Write Better on Your Mac With These 9 Apps and Tricks

mac-writing-apps

Writing is an enjoyable activity, but you can really hamper yourself if you don’t have the proper tools. Whether you can’t find the motivation to write, have trouble collecting your ideas, or struggle with grammar, the right apps can really help. We’ll show you some of the best apps and tricks you can use to help you write more on your Mac. 1. Choose a Writing App Most writers will choose a standard word processor without a second thought. But there are many issues with this. When you type in a word processor, the text is continuously typeset as you…

Read the full article: Write Better on Your Mac With These 9 Apps and Tricks

mac-writing-apps

Writing is an enjoyable activity, but you can really hamper yourself if you don’t have the proper tools. Whether you can’t find the motivation to write, have trouble collecting your ideas, or struggle with grammar, the right apps can really help.

We’ll show you some of the best apps and tricks you can use to help you write more on your Mac.

1. Choose a Writing App

choose a proper writing app

Most writers will choose a standard word processor without a second thought. But there are many issues with this.

When you type in a word processor, the text is continuously typeset as you key it in. It’s easy to lose sight of the logical structure in favor of the typographical elements, which results in a loss of momentum while writing and subsequent distractions.

It also forces you to decide on a specific appearance of the heading with strict formatting options. A writer can’t focus on creating words, and may instead fiddle with fonts and menus as a way of procrastinating. A writing app should help writers to write; not get in the way to add unneeded friction.

And when you need a particular feature, it should be easy to discover. Word processors often obfuscate features in complex menus. You can work around this by writing in Markdown. Its syntax is simple to learn, lets you focus on the writing, and even let you create complex documents with all formatting options.

Take a look at these two Mac writing apps:

Download: iA Writer ($30)
Download: Typora (Free)

2. Outline Your Ideas With Scapple

outline your ideas with scapple

When you take time to draft an outline, you can work out if the ideas connect to each other, what order works best, identify gaps in your thinking, and confirm your thoughts with proven facts. Scapple is an intuitive app for jotting your ideas down by developing connections between them. It’s the software equivalent of pen and paper.

Unlike typical mind-mapping software, Scapple doesn’t force you to make connections, nor do you have to begin with a central idea. It’s a freeform writing app with an expandable canvas to fit all your notes. You can move notes around to make room for new connections, create stacks from notes, edit and resize them, or even link to files on your Mac.

Download: Scapple (Free trial, $15)

3. Manage a Notebook With OneNote

manage a notebook with onenote

Every writer should keep a notebook to store all their ideas and notes. OneNote is a personal digital notebook to write and manage all sorts of notes.

Try creating a Writing Projects notebook, and start adding few sections. You might have Ideas for new article ideas, Articles and Finished Articles for articles in progress and completed articles, and Track as a place to check your writing progress and improvements.

In the Ideas section, you can create a page for all ideas, another page as a simple Kanban board, and a page to keep web links. In the Articles section, create a new page for each article you want to write. Install the OneNote web clipper extension and start bookmarking or clipping articles from the web.

You can even embed a video, record audio, and take notes from the media. If necessary, create a subpage to keep your notes, bookmarks, and outline separately in a parent/child format. Develop your workflow and start using OneNote to manage resources and improve your productivity.

Download: Microsoft OneNote (Free)

4. Use SearchLink to Generate Links

use searchlink to generate links

Many writers spend a lot of time pasting links from the web. When you do it manually, you not only waste time, but also lose momentum while writing—or worse, get lost following all those links.

SearchLink is a system service for macOS that handles searching multiple sources and automatically generate links for text. Start with an exclamation point (!). Then type the argument you want to use. For example:

  • !mas: search Mac App Store
  • !itu: search iTunes App Store
  • !s: software search using Google
  • !@t: link text as Twitter username

Check the SearchLink website for more arguments.

Now let’s say you want to link an app from the Mac App Store. Type in !mas Pixelmator. Right-click and choose Services > SearchLink. Within seconds, it’ll run a search in the background and replace it with a full Markdown link.

You can use specific modifiers to customize the way you want to link with text. Put !! at the end of the text to only return the URL without any link formatting. Similarly, put ^ at the end to output the result to the clipboard, leaving the text in place.

