Using the App Store

Some of the best apps for Mac don’t come from Microsoft or Adobe. They come from the Mac App Store.

The Mac App Store has over 20,000 apps. Search apps by title or category. See screen shots of an app and read reviews. When you’re ready to buy, click the price and type your Apple ID password.

There’s no better place to buy apps. Installation is completely automatic and you can install apps on all compatible devices you use at no additional charge. No serial numbers to track, no extra license fees, no worries about malware or giving your credit card to strangers. And app updates are just a click away.

Signing into the App Store and making purchases

Be sure you’re signed in with the correct Apple ID before you make a purchase. Your items will be charged to the credit card associated with the active Apple ID. Learn about creating and managing Apple IDs.

We usually recommend using your own Apple ID for iTunes & App Store purchases, as well as iCloudMessages & FaceTime. If you’re using a work computer or need an app purchased under another account, see Sharing purchases below.

  1. Open the App Store in the Apple menu, the Launchpad or the dock.
  2. Click the Store menu and Sign In. Wrong account? You can sign out here, then sign into the other account.
  3. You may view your Apple ID record or change billing information.
  4. Select a department – Featured, Top Charts or Categories.
  5. Or type in the search box. You can search by title, developer or description.
  6. Read a description and learn about the app. Click More to continue reading, or scroll down to see screenshots and reviews.
  7. Click Download or the price to purchase the app. Most are under $10; many are free. You’ll need to enter your Apple ID password, then the app is downloaded and installed automatically. Look for it in the Applications or Launchpad (rocket icon). You can drag it to the dock.

The first time you use an Apple ID to purchase an app on a new computer you’ll need to verify the credit card associated with the account.

Sharing purchases with other computers

Once purchased, most apps can be installed on all Macs you use as long as you sign in with the same Apple ID. You’ll only need to enter a credit card if you purchase new apps.

  1. Open the App Store in the Apple menu, the Launchpad or the dock.
  2. Check the Store menu – sign into the account originally used to purchase the app (or a linked Family Sharing account, see below).
  3. Click Purchases to see apps purchased with this account.
  4. If you’re using Family Sharing, you can choose from your own apps or those purchased by others in your group.
  5. Click Download next to the app you want to install.

Use Apple Family Sharing to link up to 6 Apple IDs so users can share apps & iTunes purchases with the group. Or people in a household or small group can sign in with a common Apple ID for the App Store & iTunes. Caution: users should not sign into a shared Apple ID in iCloud, Messages or FaceTime. They would risk mixing their texts, calls, photos & other data with others.

Updating apps & OS X software

Keeping your software up-to-date is important… and it’s usually free.

  1. Open the App Store in the Apple menu, the Launchpad or the dock.
  2. Choose Updates.  The App Store indicates how many updates are available with a badge.
  3. Read about new features in the updated app.
  4. Click Update next to the app you want to update.
  5. Or click Update All to install all available updates.
  6. If the app was purchased with a different App Store account, you may be asked to sign in with that account’s name and password. After you install the update, remember to click the Store menu and Sign Out, then Sign In with your usual account.
  7. See a history of updates installed in the last 30 days.

Turn on automatic Mac app downloads if you have more than one Mac. Click the Apple menu and choose System Preferences. Click App Store and check the boxes for the apps & updates you want installed automatically.

Learn more Mac basics.

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