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The issue I am facing is bandwidth is very expensive where I live, I pay by the MB so if I need to install Final Cut on 10 different computers it would be murder to download it 10 times, is it possible to install on one computer and then move the files over and just pay for it on the other computer without having to get the files again? Or is the installation tied to a computer? Thank you.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can copy/paste the application from one Mac to another, they will run as they are self-contained (no files required in other locations).

You may not even need to login to the App Store to run them. I had to install Xcode and Final Cut Pro on a very restricted network environment where the App Store is blocked, the apps ran fine.

Licensing is an issue if you use the apps in a non-personal environment (businness, education). Download and install work the same way.

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Technically, side loading is fine. Most applications require you to be signed in to the store to run the app, but you certainly don't need to download 10 copies of the same app if you are using the same account.

License wise, this is fine for personal use since one copy of an App is licensed for use on all of your personal-use computers. You would want to get an OK from Apple for commercial use as you are expected to have one license per computer or person.

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I think the technicalities lie in how the developer chooses to package their apps. Each download has a signature/receipt file as part of teh download bundle. This should be tied to your Apple ID as part of the purchasing process, so as long as the other computers have access to this ID then copying will work fine. It is possible if I recall correctly to have a receipt file that doesn't require even this level of authentication, and some apps once downloaded can be freely distributed regardless of where is came from - I think most devs have sorted this one out to be honest, but you sound like you are good to go with a legit download and access to the same ID.

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You can:

  1. enable the Debug menu of the App Store
  2. Show Download Folder… 
  3. download, and perform a carefully timed copy of the download (timed to occur before the download is purged from that area).

Volatile items in this area may include things that are installers (not the installed results of an installer).

Related, and not limited to Lion: Does the Lion App Store have a debug menu?


Another volatile area:

/Library/Updates

I'll test to figure out the relationship between the two areas. Maybe:

  1. all App Store downloads go first to the downloads folder
  2. then downloads that will be used for updates are moved temporarily to /Library/Updates
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Could you elaborate what gets stored in the "Download folder" - How is that different than what gets shoved into /Applications at the end of the download and verification? –  bmike Nov 28 '12 at 16:36

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