For example, !s Pixelmator!! will run a software search for Pixelmator and output only a link. Then, if you bind this service with a hotkey, you can link the text just with the keyboard.

Download: SearchLink (Free)

5. Customize the Dictionary to Improve Vocabulary

customize the dictionary to improve vocabulary

The built-in Dictionary app is a powerful tool to search for definitions, plus thesaurus and Wikipedia entries. You can search for the words manually, or point to a word and press Ctrl + Cmd + D to open the dictionary panel with the definition right in front of you.

To make the Dictionary app more useful, install Terminology. It is based on the WordNet project, a large lexical database of English. It joins not just word forms, but specific senses of the word. Also, it labels the semantic relations among words, making it more powerful than a thesaurus.

Open Dictionary > Preferences and check the Terminology box. It’ll now appear as one of your search options in the Dictionary app.

Download: Terminology (Free)

6. Cut Off the Distractions

move the window from desktop1 to desktop2

Writing requires a clean working environment. Too many files and windows on the desktop act as clutter on the screen. It’s wise to develop good habits by making proper use of the workspace.

You can organize your workspace with Mission Control. The virtual desktop feature, called Spaces, lets you easily organize app windows across multiple desktops.

You can even use third-party apps to automate the window management operations. Hocus Focus is a menu bar utility that keeps your desktop clean by hiding the inactive windows automatically. If you have a problem with focus, use the HazeOver app to highlight the foremost app window and mask the windows in the background that distract you.

Download: Hocus Focus (Free)
Download: HazeOver (Free trial, $5)

7. Store Temporary Items With Clipboard Utility

store temporary items with alfred clipboard feature

It’s not necessary to store every piece of text, images, and link in a notebook. Some items are temporary, so you’ll discard them later on. That’s where a clipboard utility app might be of help.

Alfred‘s clipboard history feature (part of the Powerpack) is unique. Go to Alfred’s Preferences, and under Features > Clipboard, enable Clipboard History. Check the box next to the relevant types, and choose how long you want to remember your clips.

Now, press the Alt + Cmd + C hotkey to bring up the Clipboard History panel. Alfred will show you the clips you’ve copied. Type any word or phrase in the search bar to filter your results.

You can even merge multiple clips onto your clipboard. Go to Features > Clipboard > Merging and enable the box next to merging. To append a clip onto the previously copied text, hold Cmd and double-tap C quickly. Then paste the clip you copied onto any app.

Download: Alfred (Free, $25 Powerpack available)

8. Use a Text Expander Utility

using atext textexpander utility

Even if you’ve learned to type quickly, certain forms of writing can require you to type repetitive text. You can avoid RSI and other injuries by cutting down on your keystrokes. Using a text expansion tool can save your hands and hours of your time.

aText accelerates your typing by offering shortcuts for the characters you write. When you open the app for the first time, you’ll see boilerplate snippets for typing in the date and time, symbol substitution macros, and more. To create a new snippet, type the keyword in the Abbreviation field, and content you want to expand in the Content field.

Download: aText (Free trial, $5)

9. Correct Grammar and Get Writing Suggestions

get writing suggestions with writefull app

When you write a first draft, you’re just putting your ideas together. Spelling errors and poorly written sentences are common in first drafts, so it’s important to revise and improve it. You can use some tools to help you improve your final product.

At times, you’ll want writing suggestions. These can tell whether you’ve written a correct sentence, compare confusing words, which adjective or preposition is appropriate for a particular phrase, or get synonyms in context. Writefull is an app that gives feedback on your writing by checking your text against databases, like Google Scholar, Books, and more.

You might also want to use Grammarly for proofreading your articles. It checks your spelling, grammar, suggests synonyms in context, and more. And if you subscribe to Grammarly Pro, it’ll detect if you use words in a wrong way, subject-verb agreement, pronoun use, and punctuation usage.

Download: Writefull (Free)
Download: Grammarly (Free, subscription available)

Read Books to Become a Better Writer

To become a better writer, you need the best tools to help you realize your dreams. macOS is a creative environment to work with, and there are many third-party tools at its disposal—even more than ones discussed here.

Writing is a complicated skill, and these tools cover only half the job. You need to read more to become a better writer. If this inspires you, you might want to know how to read more books this year.

