MacPaw, the company behind the
CleanMyMac hard drive cleaner, has
launched Setapp, a
subscription-based alternative to Apple’s Mac App Store. With
Setapp, a single subscription currently lets you access more
than 60 curated Mac apps for a $9.99 fixed monthly fee. MacPaw
says it will eventually offer up to 300 apps for that price, as
new apps will be added every month.

While I was quite familiar with MacPaw’s own CleanMyMac, as
well as assorted other popular apps like ChronoSync Express,
Hype, Polarr, RapidWeaver, Ulysses, and XMind, there are many
others in the suite I’m hearing about for the first time.


Teaser apps get deposited into a folder within your
Applications folder, but you have to download them individually
first in order to use them.

Getting started with Setapp is easy and free for a one-month
trial period, during which time all apps are completely
operative. You’ll need to first register on the site, after
which the desktop app is available for download. If you don’t
cancel your subscription during the trial period, your will
then pay $9.99 per month for access to all available apps.

After downloading Setapp, the package of 61 apps (to date) is
immediately available from the Finder Sidebar and a pulldown
menu on the Mac’s main menu bar. Preferences let you place the
Setapp folder in the dock, where clicking on it reveals all the
teaser apps inside—icons in the folder represent the apps
available for download. There are many apps that I had never
heard of, like Disk Drill, Downie,
Capto, and others. MacPaw throws in a couple of its own
apps, too—CleanMyMac
Gemini 2—but not all of its apps are part of the Setapp

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setapp3 IDG

Quick View gives you the lowdown on each app in the folder,
based on its own description.

Apps in the Setapp folder are also displayed in Launchpad and
can be located via Spotlight search. Once launched, they also
appear in the Applications folder, just like your other apps.
If you’re not familiar with all the apps, no problem: From the
menu bar, you can search for categories like Writing, Video,
Photo, and Brainstorming, and mostly, related apps will appear
in the results.

setapp5 IDG

You can choose to access all Setapp apps from the dock.

To check out an app before downloading it, just click and hold
down the space bar for a Quick View of any app. If you want to
try it, click the Open button on the preview pane. The app will
instantly launch on your hard drive and appear in the dock.

Apps are distributed among categories like productivity, video,
developer tools, utilities, finance, graphic design, and
others. You do not have to use Setapp to get free trials for
many of the apps in the suite. Each tile lists the developer’s
website, and a quick spot check revealed that many offer free
trials individually. However, Setapp’s major selling point is
discovery and the curation of high quality apps.

setapp4 IDG

A search from the top menu bar offers generally accurate

But what if something goes wrong, say a vendor no longer wants
to be part of Setapp or the company wants to remove a featured
app? Those decisions will not stress users, MacPaw says. If you
downloaded an app from Setapp, it will remain available, even
if the developer decides to leave the service. If an app is not
doing well and Setapp decides to eliminate it, apps that have
already been downloaded will remain available on your Mac,
though they will not be updated. Should you decide not to
subscribe after the 30-day trial period is up, you will see
only teaser apps, but won’t be able to open apps from the
Setapp folder.

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The suite’s ultimate strength is the sum of its individual
parts. It broadens horizons, introduces you to apps you may not
otherwise hear about, and cuts the time required to search the
Mac App Store for just the right app for your needs. Apps are
available without additional charges, paid updates, in-app
purchases, or ads. I highly recommend taking the time to check
out Setapp, risk free.

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