Does anyone buy apps anymore?

There used to be a time where I excitedly browsed the iOS app store looking for new apps. Particularly in the productivity section. I have recently reflected this all stopped for me years ago. I realised that after a time, most apps I never used.

Other than apps associated with services eg Power company, Broadband etc, I havent downloaded a new app for years. I have retreated back to mainly using the stock apps.

How does the budding iOS developer get a foothold these days


I think what you have described is exactly why I don’t buy apps often either - I’ve been burnt too many times buying apps that I then don’t like.

Free apps with premium features feel like the future, so I can try the app, and if I like it, I’ll invest in additional features, whether it is subscription (with continual development) or a one-off purchase.

Free trials of subscription apps are another example of allowing me to try before I buy.

1 Like

The App Store is a mess for me. I only download new apps following a review or mention somewhere like MPU to MacStories etc


I certainly don’t buy as apps as frequently as I once did. And there’s much less impulse buying. Part of that is about being more discerning, part of it is about being more comfortable with my existing toolset (lower demand for an app to solve a problem) and having a solid base of apps that can handle most of what might arise in the future.

Also: I’ve got a better sense of where I might need a dedicated app, and where I might be able to use a single app for a number of different functions— maintaining that balance helps reduce overwhelm. Instead of thinking “there’s an app for that” when I become aware of some new or previously unaccounted for need within my workflows, I’m more inclined to first ask “do I already have an app for that?”

That said, I’m likely to support apps from developers I’m already familiar with. For example, although I have a few code/text editors, Simon B Stovring’s Runestone ( was an instant purchase for me.

So sure, an app has to work harder to get my attention. I’m sure everyone has their saturation point, tempered by the half-life of an app’s active development, needs that change over time, whatever Apple does that encourages churn in favour of newer apps (e.g. the recently publicised removal of old apps) etc etc…

Oh, and I rarely (if ever) discover anything via the App Store these days. I go there make sure my apps are up-to-date, and mostly ignore everything else. I’m more likely to discover a new app via recommendations in forums or on Twitter.


While I also observe that I downloaded a couple of years almost everything I thought it might be of any value, just to figure out at some day, that I have hundreds of unused apps on my phone, and be today way more selective in what I download or buy, I don’t think that this would be a problem for the Developer.
The App Store is a mass market, with millions of users.
And while there are for sure apps, that nobody really is interested in, there are enough users remaining buying the one or the other app, like all of us, whether they could really use it, or not.
And even if a app is only charging 2-3$, this sums up pretty nice with the high number of App Store users, especially if it is a yearly or even monthly payment.


I rarely use the App Store to recommend apps, but rather rely on forums and podcasts like this one to float possibilities. Even then, I’m trying to be more discerning!


Nah, the AppStores are a mess. It keeps pushing silly games with insane in-app purchase schemes. AppStore totally ignores my request for giving me “personalized suggestions”. However, at this point, my software and app situation is pretty stable, so certain long term subscriptions are active for key apps.

Actually bought an app on the Mac AppStore yesterday, but it was a LONG time since I did that. Only reason was that the app was about half price there, as compared to the publisher’s website.


We’re past when you would keep increasing the utility of your phone just by staying on top of the App Store top free/paid and top categories. But it’s still fun to explore if you enjoy trying new software for its own sake, and aren’t the type to put pressure on yourself to use something just because you downloaded it or paid for it.

On the game side of the store, Apple has several ML-based lists that make solid recommendations based on what you already like. I think they should add more of these lists since each one reflects a different facet of your tastes back at you, and I’m a many-faceted man. :slight_smile:

On the business side, they don’t take the same approach, so you’re stuck browsing top categories, and I agree that tech forums, media and social channels can be more useful for discovery of those kinds of apps. Hoping the ML based approach comes to the app store someday. And I’d love to get “never suggest this again” on both sides of the app store, but I doubt we’ll get meaningful improvement there, ever.

Finally, would note a significant amount of “new app energy” has moved into TestFlight, some for betas, some for indefinitely unreleased software. The support channels around those tests are often communities in their own rights.

1 Like

I’ve never needed a powerful computer or a lot of programs. I was the guy that selected data and communications systems, got them up and running, then managed them.

Today I’m retired and use Google Workspace for almost everything. Like you most the apps I use on my iPad Pro and iPhone are free apps, YouTube, Kindle, my bank, my doctor, FedEx, etc. I have a few that are essential, like 1Password, and an handful that are just nice to have like Due and Instapaper.

I think there will be newbies to buy shiny new apps and old hands that will continue to need speciality apps like OmniFocus. And both will complain when everything becomes a subscription and/or moves to the web.


I do buy apps (when I can afford them). But with exploring the iOS App Store in particular, which you mentioned, I have a different issue. I used to explore it and try new apps weekly as a hobby. Squarely until, instead of making the top charts accessible, they started forcing you to scroll through pages of ads.

The format changes and it is not particularly bad on my Apps tab, today. But attached is my Games tab just now. I counted 10 full finger swipes before I could reach the Top Free section. I stopped counting by the time I reached the Top Paid, apparently at the very bottom today.

They took a mostly organic vote list, and turned it into an ad page. I have not browsed the App Store since, not even a little bit, or purchased any app that wasn’t a referral.


I agree. This single issue… more than anything has revealed that Apple isn’t your friend…its all about the money,

1 Like

It also occurs to me that the average pace of app acquisition in our rather-limited group should be greatly reduced, almost by definition.

You get a phone. You have X number of problems to solve. You solve them with apps. In order to be driven to acquire new apps, you need either new problems or to be convinced that another solution solves the problem better, such that it’s worth paying the inertial cost of switching.

Barring people who just really like playing with new apps, I think people trying to get work done seem to reach “app homeostasis” eventually, and remain there. :slight_smile:


if you are speaking specifically about the AppStore, not me. in my opinion, there has not been a lot of wow factor or innovation of apps in the appstore in the past couple of years. I am keeping my powder dry for when we can sideload a littie easier. I look forward to supporting devs that develop apps that apple cannot control.

yes I already use altstore and have purchased apps that use it.


I buy damn too many apps, much to my wife’s chagrin… I blame y’all for all the neat recommendations :grin: