Developers’ Opinion of Mac App Store Improving, but Many Still Unhappy With Lack of Upgrade Options and Free Trials

by

Setapp, a company that offers a subscription service for Mac apps, today published the results of an annual survey querying Mac app developers on the state of the Mac App Store.

Many Mac developers continue to be unhappy with the Mac App Store and fewer are choosing it for app distribution, but Apple's efforts to improve the Mac App Store in Mojave have improved opinions in some cases. To get the data for this survey, Setapp queried a total of 814 developers.

Just 22 percent of Mac app developers choose to distribute their apps exclusively through the Mac App Store. 32 percent, up from 30 percent last year, distribute their apps outside of the Mac App Store entirely, while 46 percent sell their apps both in the Mac App Store and outside of the Mac App Store.


Developers continue to make more money outside of the Mac App Store for the most part, with 59 percent earning more revenue without the Mac App Store and 41 percent earning more money through the Mac App Store.

Despite the fact that fewer Mac developers are using the Mac App Store, among those who do exclusively sell through the Mac App Store, overall opinion has improved. Those who sell outside of the Mac App Store and both through the Mac App Store and outside of it also had a higher overall opinion, though it still trends toward the negative.

Mac App Store developers happy with the Mac App Store

51 percent of developers surveyed said that providing Apple with a 30 percent cut of revenue is worth it, an impressive jump from the 31 percent that said the same thing in 2017.

Compared to 2017, when developers were upset with Apple's sandboxing practices and named it as a key reason for avoiding the Mac App Store, opinions have improved. Sandboxing is no longer seen as a critical issue.


Developers are, however, concerned with a lack of pricing upgrade options, no analytics, and an inability to offer trials.

Developers who do not choose the Mac App Store said they avoided it because of the unclear app review process, 30 percent revenue share, and lack of trials.

This year, 20 percent of developers decided to switch to a subscription model for their apps, and 52 percent of those said that it had an overall positive impact on their business. Of those using subscription models, increased revenue and an active growing user base were cited as positives.

Full details and comparisons between data collected in 2016 and 2017 can be viewed on Setapp's survey website, which also includes details on how developers view the Setapp service.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
21 months ago

I think I've bought one app from the app store since I got my Mac 4 years ago

What was it?

Am I in a minority who seems to have used the MAS quite a bit? A quick count shows I've downloaded 141 apps through it (Since Jan 2011).
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
21 months ago
The Mac App store has made me less likely to purchase software. It simultaneously seems like either the Mac App store is doing terribly and may be shut down soon or that Apple plans to force all apps to be obtained from their app store. So I'm not sure which version of the app is the better investment. I hope the Mac App store dies in a fire, though. I'm not looking forward to another closed ecosystem. And Gatekeeper is being very policestate with non-Appstore apps. Apps shouldn't have to provide their users with workaround instructions for Apple's Gatekeeper.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
21 months ago
Indeed. As a developer myself (iOS only) I do understand the pros and cons of both distribution models, but really have to side with the devs on most of the negative aspects of the Mac App Store vs. direct downloads.

Whenever I purchase Mac software, if the developer sells in both ways, I always choose the non-App Store purchase method. Any minor conveniences to the casual users who the App Store was designed for is passed on in spades to the developers and experienced/advanced users in the form inconveniences, compromises, and constraints.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
21 months ago
I’m a developer and the 30% cut is a killer (for both iOS and Mac apps). It cuts into our tight margins SO much. We can sell the Mac app directly to our iOS users and completely avoid that cost (paying at most 3% to a payment merchant). We only put the Mac app in the store for discovery and browsing by random consumers. We won’t ever send our existing customers there though for the upsell.

If there were built-in upgrade paths (NOT subscription models) then I would take a second look at the Mac App Store.

I hate how Apple thinks the subscription model should just work for all devs. It does not work for our product, and it sucks because we can’t take advantage of the 15% cut that devs who use subscriptions get.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
21 months ago

What was it?

Magnet
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
21 months ago
Apple places so many restrictions on their App Stores that its no wonder developers don't want to use them unless forced to (as is the case with iPhone).

