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How Apple Could Fix The Issue with “Installed” Mac App Store Apps

How Apple Could Fix The “Installed” Mac App Store Issue

Since the Mac App Store launched yesterday, hundreds (if not thousands) of users noticed that apps previously installed on a Mac through a developer’s website show up as, well, “installed” on the Mac App Store. That may lead you to think the new Store can handle updates for apps purchased and downloaded out of it just fine, but it can’t. Either a bug or a “feature” in Apple’s system, those apps seems to be “installed” simply because the Mac App Store sees the bundle identifier of an app already present on your Mac’s hard drive. So say you have iPhoto, Pages, Panic’s Coda or Coversutra already installed on your Mac and you fire up the Mac App Store, those apps may be listed as “Installed”. But they won’t go through the handy automatic update process apps you really purchase in the Mac App Store have. It happened to me. And if you ask me, that’s bad user experience.

Daylen Yang has an interesting mockup on his personal blog of a simple feature that could fix this issue of apps showing up as “Installed”. Apple could simply offer a way to re-purchase applications found on your Mac although, yes, you’d have to pay again. But considering that several developers are moving to App Store-exclusive applications offering discounted prices now looking forward to future free version upgrades (example: you can buy Pixelmator again now at $29, but the future 2.0 version will be a free update), it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Or, Apple could evolve the concept seen in this mockup developing a way for the Mac App Store to recognize installed apps and provide more detailed information and options about what you can do.