FileMaker discontinues Bento

Apple subsidiary FileMaker, Inc. has announced the end of its Bento database application for OS X. FileMaker’s official announcement, verbatim:

FileMaker, Inc. is increasing its focus on FileMaker Product Line software. Thanks to the ease of creating iPad and iPhone solutions, our customers’ use of FileMaker on iOS is growing rapidly. Our increased focus will create an even better experience for these customers.

As part of our sharpened focus, we will stop further development of the Bento consumer products.

Bento for iPad, iPhone and Mac will continue to be available on the FileMaker Store, and the App Store and Mac App Store, through September 30, 2013.

We will provide technical support for Bento products through July 30, 2014.

We thank you for your support of Bento. We know that many Bento customers will be disappointed.

FileMaker Pro, our powerful yet easy-to-use business database software, will be appropriate for certain users of Bento for Mac. We encourage Bento for Mac customers to visit our “Is FileMaker Pro Right For You?” page to understand the differences between Bento and FileMaker Pro and to download a free trial of FileMaker Pro.

Read the Knowledge Base answer for more information on the Bento transition here.

Source: FileMaker, Inc.

Related articles:
FileMaker releases Bento for iPad – April 2, 2010
Sales of Bento for iPhone and iPod touch top 100,000 – December 8, 2009
FileMaker: Bento downloads top 250,000 mark – March 18, 2008
FileMaker previews ‘Bento’ personal database for Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard – November 13, 2007


  1. I tried to like it, but other than a Christmas Card list, I just couldn’t really find anything I wanted to do with it. I missed the abilities of Access to create forms with automated and connected fields with macros/VBA. Maybe FMP has more scripting ability.

    1. I too tried Bento, several times. Even had training at the Apple Store on it, but it was simply too much work in creating templates and entering data to be useful. If I didn’t have to enter data directly, I basically wound up doing things twice just to have it in Bento. Just not worth the time.

    2. Oh boy. I run my 3 man LAW OFFICE on Bento. Those of you here who say Bento “is not enough” probably never fully explored how double jointed Bento can be. On it I keep: 1- All case notes, 2- client contact info, 3- hot link direct to client folder, 4- invoicing, 5- trust account, 6- office checkbook, 7- trust checkbook, 8- to do list separate for each client, 9-launcher for legal forms. 10- launcher for all my fax cover sheets (45+), 11-employee hours, 12- milage, 13- various accounting items and spreadsheet uses, 14- also use it a calculator with paper tape, 15- track office expenses.

      $49. AND IT HAS REPLACED MANY HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS OF SPECIFIC SOFTWARE, and you can make a nice looking database in just a few minutes.

      It is not “flat” nor “pretty flat” its a relational database with “one level down.”

      My next project is to do employee payroll on it.

    1. It was hampered because a reasonably capable application would have cut into sales of FileMaker Pro. It was obnoxious eye candy that never did enough to warrant even trying. I always felt my time with Bento would be wasted and I never found any evidence to the contrary.

      Maybe it’s time for Apple to disassociate itself from FileMaker. Or bring FileMaker Pros pricing in line with the rest of its productivity apps. $300 seems a bit pricy in this day and age.

  2. As a FM developer, I was never sure of the purpose of Bento. Apparently others did not either. I’d rather they center all resources on enhancing FM as it is a great product with some deficiencies, particularly speed, that need to be improved.

    1. As someone who wanted to file things rather than being a full time programmer, I used Bento exclusively. Some of us just want to get work done rather than devoting our lives to programming!

      1. Try HanDBase. You can do some really sophisticated things with it. It is not to be compared with Access or FileMaker though. It’s strength is in more functional DB management and a great forms option.

          1. HanDBase was recommended as a very good DB app where the workflow is primarily on the mobile device. DDH Software has both Windows and Mac desktops, but the Mac desktop pretty much sucks. Instead, the developer has provided an X11 cross platform Handbase desktop app that works essentially like the Windows desktop except on Mac OSX. My opinion? It works, but adds an unnecessary level of complexity to working with your Handbase files. I’ve suggested to David Haupert repeatedly that an iCloud or Dropbox interface is sorely needed. He just hasn’t pulled the trigger.

