Setapp - Seasoned Users : General Experiences w/ Apps versus Purchased Apps; iOS Complementary Apps

For those that have been using Setapp for some time, can you tell me what your experience has been like, in general, with the usage of applications?

Perhaps the better question is, do you wish you would have just purchased an app outright versus using it via Setapp? If so, why?

For those applications in Setapp that have an iOS complement, do you generally get access to use them? Do they work as expected?

I missed all of the Setapp discounted subscription offerings, so I am sort of on the fence about purchasing an application outright versus signing up for Setapp.


Yeah I have it and get fair use of it, the crossover to iOS works well for Ulysses and MoneyWiz, can’t comment on the others as they are the one I use.

Guess the value side comes from how many of the apps they offer you would actually use.

I have been pleased with Setapp, far more than I expected to be. I have discovered several apps that I was not looking for at the time, but then I looked for something in Setapp and found an app that I could use.

One of the apps that I am most glad it in Setapp is Ulysses, which is a subscription app on its own.

Ulysses also has an iOS app, and the iOS app part works perfectly.

Plus I learned that iStat Menus, which I own separately, includes weather data in Setapp, which is a separate subscription outside of Setapp, but included in Setapp.

If you are a student/educator there is an educator discount.

I have purchased a few apps that I saw on sale just in case I decided to stop my subscription, but I use Ulysses enough that I’ll probably keep it.


@tjluoma : Thank you so much for your input!

So, it sounds like you the process of app discovery to suit whatever need you have is a good experience, in your opinion?

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This is my experience. The search within Setapp is good. They’ve done a nice job of making it possible for me to find a potential app for a certain job, even if I’m not sure exactly what kind of app I need. I can often enter keywords based on what I want to do and find 3-4 options. It’s not that those options always work in the way I want, but more often than I’d expect, one of them does.

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Very much so, and also the realization that if I have a need in a month which I don’t have now, I might already have access to a decent app which can meet that need for no additional money.

Also, it was very nice when Downie 4 came out, I was able to use the new version, on Setapp, for free.

(Downie is one of those apps that I had bought before I started using Setapp, and I did buy an upgrade, because I want to use Downie on another Mac that does not have Setapp on it, and also I really want Downie to exist because youtube-dl should not be our only decent option.)

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Does SetApp still use modified/older versions of Apps?

MacUpdater found a lot of updates that I could not apply due to using SetApp, when I was researching SetApp (trial).

On Setapp and iOS apps: note that they have a page in Support discussing these. Not every app on Setapp with an iOS version works with the Setapp subscription.

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One app that’s missing from the iOS list is Paste (my clipboard manager of choice). I can confirm that the Setapp version is supported on both Mac and iOS/iPadOS.

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The apps are different versions of the apps, presumably because they need different licensing mechanisms.

However, I have not had the experience of the apps I use in Setapp lingering far behind other apps.

That being said, there are something like 100 apps in there, so it’s possible I’m just not using any of those, but if the developers are getting paid by Setapp, they should be producing Setapp updates fairly regularly, or I’d expect them to get dumped by Setapp for making the app look bad.

It seems the licensing contracts are on a per app/version basis and not ongoing. Unite was a good example. Unite 2 was on Setapp, but it took several months for Unite 3 to come to setup after it’s standalone release. Developer said the whole time that it was planned but ongoing negotiation.

In terms of value, it carries two elements. First, it’s a great discovery tool - particularly categorically. Say you are looking for a type of app, but don’t want to purchase. Try on SetApp first, even though it might not be the exact one you are looking for. Second, I use over 15 apps, including Ulysses. This brings great value. Ulysses alone is like $5/m right? I get Ed discount and SetApp is only $5/m for me.

Though I would not buy all of the apps independently if I needed to. Marked2 for example is a wonderful markdown compiler, but I don’t think I would ever purchase it standalone.

However, all in all, I will be rethinking my sub in the next year. As we all should.

Indeed, Ulysses is $5/month in the US of $40/year. Setapp is $10/month or $108/year.

So if you use Ulysses, it is half of Setapp if you’re paying monthly.

I’ve made lists and still haven’t come up with a combination of apps that cost more than a SetApp subscription. :man_shrugging:

  • for Ulysses. I forget on iOS that it’s a subscription.

There’s one app, I think chronosync express, where you don’t full functionality ie. I choose to do something in the app after which I’m directed to a website that tells me I can’t do that with the Setapp version.

So in researching the business model, I think it is very fair. Basically the software developer gets an ongoing revenue stream that comes out of the monthly subscription fee based upon how many users are using the software.

A point I find great in Setapp is the integration in the OS :

  • if you are trying to open a file, it would suggest entries in the « open with » menu
  • Even better, when using the stoplight search bar , if you type some keywords regarding your use-case , it will show you app suggestions as if they were installed already - ex: type « pdf compression » and it will suggest pdf squeezer (it also work with keywords not in the title of an app: convert will get you the app permute )

Makes you discover app when you actually need them , which is pretty neat !

Then from there to installation and ready to use , the wait is also very minimal , I think that contributes a lot to the experience

Thank you for mentioning these points. As far as I know, this is a novel way to introduce new applications to a user.

On the flip side, when I first saw a dozen apps I didn’t recognize in Open With, I thought I’d downloaded spyware somehow. I’m not sure SetApp makes it clear enough that this behaviour will happen in onboarding…