If I copy an application already have in my Apple ID (Edit: for example, Xcode) from another computer to the Applications folder, will the Mac App Store be able to update it?

Or will I have to do something manually in order to enable updates from that app?


Yes - you can side load apps to Mac and as long as it’s on the filesystem (doesn’t even have to be in /Applications or on the boot drive) - the App Store app will see you have that app installed and offer updates when they are available.

There is no installer, receipt or other accounting needed to indicate an app should be managed / updated once it’s copied on to the filesystem intact (with the intact part being key).

  • I wanted the same feature and have not observed this phenomenon (tried it with Xcode, since its a big download). I was about to answer no for the question. Is it something that has changed in the current release of macOS @bmike?
    – Nimesh Neema
    Mar 25 '18 at 14:29
  • @NimeshNeema Well - Xcode is one nasty download of an app. It runs all sort of side scripts, elevates it’s permissions, etc.. So I’ll say making an “intact” copy of that app in the form it was downloaded isn’t easy. I run caching server so when anyone downloads an app - we cache a copy on a Mac in the office so all the subsequent downloads are local network speed fast. We copy all sorts of small apps around but again - since they are tied to Apple ID - this is a rare and one or two computers event.
    – bmike
    Mar 25 '18 at 14:35
  • I'll just download Xcode then, but I wanted to skip the download. Mar 25 '18 at 14:36

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