            If you need robust desktop DB applications, then Access or Filemaker are better choices than Bento. Filemaker has a mobile app. Both are overly complex and way over the top pricewise for normal mortals, which is why no enthusiastic recommendation for them will ever ever grace my lips.

            1. I wouldn’t classify a very limited function version as ‘existing’

              “The HanDBase Desktop for Mac is more limited than the Windows version but does allow for basic editing of databases so they can be re-installed to your device.”

            2. It barely works. Mostly just a decent sync tool for consolidating and storing you databases on a local computer. The X11 app mimics the functional PC desktop, but creates a very messy workflow. NOT recommended to anyone that doesn’t have masochistic tendencies!

    1. Actually, it worked very well for my use. I used it solely as a contact database to manage groups and print labels to stick to postcards. Oh well, looks like I’ll have to move to FileMaker Pro.

      It used to really irritate me when companies discontinued software.

      Adobe GoLive

      But, I learned that it’s all part of the process.

  3. Bento was a simple database application that would have fit rather well with the iLife suite, had Apple taken over the code from Claris (after all, they do own them).

    It looks like people just don’t have a need for a simple database product, especially with Google Docs offering out there (with the web-enabling of the spreadsheet with online forms).

  4. Bento was a fundamentally handicapped app. After attempting to migrate some of my HanDBase stuff to Bento I came to realize it was a pretty flat file manager in OSX and almost unusable in iOS due to a very limited and uncomfortable UI in iOS. For about a year I used Bento on my MacMini as a reporting app, dumping HanDBase files into Bento because HanDBase’s reporting capabilities were inferior. Finally gave that up as too much work for too little benefit. Ultimately, for standalone use on iOS, nothing else, that I’ve tried, compares to HanDBase. That includes TapForms.

    1. … like ALL the iWork apps! Sorry, Predrag, I think you meant iWork, rather than iLife.
      BJT, the idea behind all the iWork apps seemed to be to have non-Pro apps for non-Pro uses. Pages cannot do a great many things a Word expert feels are needed/useful, but works exceptionally well for lighter-duty work. The same with Numbers – it may not be up to doing the book-keeping for a Fortune 500 business but it can certainly handle our integrated, multi-generational household. A little rethinking of Bento and it could fit in with those other household-level players. While FileMaker is a superior database product, who needs to hire a DB-manager to keep track of their silverware, their kid’s soccer team, or the details of next summer’s vacation!
      So … Apple? How about you bundle it with iWork, at the iWork price, and do just a little feature-creep on it. It’s not like you’ve done a huge amount of work on iWork ’09, other than adding the iCloud interface.

  5. I held on to ClarisWorks for as long as I could specifically for the database feature. When I moved to Lion and CW ceased to work I moved to Bento and it seemed to do everything I needed. I think there really needs to be a consumer level database program that is simple to use and inexpensive. I’m sure this is wishful thinking but perhaps this means that Apple is considering adding a Bento-like component to iWork.

  6. Maybe they are discontinuing Bento as a stand alone product and incorporating a version of it into iWork ?

    iWork certainly needs a database and Filemaker is too fully featured to give away as part of the iWork package. Bento sounds about the right sort of performance level.

    1. It’s more like “I bought it and couldn’t use it.” I guess some of those bugs will now remain unfixed unto eternity. Bento’s layouts consisted of trendy color schemes which made the contents unreadable. It couldn’t handle events more than a few years old, making it unusable for health insurance records. Its frequent crashes were a big topic on its forum. I used it for a Christmas card list, and it didn’t even do that very well. I’m glad it’s gone, but I feel too ripped off to contemplate giving more money to FIlemaker. Lame-ass amateurs.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.