Read the full article: Write Better on Your Mac With These 9 Apps and Tricks

Apple takes down Trend Micro Mac apps that collected, stored user data

24 hours of users’ browsing data was unknowingly sent to Trend Micro’s servers.

Enlarge (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple removed several anti-malware apps from its Mac App Store after the apps were found to export users' browser histories. All of the apps in question are made by the cyber-security company Trend Micro, which initially denied the allegations but has since issued an apology to its users.

"Reports that Trend Micro is 'stealing user data' and sending them to an unidentified server in China are absolutely false," the initial statement says.

The statement also details what Trend Micro found in its investigation: the company claims its some of its apps, including Dr. Cleaner, Dr. Antivirus, and Dr. Unarchiver, uploaded a "small snapshot" of users' browser histories that covered the 24 hours before installation. The company claims this was done for "security purposes," particularly to see if users had recently come into contact with adware or other threats. The collected user data was uploaded to a US-based server hosted by Amazon Web Services and managed by Trend Micro.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Top selling Mac App Store app found to send user browser data to Chinese servers without permission [update: app now removed]

Adware Doctor for Mac is the No. 1 paid utility app on the MAS. It’s also logging browser history of users without their permission and sending it to China.

Adware Doctor for Mac is the No. 1 paid utility app on the Mac App Store. It’s also logging browser history of users without their permission and sending it to a service in China, according to ThreatPost.... Read the rest of this post here


"Top selling Mac App Store app found to send user browser data to Chinese servers without permission [update: app now removed]" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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8 Sites to Find Discounts on Mac Apps Outside the App Store

mac-apps-discounts

Mac app developers often put their software on sale through the Mac App Store. But all sorts of great apps aren’t offered on the App Store. Although you may occasionally notice a deal on Facebook or Twitter, there are dedicated sites to help you find Mac apps on sale. We’ll show you eight ways to find discounts on Mac apps not available on the App Store. 1. MakeUseOf Deals MakeUseOf Deals offer a broad selection of deals on electronic gears and gadgets, apps, subscription-based web services, online courses, and design assets. Go to the Deals page, and choose Categories >…

Read the full article: 8 Sites to Find Discounts on Mac Apps Outside the App Store

Mac app developers often put their software on sale through the Mac App Store. But all sorts of great apps aren’t offered on the App Store.

Although you may occasionally notice a deal on Facebook or Twitter, there are dedicated sites to help you find Mac apps on sale. We’ll show you eight ways to find discounts on Mac apps not available on the App Store.

1. MakeUseOf Deals

makeuseof deals section

MakeUseOf Deals offer a broad selection of deals on electronic gears and gadgets, apps, subscription-based web services, online courses, and design assets. Go to the Deals page, and choose Categories > Apps + Software. You’ll see all the apps, including web apps, running on sale.

You can arrange those deals in different ways. Click the Filter By dropdown menu to narrow the selection choice, or use the Sort By dropdown menu to sort them by best sellers, newest apps, or sales ending soon.

There’s another unique feature, called the Pay What You Want bundle. If you enter an amount less than the average price, you’ll only get a few items from the bundle. Choose the average price to buy the entire bundle.

First-time MUO Deals users can also get an extra 10 percent discount on their first purchase.

2. BundleHunt

bundlehunt app bundle website

Sometimes you find yourself buying a bundle only to get few particular apps. This means you’re stuck with apps you’ll never use.

BundleHunt is a bundle site that offers a large selection of Mac apps, with an option to curate app selection yourself to avoid unwanted downloads. You can get those apps at a fixed price. Some apps are as low as $1, with a maximum price of $5.

Start adding the apps you like by clicking the Plus button below each app. In addition to the cost of the individual apps, you’ll have to pay $5 to “unlock” your bundle. Upon your purchase, you’ll get instant access to the license keys for apps you brought. You can even add multiple license keys (limit of three) for any app you like.

BundleHunt also lets you export registration keys as a CSV file. Go to Account > Downloads & License Keys, select your bundle, and click Export License Keys. Then import that file in the password manager of your choice to keep the details safe.

All the apps included in the bundle are directly available from the developer websites. You’ll also get the latest version of every app. You can follow BundleHunt on Twitter or sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates.

