Setapp, a company that offers a Mac app subscription service, recently polled 742 developers to get their thoughts on the Mac App Store and the state of Mac app development. The survey is a follow-up to a survey that was conducted last year, which concluded many Mac developers are unhappy with Apple's platform.

That same anti-Mac App Store sentiment can be seen in the results of this year's survey. Of Mac developers polled, just 23 percent use the Mac App Store as their sole distribution platform, while 47 percent use the Mac App Store alongside another distribution method. 30 percent don't bother with the Mac App Store at all. The number of developers using both the Mac App Store and another distribution method is up slightly from last year, but the Mac App Store only category is stagnant.

setappsurveydistributionplatformsplit
Developers who don't use the Mac App Store cite reasons like the long app review process, the 30 percent revenue split with Apple, and the inability to offer trials.

The majority of money made from Mac apps is made outside of the Mac App Store among developers polled. Revenue from the Mac App Store accounted for 44 percent of app earnings, while revenue from outside of the Mac App Store accounted for 56 percent.

Developers were asked how likely they were to recommend the Mac App Store as a primary distribution channel to a friend or colleague, and the results were tallied using a Net Promoter Score that can range from 100 (everyone recommends) to -100 (no one recommends). A higher negative score means a more negative opinion.

Mac App Store developers had Net Promoter Score (NPS) of -34, non-Mac App Store developers had a score of -97, and developers who sell their apps both in and outside of the Mac App Store had a score of -48.

macappstorerecommendations
69 percent of developers polled said that sharing 30 percent of their revenue with Apple was not worth it based on what the Mac App Store provides, while 31 percent said it was worth it. In 2016, 62 percent said not worth it and 38 percent said worth it.

Sandboxing, a lack of analytics tools, no app bundles, no upgrades, and no ability to respond to reviews were seen as major factors limiting developers' businesses. As of iOS 10.3 and macOS Sierra 10.12.4, developers have been able to respond to customer reviews, eliminating at least one factor keeping developers from using the Mac App Store.

setappsurveymacappstorelimitations
On the plus side, developers were happy with improvements to the Mac App Store review process and the speed with which apps go through the review process, while opinions on Mac App Store communications, review guidelines, and the appeal process saw smaller positive changes.

Going forward, developers would like to see faster app approval times, more flexibility when it comes to Apple's sandboxing policies, better communication with the Mac App Store approval team, and clearer explanations when an app is rejected.

Additional topics, like the new subscription options, are covered in the survey and can be viewed over on the main survey page. There are also comparisons between the 2016 survey for a clearer look at the state of the Mac App Store.

Top Rated Comments

wwchris Avatar
65 months ago
Mac App Store could really use some work. I can't believe you still can't even see video previews for games. Also, Apple does nothing to market or promote it other than forcing app updates through it.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KazKam Avatar
65 months ago
Mac App Store could really use some work. I can't believe you still can't even see video previews for games. Also, Apple does nothing to market or promote it other than forcing app updates through it.
Speaking of updates in the app store. I really miss the update app they had before updates were shoehorned into the app store. It was so much more responsive and useful.

1. It was waaaay faster and scanning your system at providing update results.
2. The updates list was clear and concise, with no ambiguity about what could be updated, without having to expand sub-installer lists.
3. The information it provided was far more useful and accessible, like whether or not the update required restart (was much easier to identify), and most importantly, download SIZE, BEFORE starting the download. That small piece of info was extremely useful for determining whether I was going to run an update now, overnight, or even at all.
4. It wasn't so buggy. The app store updater is often unresponsive, doesn't update status, and sometimes just hangs.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rockarollr Avatar
65 months ago
The Mac App Store needs to be eliminated completely. Everything worked just fine for software distribution before its advent. All it is (and ever was) is another way for Apple to control all aspects of its business model to generate even more revenue for the company. Because, you know, they don't already have enough money without it.

From what I understand it's also a pain in the ass for Mac developers. That sounds to me like it's a lose/lose proposition for everyone BUT Apple.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coolfactor Avatar
65 months ago
I only use the App Store to get updates, rarely to search for and install new apps. I find the App Store's design (at least the Updates panel) to be an embarrassment to Apple's legendary design skills. I'm surprised they've let it go this long without some improvements. It really is their worst piece of software to date.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
d21mike Avatar
64 months ago
As a user I will always try to buy from the App Store first. Much easier to manage with multiple devices. I.E. iMac and MacBook. Also, I am not giving out my credit card to unknown developers. It feels safer to me. Feels a lot like the iOS App Store.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stella Avatar
65 months ago
Apple have ignored the MacApp Store, while claiming "the mac is important".

If Apple can't put effort into improving the MacAppStore, they should just get rid of it.

I prefer buying outside the MacApp Store. I can't remember the last app / or when I did buy something from there.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...
studio display 3

Apple's Rumored 27-Inch Mini-LED Display Now Said to Launch in October

Friday May 20, 2022 8:07 am PDT by
Apple now plans to release a new 27-inch display with mini-LED backlighting in October due to the Shanghai lockdown, which has resulted in production of the display being delayed, according to display industry consultant Ross Young. In a tweet, Young said Apple is in the process of moving production of the display from Quanta Computer to a different supplier and/or location, resulting in a...
HomePodandMini feature green

Kuo: Apple to Release New HomePod in Late 2022 or Early 2023

Friday May 20, 2022 8:55 am PDT by
Apple is working on an updated version of the HomePod that could come in the fourth quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo says that there "may not be much innovation in hardware design" for the new HomePod, and there is no word on what size the device will be and if it will be a HomePod mini successor or a larger speaker. Apple would ...
airtag purple

Best Apple Deals of the Week: Save on AirTag, AirPods 3, and iPads

Friday May 20, 2022 8:01 am PDT by
Solid markdowns on the AirTag, AirPods 3, and a few iPad models were introduced this week, and below you'll find all of the best deals of the past few days that are still available to purchase. AirTag Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. What's the...