The scenario:

I'm working on a friend's Mac. To proceed with the task at hand, I need a specific tool. This tool is available for free (and does not use in app purchases) from the Mac App Store, but isn't available as a direct download from the developer.

I do not wish to log into my own Apple ID on my friend's Mac, for a number of reasons: having to deal with de-associating and re-associating my friend's ID with his machine, the fact that there is an apparent limit as to how many Macs can be logged into the App Store under a single account, etc.

My friend is not present and thus I do not have his Apple ID password to download it under his account. It wouldn't be a reasonable request to me to ask my friend to provide his Apple ID password to me. (Assume that before giving me his machine, my friend set his local system password to something generic so I would be able to know it, but has obvious good reasons to not do this with his Apple ID password.)

Another scenario:

I am at work and just received a Mac. The IT management says that employees are permitted to install any apps onto the machine as long as they are free. (So, for example, I'd be allowed to install Homebrew, or stuff from SourceForge, etc.) However, the machine is logged into a "corporate" Apple ID, and thus I cannot re-associate it to my ID even temporarily. Also, I would not be able to "purchase" the free app under the corporate ID as I would not know its password.

In both scenarios, I do have local administrator rights to the machine.

In these scenarios, is there a way to use the free app from the Mac App Store on the machine in question, without having to associate that machine with my own Apple ID, or purchase the app under someone else's account?

  • First, I guess, you should ask your legal department. That an application does not require payment does not mean you are not bound by license agreement.
    – techraf
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 0:37
  • This is only relevant to my second scenario. FWIW, both scenarios above are actual real situations I am in. As for "legal", it's been clearly outlined that we are allowed to install software that does not require payment and if it is something we can use in the course of work (like I said, Homebrew). Also as I said this does not address the actual question - if it is possible (and if so how) to run an app that is only available via the App Store, but for free, on a machine on which you (for whatever reason) cannot or do not want to login as yourself/download under another user's account.
    – fdmillion
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 4:12
  • I guess the simple answer is no, it cannot be done. You will have to associate the App Store 'purchase' with one ID or another, whichever it may be.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 7:49
  • @fdmillion I'm afraid your interpretation of software licensing is a bit different from reality. It is copyright owner who decides what you can do with their software, not your legal department. They can only judge case by case if using particular software under particular license would or would not be a breach of the license. You cannot claim that if you could install software A you can do the same with software B, because they both do not require compensation.
    – techraf
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 6:07

2 Answers 2


An Apple ID in OS X is attached to the account, not to the machine so you can create a new account, use your Apple ID, use the app, then delete the account when finished.

Another alternative is to use another Apple ID. There is nothing stating that you can't have more than one Apple ID. Just create one for when you are doing tech work like what you are doing now and use that one.

Finally, you can ask your friend to sign in and use his account so you can download the app under his profile.

  • I think creating a 'Corporate Account'(so to speak) to download the App would be the best way for you. There is a way to de-associate an app from the ID, but it would probably go against the terms of use (for the App-Store) and therefore not advisable in a business/corporate environment (or private for that matter).
    – J.C.
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 11:35

Since the application is free and doesn't contain any in-app purchases I would suggest you to email the developer that you would like to have a directly link to download the application. In most cases those people are generous and don't hesitate to provide you with an alternative. I am able to tell this because once I had some kind of problem with my AppStore and at the same I had to download Memory Clean. So I mailed the developers for a link and got an answer within 24 hours. Let me know if this worked :)

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