3. Two Dollar Tuesday

twodollartues deals website

Two Dollar Tuesday helps you discover Mac Apps at significant discounts. Every Tuesday, it features a few apps at a discount ranging from 50-90 percent. It promotes apps both from developer websites and the App Store.

If you find any app useful, click the Get This Deal button to buy that app before the deal expires. You can follow Two Dollar Tuesday on Twitter or subscribe to the newsletter so you never miss a deal.

4. BitsDuJour

bitsdujour deals website

BitsDuJour is an all-in-one deals website to bring you exclusive deals on Mac apps. It uses the coupon code system to process all the discounts. Click the Get This Deal button to purchase the app directly from the developer website. The discount is available only through this link, and since you’re buying the app directly from the developer, it’s a legal purchase.

The promotions typically last for 24 hours, although this may extend based on demand. Click the app name, and you’ll find every detail about it. You can go through the app description, see screenshots, ask the developer questions about the app or offer, review fine print about the deal, and more.

What makes BitsDuJour unique is the community involvement. You can browse forums, vote for the apps you’d like to see discounted, and check upcoming app discounts. To keep up with the latest updates, follow BitsDuJour on Twitter or add the BitsDuJour RSS feed to your feed reader.

5. OnTheHub

onthehub student deals website

OnTheHub is a premier website for productivity and academic software. It gives discounted or even free software to students and faculties. The discounts range from 50-90 percent.

Software titles include Microsoft Windows 10 for Education (one of the lesser-known Windows 10 versions), Microsoft Office 2016 Professional Edition, IBM SPSS Statistics, Parallels Desktop for Mac, VMware Fusion 8, EndNote X9, Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, Setapp, and more. Use OnTheHub School Search to find out if your school or college is eligible.

Alternatively, visit the OnTheHub eStore, submit valid proof of academic affiliation, and purchase your apps. Your account holds all the information (including registration details) about apps you purchase. OnTheHub regularly posts new articles on its blog; follow OnTheHub on Twitter and contact them if you have any questions.

6. Studentappcentre

studentappcentre deals website for students

The idea behind this service is that every student can get a discount on quality Mac apps without hunting though dozens of developer websites. You’ll see all kinds of options, including productivity, utilities, backup, calendar, academic apps, and more. The discounts range from anywhere between 20-50 percent.

The website has five categories: Organize, Enhance, Inspire, Develop, and Achieve. Within each group, you’ll find a dozen apps. Students can claim their discount by sending any one of the following forms of evidence: course acceptance letter, student ID card, or course bill.

An academic email address given by your institution is also required. To keep up with the latest updates, visit the FAQ section and follow Studentappcentre on Twitter.

7. Humble Bundle

humble bundle deals website

Humble Bundle is a distribution platform for selling games, software, ebooks, and other digital assets. Most bundles you see here offer a Pay What You Want system. You’ll need to pay more than the average price to unlock all rewards.

It also offers you great deals on games for both PC and Mac. You can still have a great gaming experience on Mac if you choose the right games and follow specific settings. Check the platform icon and system requirements for information about game compatibility.

If a particular game is not compatible with Mac, you’ll see a Not Available message in red text next to the platform icon. Apart from these bundles, Humble Bundle also offers smaller weekly bundles and daily discounts in the Humble Store. Follow Humble Bundle on Twitter to get the latest updates on deals.

8. MacBundles

macbundle one stop website for app bundles

Searching and keeping up-to-date with deals is not easy. To make it more simple and save time, MacBundles offers you a one-stop website to find and consolidate app bundles from many sites in a single place. It features bundles from BundleHunt, Creatable, Parallels, MacUpdate, and many more. Subscribe to the newsletter and get all the latest updates.

Get Premium Mac Apps for One Low Price

While getting apps from app bundles is a great way to save money, they may not always include quality software. You often end up buying a bundle to get one or two apps you want.

If you’re willing to spend $10 per month, you can have access to growing collection of quality Mac apps from different developers through Setapp.

Setapp is a new service from MacPaw that adopts a subscription model for Mac apps. As long as you’re a subscriber, you’ll get periodic updates and new apps. If you find this idea interesting, check out our overview of Setapp. We’ve also covered how to find Mac and iOS App Store discounts.

