8 Tips to Get the Most Out of the Mac App Store
The Mac App Store is often underrated. It is, for sure, the best resource for finding and downloading software on a Mac. From productivity tools to games, the App Store has everything one can need for personal, professional, or educational purposes.
However, to make full use of it, you need to know how it works. So, this guide will cover the best features of the Mac App Store that are less known but extremely useful. From searching by category to hiding installed apps, the App Store has several hidden gems you should look into.
1. App Search
While there are several ways to find and install Mac software, you’re better off sticking to the App Store. One reason for this is that it lets you browse apps by extension, category, and similarity. Here’s how:
- Search by file extension: If you type “.pdf” (or almost any other file extension) into the search bar to find, you can find apps that open PDF files.
- Search by category: The App Store apps are categorized. You can browse apps by category by visiting the Categories tab from the left sidebar.
- Search by similarity: If you scroll down on an app’s download page, you can view apps that are similar to it in the You Might Also Like section.
2. Check App Information
It’s often the case that we learn how useless an app is only after installing it. You can save this trouble, however, by jumping right to the Information section on the app page, which shows:
- Version history: Current version of the app and the changes that have been made to it over time. By assessing the update frequency, you can determine whether it is supported by a dedicated team or not.
- Compatibility: Whether an app is compatible with your Mac or not. You can click the Compatibility button to see the app’s macOS version requirements.
- In-app purchases: Subscription fees and hidden charges that an app may have. Doing so might save you from getting a refund on the App Store.
- Website: Developers often provide additional information (app tutorials, FAQs, pricing models, etc.) on their website, which is linked on the app download page.
- Support: You can also find a link to the developer’s app support pages. You can contact the developer in case of any technical issues regarding the app.
3. Read App Reviews
The best way to assess an app’s legitimacy and performance is to read reviews from other users. The App Store lets users rate apps and leave comments, allowing you to get a sense of the app before downloading it.
To read app reviews, simply scroll down to the Ratings and Reviews section on the app page. This shows you the app’s average rating on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
It also shows you how many total ratings the app has received. Of course, you can also read several reviews from people who have used the app themselves.
You can also look at Apple’s App Store Awards for top apps in a given year, which is a great way to find an exciting new app.
4. Find Safari Extensions
This may come as a surprise to you, especially if you’ve been using Chrome, but you can easily find and install Safari extensions from the Mac App Store. To do this, launch the App Store, go to Categories > Safari Extensions, and download the extension you want:
Once done, you can launch Safari and go to Safari > Settings > Extensions and enable or disable an extension by clicking the checkbox next to it.
There are dozens of options to pick from, and you can even find a lot of extensions that can turn Safari into a productivity powerhouse.
5. Set App Download Reminders
You may sometimes feel that you don’t need an app today but may need it in the future. So, instead of downloading the app immediately and having it occupy space on your drive, you can set reminders to download it in the future.
To do this, click the Share button in the top-right corner of the app download page, and select Reminders from the dropdown menu.
Set a name for the reminder, click Choose List to select a list of reminders you want this one to be saved to, and click Add.
There’s a lot more you can do with the built-in Reminders app, such as setting an alarm on your Mac.
6. View App Screenshots
Another way of understanding an app’s functionality is to view its screenshots. You can find them on each app’s download page, giving you a good idea of the design and features. Most developers do an excellent job summarizing the features in these screenshots, which is why some people skip reading the description.
For example, stoic. is an app that does a good job summarizing key features of the app in screenshots.
One screenshot tells how you can use stoic. to feel better, and the subsequent few tell you about the journaling, exploring, and syncing features.
7. View or Hide Installed Apps
The App Store lets you manage your App Store purchases on a Mac. For example, you can view all the apps (both free and paid) you’ve installed on your Mac by clicking the Profile button in the bottom-left corner of the App Store.
From here, you can also hide certain apps from showing up in your purchase history. To do this, hover the cursor over the app you want to hide, click the three dots icon, and then click Hide Purchases.
Similarly, you can also unhide apps on your Mac. Once you’re in the Profile section of the App Store, click on Account Settings or View Information. Then, scroll to Hidden Items and click Manage next to it. From here, click Unhide next to any app that was previously hidden.
8. Update Your Apps
Keeping apps up-to-date is crucial for the best performance and security. It’s also important to check on updates every once in a while so that you don’t miss out on new features.
To do this, open the App Store and click Updates from the left sidebar. Here, you can view all the apps that need updating. Click on Update All at the top to update them all at once.
If you want to update just one particular app, click the Update button right next to its name.
You may not need this if you have not disabled automatic updates on your Mac.
Optimize Your Mac Experience With the App Store
Some of these tips are obvious, but others are less known. For example, not many people are aware that you can set app download reminders, hide installed apps, and stop automatic updates. They’re simple to implement and can save a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
Don’t forget that the App Store isn’t the only place to find software for your Mac. In fact, you can download apps from the web, just like on Windows PCs. And if you use the Terminal app, you can also install software by typing in the proper commands once you’ve installed Homebrew.