Drop everything and download: Setapp

All-you-can-eat Mac apps for a monthly subscription - this is Netflix-inspired genius

It’s starting to feel like all digital content’s being gobbled up by ‘all you can eat’ business models. Instead of buying albums, people stream Spotify. Telly? Netflix and Amazon Prime. Even comics are embracing the idea of huge selections in return for a smallish monthly fee.

Setapp brings similar thinking to Mac apps – only rather than going for quantity, this one’s all about quality. At launch, you get over 60 hand-picked apps, ensuring there’s no rubbish to rifle through (unlike on Apple’s Mac App Store).

What does it do?

To get started you simply create an account at setapp.com and install the app. Setapp then lurks in the menu bar, offering a quick search field for filtering the Setapp app selection. You can also use this menu to access preferences, where you can define a search shortcut and decide whether you want automatic app updates.

The more interesting bit is the Setapp folder that sits in Applications. There, you’ll find icons for every one of the apps in the Setapp collection. Interested in checking one out? Double-click or use Spotlight to view the app’s information page, complete with a description and swipey screenshots section.

Click Open and the app begins ‘preparing for first launch’ – in other words, it downloads and then opens. Next time round, it’ll be ready and waiting on your Mac. Not keen on an app? Chuck it in the trash and the Setapp folder reloads its stub, so you can download it again in future should you change your mind.

Any downsides?

For some people, the idea of software rental rather than ownership is something they’ll never get over. If you’re the kind of person who screams about the unfairness of it all when talking about Creative Cloud, Setapp probably isn’t for you. And there is a small risk that you could lose your investment if creator MacPaw vanishes.

Other than that, if you’re feeling especially miserly, you might gripe at there being ‘only’ 60 or so apps right now. But, hey, no ads, no fuss, fast downloads, and some real gems lurking in the mix (such as top-notch writing tool Ulysses and back-up app Get Backup Pro). Also, MacPaw believes the service will have 300 apps in the end.

So the biggest downside is probably highlighting that you’re a miserable so and so if you start grumbling too much about Setapp.

Where can I get it?

Setapp is available from setapp.com. Sign up and you get a free month to try out all of the included apps. After that, it’ll set you back US$9.99 per month, and you can cancel at any time.