Read the full article: 8 Sites to Find Discounts on Mac Apps Outside the App Store

5 Mac App Alternatives If You Hate App Subscriptions

mac-apps-alternatives

The push for subscription pricing is gaining popularity with Mac app developers. You might be disappointed, especially if you like to own apps outright instead of paying for them every month or year. But since you can’t turn back the clock, it’s best to look for other options that seem viable to you. Start with our alternative recommendations for five popular apps that have switched to subscription models in the past few years. 1. Replace 1Password With Secrets 1Password is a powerhouse of an app and, in a way, irreplaceable. You probably won’t find its entire set of features in…

Read the full article: 5 Mac App Alternatives If You Hate App Subscriptions

mac-apps-alternatives

The push for subscription pricing is gaining popularity with Mac app developers. You might be disappointed, especially if you like to own apps outright instead of paying for them every month or year.

But since you can’t turn back the clock, it’s best to look for other options that seem viable to you. Start with our alternative recommendations for five popular apps that have switched to subscription models in the past few years.

1. Replace 1Password With Secrets

secrets-mac-app

1Password is a powerhouse of an app and, in a way, irreplaceable. You probably won’t find its entire set of features in a single app, but Secrets comes with a few similar ones that are quite useful. One of them is the ability to generate one-time passwords for sites where you have enabled two-step verification.

The second is the vulnerability assessment feature. It uses the Have I Been Pwned database to check whether your logins have been compromised in any data breach.

Secrets can also pinpoint old and weak passwords, as well as expired credit cards, for you. You can use its custom filters and tags to replicate 1Password’s multi-vault setup.

secrets-options-mac

With Secrets, you get up to 10 items in the free version and unlimited use in the premium offering.

If you can do without 1Password’s Travel Mode and the Families/Business membership accounts, Secrets is worth a try. It’s available on Setapp, syncs with iCloud, and lets you to import your data from 1Password.

The lack of file attachments, custom fields, and password sharing might be a deal breaker for you. Even if that’s the case, it’s a good idea to keep up with the development of Secrets, as it’s getting better with each iteration.

In the meantime, check out other free alternatives to 1Password.

Download: Secrets for Mac (Free, $20 premium version available) | iOS (Free, $10 premium version available)

2. Replace Ulysses or Bear With Agenda

agenda-mac

Trying to match a writing app with Ulysses feature-by-feature is pointless. The best you can do is find a robust app that does what Ulysses does at its core, which is:

  • Give you a customizable writing environment
  • Organize your notes

And Agenda can become that app. It takes a timeline-based approach to note-taking, which makes it easy to both look back and plan ahead. You can link notes to specific dates or calendar events to put time-sensitive notes On Your Agenda. The app also supports tag and checklist creation.

You’re sure to find the “related notes” feature particularly handy since it makes switching between notes a lot easier. To learn more about it and all other app features in detail, go through the sample projects that show up in Agenda.

agenda-sample-projects-mac

It’s a pity that Agenda doesn’t give you any color/theme options. But that’s likely not a big deal for you when the app has so much else going for it.

While you’re exploring Agenda, you might also want to take a look at the following apps:

  • Scrivener (Free trial, $45 license required): Get this if you want a dedicated novel-writing app that’s as feature-rich as Ulysses.
  • Typora (Free during beta): The beta tag is deceptive because the app seems ready for the big league.
  • Notebooks (Free trial, $19 license required): The lack of a recent Notebooks update is the main reason Agenda wins out over this app on our list.
  • SnipNotes ($5): It comes with glowing reviews from the web but, unfortunately, not with a free trial.

Download: Agenda for Mac (Free, $25 Mac + iOS premium version available) | iOS (Free, $10 premium version available)

3. Replace Text Expander With Typinator

typinator-mac

Before you look for a TextExpander alternative, see if any Mac apps you already use come with an integrated text expansion feature. There’s Alfred, for example, and BetterTouchTool. If these won’t work for you, you might want to give aText ($5) a shot. It comes with a free trial.

If nothing else short of an app as feature-filled as TextExpander will do, get Typinator. It allows you to insert text snippets and images automatically. The app also has autocorrect functions, date and time calculations, and HTML expansions, among other features.

