‘Netflix of Mac software’ lets you binge on apps


Mac App Store
What developers really think of the Mac App Store.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s Mac App Store has been a desolate wasteland of mediocrity for years, but a new service called Setapp wants to breathe new life into macOS apps.

Setapp app claims it’s an “Unstore” alternative to the Mac App Store. Instead of paying for apps individually, you’ll pay a monthly subscription fee for access to 300 popular apps.

The service doesn’t officially launch until next year, but the company revealed that it is opening up early access today. You can register at the Setapp website and get access as the Mac app subscription service rolls out in the next few weeks. Setapp says it will launch with 45 apps.

Another subscription service

MacPaw, the maker of Setapp, is hoping the subscription model will be a win-win for both casual and power users. Subscriptions cost $9.99 per month, but you get unlimited access to handpicked apps. No in-app purchases. Everything just works.

MacPaw expects to include up to 300 apps once Setapp gets in full swing. Ulysses, CodeRunner, Blogo, Marked 2, RapidWeaver 7, Eltima Player and Base are among some of the first apps that will be available to users.

“The way you get Mac software is about [to] change in a big way,” said Oleksandr Kosovan, CEO of MacPaw, in a press release. “Both Mac aficionados and casual users are going to be blown away by the new and innovative software available in Setapp. No annoying ads. No paid upgrades. No hidden charges. Just get Setapp, and you’re all set.”

To use Setapp’s collection of apps, subscribers install a folder in the Finder on their Macs. Any of the applications can then be accessed from the Finder and installed as long as the subscription remains active. Users can also use the apps while offline.

One of the biggest benefits of using Setapp is that you can try apps before buying them, unlike with the Mac App Store. Now if you want to see if an app is truly worth its price tag, you can try it through Setapp and commit to purchasing it later — or don’t.