Of course, this was not asked?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker: Apple to Stick With Lightning Over USB-C for 'iPhone 12' Before Going Port-Less Next Year

Tuesday May 26, 2020 2:31 am PDT by
Apple will use a Lightning port instead of USB-C in the upcoming "iPhone 12," but it will be the last major series of Apple's flagship phones to do so, with models set to combine wireless charging and a port-less Smart Connector system for data transfer and syncing in the iPhone "13 series" next year. The above claim comes from occasional Apple leaker and Twitter user "Fudge" (@choco_bit),...

Apple Reissuing Numerous iOS App Updates, Potentially Related to Recent 'This App is No Longer Shared' Bug

Sunday May 24, 2020 9:13 pm PDT by
Over the past few hours, a number of MacRumors readers have reported seeing dozens or even hundreds of pending app updates showing in the App Store on their iOS devices, including for many apps that were already recently updated by the users. In many cases, the dates listed on these new app updates extend back as far as ten days. Apple has not shared any information as to why updates for...

'This App is No Longer Shared' iOS Bug Preventing Some Apps From Opening

Friday May 22, 2020 3:58 pm PDT by
An app bug is causing some iOS users to be unable to open their apps, with affected iPhone and iPad users seeing the message "This app is no longer shared with you" when attempting to access an app. There are multiple complaints about the issue on the MacRumors forums and on Twitter from users who are running into problems. A MacRumors reader describes the issue:Is anyone else experiencing...

16-Inch MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and iMac Pro With Mini-LED Displays Again Rumored to Launch in 2021

Tuesday May 26, 2020 5:30 am PDT by
Apple plans to release several higher-end devices with Mini-LED displays in 2021, including a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro in the first quarter, a new 16-inch MacBook Pro in the second quarter, and a new 27-inch iMac in the second half of the year, according to Jeff Pu, an analyst at Chinese research firm GF Securities. This timeframe lines up with one shared by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who recently...

Jailbreak Tool 'unc0ver' 5.0 Released With iOS 13.5 Compatibility

Sunday May 24, 2020 3:06 pm PDT by
The team behind the "unc0ver" jailbreaking tool for iOS has released version 5.0.0 of its software that claims to have the ability to jailbreak "every signed iOS version on every device" using a zero-day kernel vulnerability by Pwn20wnd, a renowned iOS hacker. The announcement comes just days after it was announced that the tool would soon launch. The unc0ver website highlights how the tool...

Future AirPods to Include 'Ambient Light Sensors' Possibly Related to Rumored Health Features

Monday May 25, 2020 2:53 am PDT by
Apple is reportedly looking to integrate light sensors in a new model of AirPods in the next couple of years, according to a new report today, suggesting their use could be part of rumored upcoming health monitoring features in the true wireless earbuds. In a paywalled article, DigiTimes reports that ASE Technology could be involved in manufacturing the sensors: Apple is expected to...

Top Stories: Apple Glass and iPhone 12 Rumors, iOS 13.5 Update, and More!

Saturday May 23, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
It was another big week for rumors this week, with a flurry of reports about Apple's augmented reality glasses, the iPhone 12, and Apple's "AirPods Studio" over-ear headphones. This week also saw the release of iOS 13.5, bringing a number of health-related updates to Apple's mobile devices. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Other topics of interest this week included ...

Apple's 'Bounce' AirPods Ad Wins 'Best of Advertising' Award

Friday May 22, 2020 10:09 am PDT by
Apple's creative "Bounce" ad designed to highlight the AirPods took top honors in the 99th annual ADC (Art Director's Club) awards for advertising, earning the "Best of Discipline" award along with two Gold Cube awards in the craft in video and branded content categories. Released in June 2019, the ad features a bored man who pulls his AirPods off of their wireless charging pad and then pops ...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 With Battery Health Management Features, Fix for Finder Freezing

Tuesday May 26, 2020 1:59 pm PDT by
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 comes two months after the launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.4, which introduced Screen Time Communication Limits. macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the...

'Apple Glass' Rumored to Start at $499, Support Prescription Lenses, and More

Tuesday May 19, 2020 6:30 am PDT by
Front Page Tech host and leaker Jon Prosser today shared several alleged details about Apple's rumored augmented reality glasses, including an "Apple Glass" marketing name, $499 starting price, prescription lens option, and more. The marketing name will be "Apple Glass" The glasses will start at $499 with the option for prescription lenses at an extra cost There will be displays in both...