It’s quite handy that you can customize Typinator on a per-app basis if you want to. One more point in favor of Typinator is that it offers upgrades at a discounted price.

To help users switching over from TextExpander, the makers of Typinator have set up a dedicated information page about using the app. It includes an overview of the differences between Typinator and TextExpander.

PhraseExpress ($25) is another sturdy text expansion app worth trying. You can pay the maintenance costs for, say, three years or five years while buying the app.

Download: Typinator for Mac (Free trial, $29 license required)

4. Replace Photoshop With Affinity Photo

affinity-photo-mac

Affinity Photo comes with a clean, well-designed interface. You’ll find a handful of workspaces dedicated to different types of editing operations in the app. These ensure that the advanced tools stay out of your way until you need them.

The app has quite a few useful features including customizable shortcuts, PSD support, and advanced selection tools. It also comes with six extensions that allow you to do light editing work on images stored in your Mac’s Photos app.

affinity-photo-extensions

Want more power at your fingertips? Try the re-editable filters with live previews and non-destructive editing capabilities.

Affinity Photo includes many concepts and tools similar to those you’ll find in Photoshop, but it would be unfair to call the app a Photoshop clone. The similarities just make it easier to switch over to Affinity Photo from Photoshop.

Of course, depending on the type of creative work you’re involved in, you might miss some of the advanced features of the latter. But there’s no doubt that Affinity Photo has shaped up really well and is worth exploring.

In addition to this app, you might want to check out a few others on our list of free and paid image editors for macOS.

Download: Affinity Photo for Mac (Free trial, $50 license required) | iPad ($20)

5. Replace Day One With Dyrii Journal

dyrii-mac

For a change, here’s one app that’s switching from the subscription model to one-time pricing. It’s a pity that the developers of Dyrii Journal have put new feature development on hold. But they’ve promised ongoing support for the existing app, which is why you might want to go ahead and give this one a shot.

Dyrii Journal allows you to add text, photos, videos, audio, geolocation, and more to your journal. You can even add drawings with the Apple Pencil.

The app makes it easy to import your Day One entries and also allows you to store your data locally. The iCloud sync and mood tracker features make this great app even better.

Now for the not-so-good news.

The current Dyrii Journal version does not come with a free trial. (It did before, as part of the subscription model.) So you’ll have to rely mainly on web reviews, which are highly positive, to decide whether Dyrii Journal is the one for you. It’s a gamble, yes, but if it pays off, you’ll have a solid Day One replacement on your hands. Be sure to do some thorough research first.

MacJournal ($40) is another excellent alternative to keep an eye on. It doesn’t have the visual impact of Day One, but it’s a versatile app. The only catch is that the app hasn’t seen an update in a couple of years, but that’s set to change.

macjournal-mac

The Agenda app we mentioned above can also make a good journal thanks to its calendar integration.

If you don’t find the perfect journaling app to replace Day One, you might want to turn to the trusty Evernote to record your life.

Download: Dyrii Journal for Mac ($40) | iOS ($10)

Or Take the Middle Path With Setapp

The debate over subscription pricing looks set to continue. Whether you engage in it or not, the crux of the matter is that you either have to pay for subscriptions or grab your data and switch to single-payment apps.

There’s a middle path, too: you can get premium Mac apps with a single Setapp subscription. It’s not the perfect solution, but at least you’ll end up paying for fewer subscriptions overall.

Read the full article: 5 Mac App Alternatives If You Hate App Subscriptions

Netflix is testing how to bypass iTunes

Netflix is apparently looking into ways to boost revenue by bypassing iTunes billing, including handling future subscription payments from Apple users through its website.

Streaming giant Netflix is reportedly looking into ways to break free from Apple’s revenue sharing scheme for subscription apps on App Store by bypassing iTunes billing altogether.... Read the rest of this post here


"Netflix is testing how to bypass iTunes" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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How to Fix 5 Common Mac App Store Problems and Issues

mac-appstore-issues

Installing software from the Mac App Store usually only take few clicks. But what happens when something goes wrong? Whether apps fail to download, you get errors while purchasing apps, or even see a blank App Store page, we’ll show you how to solve common Mac App Store problems. 1. Missing App Store Purchases Apps you purchase from the Mac App Store collect in the Purchased section. The apps link with your Apple ID, which means that if you own multiple Mac computers, you can install your apps on all of them. The apps are always available to update, and…

Read the full article: How to Fix 5 Common Mac App Store Problems and Issues

mac-appstore-issues

Installing software from the Mac App Store usually only take few clicks. But what happens when something goes wrong?

