Since 2014, many high profile developers have pulled their apps from the Mac app store in frustration with several of Apple’s policies. The app store, which launched in 2011, was supposed to be a boon for developers. Their apps would now be easier to find, meaning more downloads and more profits. Although this has proved to be true for many developers, for others the negatives outweigh the positives.
Why So Many Abandoned Apps?
The many app store restrictions are a main reason. The app store does not allow developers to use demos to promote their apps, support paid upgrades, or enable developers to respond to unfair reviews. Other app store guidelines that cause frustrations are the 30 percent commission Apple takes for every app sold, and their opaque sandboxing rules. “Sandboxing” means apps are provided limited access to system files, thus metaphorically kept in their own “boxes.” This is a security feature meant to reduce the risk of malware infecting your Mac, but it also limits what developers can accomplish. Apple’s sandboxing rules presented many developers with a hard choice– reduce the software’s functionality or leave the app store. This choice, combined with the other factors, caused many developers to leave and sell their apps directly to customers. Also in 2016 Apple faced the competitions with Google, as they launched their pixel smartphone. You may be also interested in reading about the rumors around iPhone 7 release and its features.
A List of Abandoned Apps
Some apps not available at App Store include:
Coda 2.5. An app that has a variety of tools to help web coders do their jobs more efficiently. Unfortunately, they were unable to resolve their sandboxing issues with Apple, and were forced to launch Coda 2.5 independently.
BBEdit. A professional Mac HTML and text editor, with many useful features like grep pattern matching, search and replace across multiple files, project definition tools, code folding and Mac OS X Unix scripting support, among others. Rich Siegel, founder of Bare Bones Software, which makes the app, said the decision to leave was a combination of many factors, including Apple’s commission, sandboxing and a lack of customer data, among others. However, Siegel left open the possibility of returning the app store at some point in the future.
Sketch. A graphic design app that won the Apple design award in 2012. Sketch can support multiple pages and artboards, and which contains features that make it easy to create complex shapes and extensive layer styles. Bohemian Coding, which makes the app, said in a blog post that the customer experience on the app store was not good enough, and that they could provide a better one. This, combined with other issues like sandboxing, finally compelled the company to leave, but Bohemian left open the possibility of returning if the app store can improve the experience for users and developers.
TextExpander 4. This app allows you to create a “snippet” of text, and then reuse it whenever you need. Snippets are easily shared among a team, which helps keep branding and messaging consistent. TextExpander 4 is considerably more powerful than its predecessors, but that power made it conflict with the app store’s sandbox regulations, forcing Smile Software, the creator, to offer it independently.
Piezo 1.5. An audio recording app with new capabilities that makes it possible to capture audio from other applications, internet browsers, facetime, and more.
ClamXav. An anti-virus and malware software for Mac OS X that is able to detect threats from Macs and Windows. Other features include a quarantine folder, free malware database updates and no annual subscription fee.
Alfred 2. This app aims to increase writing efficiency with hotkeys, keywords, text expansion and other features.
RapidWeaver. A Mac web design app, RapidWeaver allows you to build any sort of site you need, from a small personal one to a massive e-commerce outlet. It sports 1,000 third party add ons, an exhaustive and easily understandable PDF manual, free training videos and a weekly podcast, among other features.
CloudPull. Back up information saved to the cloud on your Mac to in case your account is compromised, Google has an outage or your information disappears unexpectedly. CloudPull backs up your accounts every hour and keeps these snapshots for 90 days.
PostBox. Simplify your email experience with this app, which can impose multiple filters on your emails, allowing you to quickly find exactly what you need.