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By William Gallagher Monday, July 30, , Back in January , Setapp by MacPaw was a bold new idea to get users more apps and to make developers more money. You could use any app in its collection and the developers of the apps you used got a portion of the one subscription fee you paid Setapp. There was nothing quite like it and 18 months later, there still isn't. When it began, it was being described as a Netflix of software but really it's much more like Adobe's Creative Cloud.
A single fee gets you full and unlimited access to a range of apps. If you don't use any at all, fine. If you use every single one, terrific. At launch on January 25, , AppleInsider reported the news that Setapp had 60 apps. A full hands-on review just two days later revealed it was already up to Today, that app count is and more significant than how many apps have joined is how many have left. We make it that just one has left yet continues in business.
Alternote, an quick-access tool for Evernote, is still available online but not in Setapp. A second one, Pixa, has also gone from the service but it's been discontinued entirely. So that's a single app gone in 18 months and a total of 61 added, literally doubling since AppleInsider last looked at the service. Even if that number hadn't doubled, you'd still be better off having paid the subscription as compared to buying all of the apps.
That's not a fair comparison, though, because no one is going to want all of Setapp's collection of apps and no one is going to use them all. The collection is like any bundle, albeit a large one. There are headline apps that make you want to subscribe immediately. There are others that you hadn't heard of but turn out to be really useful. Then there are others that are good but you know they're not best-in-class. Also taking up some of the spots in the are apps that are quite similar to each other.
So for instance there's Canary Mail, Boxy and Unibox email clients. That's inevitable, though. If you only end up using one of them, there's nothing wrong with having had a choice.
What's less great is that like with any collection or bundle, there are going to be apps that feel like padding. Back in January last year, for instance, we felt the calculator Numi was one of these.
It was in beta, so you could've got it direct from the developer for free, for one thing. Now 18 months on, it's still in beta. Headline apps Of the apps added since our last look, though, there are more headline ones. Then there's Bartender 3 which is one of our top five recommended menu bar apps. BetterTouchTool recently got a rave review too and so did Timing 2. These are on top of last year's headliners, all of which are still present. So there's Screens, an app for remote-controlling your Mac.
You won't find any games: Good and bad installation Everything is also meant to be quick: That works so well we've accidentally installed three of them. That's because Setapp's own application, the installer for all of these, is good the first time you search for something but not the second. Say you search for the word better' to get BetterTouchTool. You type better' into the search box, hit return and you get your results. You always get several results: In order to search for something else, you go back to that search box and delete the term, enter something new and hit Return.
Only, Setapp hasn't actually done a new search: Hitting Return, then, does not start the new search, it passes that Return on to whatever app is highlighted from your previous results. Every app in Setapp interprets Return as being the same as clicking on the Install button.
So until you understand what's happening and then also remember to work around it, you end up with apps installing seemingly by themselves. It's a small issue in an otherwise fast and seamless way of installing apps.
Uninstalling them is more of a problem: CleanMyMac is one of the best apps on the Setapp service but you're already wondering how to uninstall that one if necessary. Choosing and using apps When you intend to install an app, you pick it from the list, read a description if you're not sure, and then click on Install. If you've already got an older, non-Setapp version of the app then you'll be asked if you're sure you want to install the new one.
Otherwise, the installation happens rapidly and mostly within Setapp itself: So long as you keep paying your monthly subscription, that's it. You've got the full, unlimited app, it's not interrupted by ads and it's not a time-limited trial version. Then, too, you automatically get every update to the apps you use and you don't have to pay more when the list of apps grows.
All of the apps live in a Setapp folder within your Applications one. There's also a Setapp folder added to the sidebar in every Finder window. This is something that's been improved.
Previously when we said all of the apps live in that Setapp folder, we meant all of them. Whether you downloaded them or not, an alias of every single available application in Setapp was presented to you.
It's not as if it took up much room with these aliases but hunting through to find the ones you had downloaded took time. Now the Setapp folder on your Mac only shows what you have chosen to install from the set. There's no good way for us to judge how many apps you're likely to install. We can tell you that looking at the , there were some 11 we immediately wanted to use so that's around 10 percent.
There is, though, a good way for you to judge it for yourself:
We are reader-supported. Learn more. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no expense to you. CleanUp, Protection and SpeedUp. This number is about right based on our findings. Fun Fact: What we like compared with other clean-up tools is how fast this one runs. Others, like the system junk, can take a few minutes. If you run everything and go through all the information, you can easily be done in well under half an hour.