files that need updating, making the process faster [source: Porten]. The Mac App Store, on the other hand, does not recognise upgrades for current software apps on a computer; you must repurchase the apps from the Mac App Store to receive automatic free updates [source: Gordon].

There is less of an environmental impact now since downloading and upgrading apps is an entirely electronic operation that does not involve discs, packing materials, or shipping. Furthermore, many Mac software sold on disc or by download had limited permissions that limited their use to a single computer. The most common way to get around this restriction was to purchase a costly group licence. Users can now instal software on any Mac they own and download them again as needed because the Mac App Store retains track of previous purchases. This is especially useful for consumers who purchase a new Mac and wish to instal applications that they already own [source: Apple].

Have you ever tried to open a file only to discover you don't have the necessary application? A dialogue box will appear on Macs having access to the Mac App Store, offering to search the Mac App Store for an application that will open it. If you find the software, you can buy it right away [source: Luoma].

The Mac App Store has both free and premium apps. An app will cost you anywhere from $15 and $80 on average [source: Macworld]. However, one programme in particular, the iRa Pro mobile video surveillance app, costs as much as $899.99.

What is the procedure for purchasing this – or any other – app? A step-by-step guide is available on the following page.

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