How to download Apple’s iWork apps on older Macs for free

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Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 10.28.16 AM
Here's how to get the iWork suite for free on older Macs. Photo: Cult of Mac

If you bought a Mac from 2013 on, you can download the iWork suite of apps — Pages, Keynote and Numbers — from the Mac App Store absolutely free. But what if you bought an older Mac? You have to pay, and they’re expensive, running $19.99 each.

Thankfully, there’s a trick you can use to download iWork apps from the App Store for free. Here’s how.

This neat little trick was spotted by Redmond Pie. It lets owners of older Macs get free copies of Apple’s iWork programs. The cross-platform productivity suite includes presentation software (Keynote), a word processor (Pages) and a spreadsheet app (Numbers).

Here’s how it works.

How to get iWork Mac apps for Mac for free

1) First, download and install the iWork ’09 trial (.dmg).

2) Launch Pages, Numbers and Keynote, then quit each app.

3) Launch the Mac App Store, and go to the Updates tab.

4) Voila! You should now be able to update the iWork ’09 versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote to the latest versions. Do so.

5) Once you’ve updated each app, the iWork ’09 trials will have been deleted. Better yet, each app will be permanently associated with your account under the Purchases tab.

If you want to get the iWork apps for free on an older Mac, you might want to get hopping on this trick: It doesn’t seem likely Apple intends the iWork ’09 trial to be used in this way. But hey, Cupertino’s loss is your gain!

Source: Redmond Pie

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  • T

    Says it’s not available for this apple ID because it was either bought by a different user, refunded or cancelled

    • Xiaoxi Liu

      same problem !!!

      • Xiaoxi Liu

        after updating the Yosemite to the latest version and it worked !!! thanks very much!

    • andrews raoul

      Same here

      • Chetan Vala

        same issue

  • Timothy Monk

    Worked for me. But I already bought Pages a while ago so maybe that’s why. Although the trial versions are still there as well.

  • Apple101

    this worked perfect! just saved me $60!!!! thanks cult of mac

  • Al

    Expensive???? $20 for a great program is not expensive. Think of Word or other truly expensive programs. Let’s not perpetuate that $20 is too much to pay for great software we gets years worth of use out of when going out to a two hour movie voters more. We want developers to continue making great apps, not for everyone to expect free and not be able to make ends meet.

  • B

    Didn’t work for me. Followed instructions, did updates, they’re still the trial versions

    • Try again with set to English language for OS X system in system preferences, if you have different. I’m not sure about version (UK or U.S) please try both. It worked for people from Poland with Polish language ;)

  • Anon

    Worked for me! Wouldn’t even open the keynote trial (i already own the other 2) but the update worked

  • Dz

    So your kinda into a grey area of stealing now. Nice cult of Mac.

    • BizarreFoodie

      Actually, once you download the trial, it automatically asks to update; no trickery or stealing involved. Cult of Mac is just letting others know it’s available.

    • tjwolf

      Apple made iWorks free with every new Mac. As far as I’m concerned this “slip up” on their part simply fixes what they should have done in the first place – it’s not like Mac sales were dependent on this little freebie.

  • Chester

    No luck here. I purchased Pages but tried this technique to get Numbers and Keynote. “No updates available.”

  • User

    I’m running osx 10.9. Installed trial. They show up as “Incompatible App Updates” under updates section. Will not allow to update. If I search for them separately they show up as installed with the option to update to the latest available compatible version, asks for apple id and pass credentials, starts update, acts like its updating then kinda times out. No luck here

    • User

      Got it working by going into purchases tab. From there it allowed me to update. But it looks like it actually installed new apps instead of updating, because I basically have doubles. the 09 ones which are still in trial mode and the new ones that work fine.

      • PMB01

        Now you can just delete the 09 versions.

  • m4orgot

    Fine up ’til Step 4 … not free now, price 19.99. Thanks anyway, but I see it has been getting bad reviews so probably not worth the effort. I liked it up ’til v.6 … ‘improvements’ often very over-rated ;-)

  • wassonii

    Thank you!

  • James

    Thanks for sharing a trick that’s been well known and publicised by other sites sbd on forums since apple announced the free apps. Good to see you are “up to date” with your articles.

  • MleB1

    Now if only iWorks was an Office Suite that, y’know, real companies used. And whose iCloud to mobile iWorks sync actually worked without it wanting to change formatting and fonts. Might as well drag out your ClarisWorks for all the practical usefulness it offers.

    • Kr00

      So you suggest people use a three year old Microsoft product that crashes constantly and doesn’t sync with iCloud services? No thanks. May as well use a notes app.

      • MleB1

        If you’re referring to Microsoft Office for Mac, then yes, I’m suggesting that a 3 year old program is far superior a product (and always has been) if you intend on doing professional work to/for real companies. I can’t speak to crashing as I’ve not had that issue on my Mac, while recent associations with Dropbox means my MS Office-created materials can sync seamlessly between the (free) mobile editions of same and my Mac’s version – and I’m not experiencing any attempts by the apps to change formatting and font as files move between devices.

      • Kr00

        I run a business and had to give up using office as it crashed too many times and it’s data base corrupted on at least two occasions, wiping everything I had worked on for years. This is my professional experience and since switching to iWork, I have never had an issue. Now with iCloud syncing, I can access any document from anywhere using any computer and edit, or create or print at any time I choose. I do not see office offering this, so how can you call it professional? iWork is as competent as office. Time you took your blinkers off.

      • Kr00

        A cobbled together workaround that doesn’t come near iWork syncing across OSX iOS and iCloud. Two of my brothers and a friend have all had data corruption issues with office over the years and have lost everything, that’s when I left it behind. You clealry haven’t tried iWork in its current state, across all platforms, concurrently and seamlessly, if you did, you’d see how old, tired and out of date office actually is. But hey, if you want to tie yourself down to an expensive monolith, knock yourself out. How much will next years version cost I wonder?

    • PMB01

      iWork is good enough for 99% of what people use Office for. The features of Office are vastly underused by the majority of users.

  • Nick Fields

    Worked exactly as described except it didn’t delete the trials. I think I can handle that part, though. :-) Thank you, John!!!