Here’s the tale of my love for two Mac apps. It’s convenience and expense vs. free and easy.
Can these two apps live together, peacefully co-existing on my Mac, managing my app collection? What? I need an app to manage my apps? Yep. That’s what all the cool Mac users do in 21st century. As the resident Value Vixen™, I have so many apps I need two apps to manage them all.
The Convenient Expense
Yes, dear Mac user, app lover, and fan of my Mac musings, my Mac has a bunch of apps clogging up my hard disk drive, squishing my Dock down to tiny icon size.
Not mere dozens of apps. Not even a mere dozen dozen.
But hundreds of apps grace my Mac’s storage device.
How do I keep track of which apps are on my Mac? How do I know when to update an app? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Two words: MacUpdate Desktop.
MUD, as I like to call MacUpdate Desktop, is a commercial Mac app that tracks app versions. Fire it up and MUD scans your Mac’s apps, Dashboard Widgets, and Preference Panes. Then, it checks the versions of each with the MacUpdate database.
Even better, MUD will download and update apps to the newer versions with a click. Of course, MUD won’t update Apple’s apps. Software Update does that. But it does let you know which apps have new versions available for update.
That’s all well and good and works great. Once a week or so, I’ll run MUD on my Mac, click on a few apps that need to be updated, and my Mac is good to go. So, what’s the problem?
The Free And Easy
In an odd way, the Mac App Store competes with my previous app purchasing and updating methodology. Buy an app from the Mac App Store and it’s downloaded and installed to your Mac automatically.
When a new version of an app is available, the Mac App Store alerts you. Click to download and update all your Mac App Store apps. It even works on multiple Macs using a single iTunes Store account.
What’s not to like? It’s fast, free, easy.
Problem Almost Solved
The problem is that the Mac App Store app doesn’t update non-Mac App Store apps. But MacUpdate Desktop doesn’t care where you bought your apps, scans them all, and recommends an update when needed.
The conflict between the two apps can present a daunting logistical issue. Which apps that need an update, as told by MacUpdate Desktop, are actually apps purchased from the Mac App Store?
Even if you don’t know, and often I cannot remember, MUD knows. When it encounters a Mac App Store app that needs to be updated, it will launch the Mac App Store app instead of automatically updating the app using MUD’s downloader updater.
Confusing? Yes. But it works. Almost. Another problem is that many Mac apps have two versions. The version for non-Mac App Store users, and Mac App Store buyers. Sometimes those versions are non in sync.
That means I have up to six different ways to check for app updates. Some apps check automatically. Adobe and Microsoft check their apps automatically. Apple’s Software Update checks automatically. MacUpdate Desktop checks for apps updates automatically. So does the Mac App Store app.
The common denominator? The update checks are automatic, regardless of where the app originated. With over 200 apps on my Mac, I need a little extra help, and half a dozen ways to check for app updates is better than doing it app by app.