I just installed a fresh copy of El Capitan on my MacBook Pro Retina (2013 model), and iWorks are no longer free in the App Store, as has been the case in Yosemite. See the screenshot:

Apps by Apple

What are the possible causes and solutions?

I also changed the Apple ID on this computer, if that may be relevant.

  • 4
    The Apple ID change caused it. Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 14:05
  • @IronCraftMan: Why? Only one Apple ID can be used to obtain iWorks suite on a given computer?
    – Siyuan Ren
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 14:08
  • 3
    When you opened the mac app store the first time when you got your computer the software came bundled with, it asked you to associate your Apple ID with your iWorks license.
    – bot47
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 15:12
  • @MaxRied: That could be an answer instead.
    – Siyuan Ren
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 15:40

5 Answers 5


The Apple business model is the opposite to that of Microsoft.

Purchases are tied to you & your Apple ID, not to the machine they run on.

This makes migrating to a new machine very simple, but juggling purchases across multiple IDs difficult. Apple doesn't want you setting up multiple IDs just on a whim, it wants one user tied to one ID.

Once you start juggling IDs, you will find that each time you need to update anything, you will need to logout of your current ID & log back in with the one used for that particular purchase.

Either that or set up Family Sharing with all your IDs as the members of the 'family'.


If you really had all those apps before you did a fresh OS installation then do this:

  1. Go to App Store
  2. Click on Store
  3. Click on View my account and sign in with the credentials that you initially used when you were using all those apps before you did the fresh install
  4. Now it takes you to your account info but no need to look at that
  5. Click on the Store again
  6. And click on the Purchased

You will see all the apps that you own in your apple account

Hope that helps because that helped me.


You could try using the Migration Assistant from your backup to copy over the Applications from your previous installation.

You did make a backup?

  • I do make backups, but only data files. I don't backup files downloadable from the Internet.
    – Siyuan Ren
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 15:32
  • I think you may have now found a reason to do more complete backups ;-) Can you sign into the app store with your old Apple ID? Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 15:33
  • Yes, logging in app store with the old id works.
    – Siyuan Ren
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 16:09

I just had the same question. To be able to download iWorks or any other (eg. Numbers...)

  1. Open App Store
  2. Click on "Store" tab
  3. Down to "View My Account" and sign in
  4. Once page opens, go down to "Hidden Items" click "Manage"
  5. A page will come up with an item and the word "Hidden" - click it and then click "Done"
  6. You should see what you're looking for in the list that comes up. All you have to do is click "Install"

I had to log out then log back into the App Store.

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    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 3:22

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