Whether apps fail to download, you get errors while purchasing apps, or even see a blank App Store page, we’ll show you how to solve common Mac App Store problems.

1. Missing App Store Purchases

Apps you purchase from the Mac App Store collect in the Purchased section. The apps link with your Apple ID, which means that if you own multiple Mac computers, you can install your apps on all of them. The apps are always available to update, and you can reinstall them whenever you want.

The purchases page list all apps in chronological order. You can open or install them right from this page, but sometimes you’ll notice they’ve gone missing. Various reasons can cause this:

  • Apple has removed the app because it’s outdated or doesn’t adhere to app review guidelines.
  • The developer is no longer interested in selling the app.
  • The App Store may automatically hide an app that you don’t install for a long time or has compatibility issues.

When an app gets hidden, you’ll no longer see it on the Purchased screen, and you won’t get update notifications for it. But you can still view these hidden apps with a bit of digging.

Open the App Store, and click Store > View My Account. Sign in to view your account information. Then on the Account Information page, scroll down to the Hidden Items section and click Manage.

account-information-page-of-the-app-store

Now click the Unhide button for each app you want to show again.

With this fix, you’ll be able to restore all the missing apps. Just note that if the app is not available, then clicking on that app will not do anything. Check the developer’s website or social media pages to see if the developer is still active.

manage-hidden-purchases-in-the-app-store

2. Apps Incorrectly Show Up as Installed

The Mac App Store has all the information about your Apple ID. It knows which account you’re using, and tracks your application ownership. Sometimes, you might encounter an issue where the App Store falsely reports that a particular app is installed, and therefore won’t let you download it.

You might also see the misleading message You have updates available for other accounts, even if you use one Apple ID. This type of error can happen for various reasons.

Reason 1: Problem With the Cache Folder

In this case, you must clear the cache folder manually to fix the issue. Before you proceed with these steps, ensure that you’ve backed up your Mac.

Quit the Mac App Store with the Cmd + Q shortcut. Open Terminal and type the following command:

open $TMPDIR../C/com.apple.appstore/

Press Enter and the com.apple.appstore folder will open in Finder. Delete the contents of this folder. Relaunch the Mac App Store. Note that this is a system cache and temporary folder. Do not delete any files or folders here other than this directory.

delete-the-app-store-cache-folder

If you’re facing constant verification errors or incorrect download status issues, use this method to fix the problem.

Reason 2: Beta Apps on Other Drives

This type of problem occurs when you install a beta version of macOS on another partition or external drive. Apps you install on it get indexed by Spotlight. The index that the system creates will make the App Store think that a duplicate copy of the app exists on another drive. It’ll refuse to download or update the app on the primary partition.

Fixing this issue is simple; you must delete the duplicate copy of the app and rebuild the Spotlight index.

Open the Apple Menu and select System Preferences. Choose the Spotlight entry and switch to the Privacy tab.

Click the Plus tab at the bottom of the list. A new Finder window will pop open. Add Macintosh HD (or whatever you named it) to this list and close the System Preferences window. I’d also recommend to log out of your account and sign in again. The indexing will stop for this drive.

rebuild-spotlight-index

Now go back to the Privacy tab and click the Minus sign to remove the Macintosh HD drive. Close the System Preferences window. The system will begin to reindex everything on the disk drive, which will take some time.

Reason 3: App Updates on Other User Accounts

If you use a shared computer with another user account, then you might face a similar problem. Apps you install on other accounts should not pose a problem. But if you delete the user account, the App Store will not know that you have done so and will encounter similar issues.

To fix this issue, follow the steps in the above section to rebuild the Spotlight index.

3. App Updates or Downloads Are Stuck

The App Store provides regular updates to both system and third-party apps. In some cases, the download doesn’t complete and might hang in the middle of the process. You might see a familiar Waiting or Installing—Calculating message just beneath the download progress bar.

