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I have an iPhone and two Macs. I sync my files across all three using iCloud and want to do something similar with my apps: I want to be able to use an app on my iPhone, and use the same app on both of my Macs, for apps where this is possible. What's the cleanest way to do this? Right now I download the app separately on each device using the same Apple Id, so when I update something in the app from one device, the update is present in the instance of the app on the other devices. Is there a better way to do this?

  • Which app is in question ? If the app supports sync, it will update across all devices. But some don't even exist for both Mac and iOS. And some simply don't have cloud syncing as a feature. – ankii Nov 16 '19 at 16:51
  • @ankii this question is the job description for being a Mac admin. :-) – bmike Nov 16 '19 at 17:41
  • @ankii I'm not thinking of a particular app, just apps in general. You said some apps will have the options to sync across devices; for those apps will I manually download the app on each device, then follow the given app's instructions to sync across all of them? I downloaded an app called Any.do on all devices and the data do sync across all of them, but I didn't knowingly select "sync devices" anywhere. – gkeenley Nov 17 '19 at 20:27
  • gkeenley I was not aware of the Mac admin job, @bmike points out (and adds tag mdm too). I took it from the perspective of regular users. The comments can be deleted actually. – ankii Nov 17 '19 at 21:08
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Enabling automatic App Store downloads on all devices solves this issue for devices that use the same AppleID for App Store.

  • macOS this is in the preferences for the App Store App
  • iOS this is in the settings app under Apple ID > iTunes & App Store

The general case is solved only when you package and script app installs with an MDM framework like JAMF Now. It’s a lot of work to start packaging your apps or manage installers, so most groups don’t fully manage all apps until they have 50 to 100 Macs, but the technology is there to do this on macOS and iOS. There are even comprehensive books on packaging such as Armin Briegel’s

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  • Thanks for the info. What's "enabling automatic app store downloads"? And can you point me to any resources where I can read about the packaging and scripting of app installs? – gkeenley Nov 17 '19 at 20:29
  • The user forums on JAMF has the best packaging info @gkeenley and see my edit to the post above for how to enable downloads from other devices – bmike Nov 17 '19 at 20:42

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