Survey finds Mac developers continue to be unhappy with Apple’s Mac App Store

“Setapp, a company that offers a Mac app subscription service, recently polled 742 developers to get their thoughts on the Mac App Store and the state of Mac app development,” Juli Clover reports for MacRumors. “The survey is a follow-up to a survey that was conducted last year, which concluded many Mac developers are unhappy with Apple’s platform.”

“That same anti-Mac App Store sentiment can be seen in the results of this year’s survey,” Clover reports. “Of Mac developers polled, just 23 percent use the Mac App Store as their sole distribution platform, while 47 percent use the Mac App Store alongside another distribution method. 30 percent don’t bother with the Mac App Store at all.”

“Developers who don’t use the Mac App Store cite reasons like the long app review process, the 30 percent revenue split with Apple, and the inability to offer trials,” Clover reports. “Going forward, developers would like to see faster app approval times, more flexibility when it comes to Apple’s sandboxing policies, better communication with the Mac App Store approval team, and clearer explanations when an app is rejected. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller sat down with John Gruber on his podcast The Talk Show on June 5th following Apple’s WWDC keynote. Schiller discussed the future of the Mac App Store, as well, which came across as neglected following the massive overhaul to the iOS App Store in iOS 11:

So I will say this until we are satisfied one day: We care about it, we believe in it, we’re invested in it. It matters and over time you’ll see proof of that. Doing it first to the iOS App Store was the right thing to do. Other things over time.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. “Of the developers polled…”

    Well, of the developers I have polled, the only significant complaint remains “discoverability.”
    Which brings up a rather significant point…

    Fundamentally, the wants & needs of
    developers are at-odds with those of users. This should not only be obvious but expected. Apple’s App Store, as the ‘middle man’, continues to be the arbitrator between them. Its challenge is not so much to ‘compromise’ but rather ‘balance’ the two. And perhaps because of this, neither users nor developers will ever call the App Store perfect (from their own perspective).

  2. Fun fact: Not even Apple-owned Filemaker Inc is selling their crappy FileMaker app in the Mac AppStore. They only did with Bento but eventually killed the app entirely.

  3. Go to hell and sell on the Android store and see how that goes, what they want is for Apple to do everything for them for free and screw the end users, Apple needs to be tougher on the developers not less.

    1. 30 percent don’t bother with the Mac App Store at all.

      Good. Please don’t ever bother. I’ve seen your crap. I don’t want it. It wouldn’t sell anyway. Apple users remain the most discerning of purchasers. We celebrate that we don’t have to endure your crapware. Foist it elsewhere please.

    1. THAT issue is of grave concern. When I watch utter garbage hit the top of the iOS sales chart, I get extremely worried. It’s happened.

      There remain concerns about rigging app reviews. I have to conclude that there are sleazy companies who will both buy apps en masse AND bombard sites with 4 and 5 star reviews, if properly paid by sleazy developers. Suckers beware.

      (I am so tempted to name names, but have zero interest in lawsuits).

  4. Apple needs to control the greed on both sides. Apple needs to keep developers from ripping off consumers.

    I know of any number of developers that issue both Mac And iOS versions of software with in app purchases that will not sync the results between them- especially games. I would like to see software bundled across OSes, where we can get at least a discount for buying the same app on both devices.

    1. Actually, Danox is exactly right. The pejorative term “payola” may offend some, but Apple is indeed applying the supermarket model to the App Store: developers can pay for better positioning. I am currently agnostic about this. On one hand, it’s not exactly a level playing field, but on the other hand why shouldn’t a developer with faith in their product be able to do what they can to make sure there product is visible to potential buyers? Apple is kind of in “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” position. I doubt if we’ve seen the last in Apple’s attempt to find the right balance for the App Store.

    2. DavGreg: I agree with your point about app developers with the same basic app on both the Mac and iOS store. There should be some degree of recognition between the two apps the owner owns both.
      To be a bit argumentative on your initial point, however, I’d argue that greed is different from ripping off customers. One can be greedy and honest at the same time, whereas “ripping off” people is simply being dishonest. A person can be both honest yet still greedy. Two different character traits.

  5. Want to talk about the hell Mac users have to go through using the excremental Mac App Store app? Give me a call. Apple quite seriously don’t care. Every year I send them a new bug report rant and every year they ignore the App Store app bugs and shortcomings. IMHO, the thing never came out of beta. /PerennialVent

    [I’m attempting to be ‘squeaky’, as in the ‘squeaky wheel’.]

    1. Yes, it’s well known. Also well known is that lotsa folks are happy with Apple gear anyway — and ironically, that keeps these lazy bastards in business.

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