To approach this problem, we’ll look at what happens behind the scenes.

Delete the Cache Folder

When the download begins, the App Store creates many temporary files in the cache folder. They include a Spotlight metadata file, incomplete installer file, and a PLIST file with details of the app you’re downloading.

In the first step, you must clear the App Store cache folder as mentioned above. Quit the Mac App Store, then open a Terminal window and type the following command:

open $TMPDIR../C/com.apple.appstore/

Press Enter and the com.apple.appstore folder will open in Finder. Delete everything inside. Next, you must delete the user com.apple.appstore folder. To do so, go to

~/Library/Caches/com.apple.appstore

and delete all the files in the fsCachedData folder.

delete-the-user-app-store-cache-folder

Delete the Contents of the Updates Folder

When an app download completes, the package moves from a temporary cache folder to

MacintoshHD/Library/Updates

If an app gets stuck during the installation or gets corrupted for some reason, then clear the contents of this folder. Otherwise, skip this step.

delete-the-contents-of-the-update-folder

Kill the Culprit App Store Processes

After deleting the contents of the cache folder, you’ll next need to kill the culprit processes from the Activity Monitor. This will ensure that when you re-download the update, the processes will not hang again.

Open the Activity Monitor and set its view to All Processes. Type in store to search for App Store related processes, and force-quit all of these daemon processes:

  • storedownloadd: Handles downloads of apps found in the App Store.
  • storeinstalld: Covers app installation and their updates.
  • storeassetd: Handles all the resources and language files of the App Store.
  • storeaccountd: In charge of authentication, and acts as a bridge with your Apple ID account.

Do not open the App Store yet, because there’s one more step to fix this problem.

kill-the-culprit-store-processes-in-activity-monitor

Delete the Preference File

Go to Finder and press Cmd + Shift + G to open the Go to Folder box. Go to the following folder:

~/Library/Preferences

Here, delete the following files:

  • com.apple.appstore.plist
  • com.apple.storeagent.plist

Now go to

~/Library/Cookies

And delete this file:

  • com.apple.appstore.binarycookies

Once you delete all the preference files, choose Apple Menu > Shut Down. Then press the power button to start your Mac again and the problem should be gone.

4. Blank App Store Page

One of the most notorious problems of the Mac App Store is when it displays the error message Cannot connect to the App Store. This has multiple causes, but you can solve them.

First, you must check your internet connection. Open Apple Menu > System Preferences. Choose the Network item and ensure that there is a green icon next to the network in the left sidebar. If there’s a red icon next to the network, then your internet connection is down.

check-the-internet-connection Mac

Sometime the issue may not be a problem on your end. Check out Apple’s System Status Page. Here, you can see information about the status of Apple’s services, such as iCloud, the App Store, and more.

If a particular service has a red icon next to it, then it’s down.

apple-service-status-page

Should you still see the error message even with green lights, choose Store > Logout and quit the App Store. Relaunch the app and sign in again.

5. Errors While Purchasing Apps

Rarely, you might see a peculiar We could not complete your purchase: Unknown Error message when buying apps. This problem occurs when you update macOS or use multiple Apple IDs.

Open both the App Store and iTunes, and ensure that you use same Apple IDs in both of the apps. If you use two separate Apple ID, then log out of the apps, quit them, and sign in again with a single Apple ID.

If you still see the same error message, then you might have an issue with the iTunes Terms and Conditions. When you do a significant update of macOS, Apple wants you to accept the conditions again. In this case, quit the apps, accept the new Terms and Conditions, and relaunch them. You may need to reboot to prompt the acceptance dialog.

Don’t Forget to Score Big App Store Discounts

Over these years, Apple has tended to ignore the Mac App Store. It’s slow and suffers from many bugs and stability problems. Troubleshooting errors is difficult because when the App Store has problems, it doesn’t crash—it simply refuses to work.

With the launch of macOS Mojave, the App Store will get a huge upgrade. We don’t know whether this will iron out these common errors or not.

After you fix your App Store issues, don’t forget that you can save money on apps from the store. Take a look at these methods to find Mac and iPhone App Store discounts.

Read the full article: How to Fix 5 Common Mac App Store Problems and Issues