Back when Apple announced iLife '11 I bought a copy, but now I see that it's also available on the Mac App Store. If I want to be eligible to use the Mac App Store's built-in update mechanism to update it, do I have to repurchase it through the Mac App Store?

  • Well, that didn't take long. The Mac App Store was released, what, less than two hours ago? Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 17:45
  • @Philip I wanted to get the question out there so that when people are searching for the answer, they'll come here. Of course, that relies on getting the question answered at some point... Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 17:49
  • Don't think it was a dig or anything. I get the intent behind the question. I'm just still surprised when I see this kind of thing happen even after all this time, for whatever reason. Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 17:55
  • @Philip Sorry for the confusion about the question, I've modified the title to hopefully make it clearer Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 18:20

3 Answers 3


Yes, you do have to re-buy to get updates via the Mac App Store. Via Daring Fireball:

The Mac App Store may show software bought from us previously as “Installed”, even though they’re two different licenses. You will not get Mac App Store auto-updates unless you purchase from the Mac App Store. To re-enable the “Purchase” button in the Mac App Store, just drag the app to the trash. Your preferences/sites will not be affected.

In other words, for apps that use the same bundle ID for the both the Mac App Store and non-App Store versions, the Mac App Store will not install updates to already-installed non-App Store versions, but it will recognize them as being already installed. If you want to get updates via the Mac App Store, you’ll have to re-buy the app through the App Store.

Honestly, I'm really surprised by this.

UPDATE: I'd recommend reading Cabel Sasser's blog post over at Panic about this as it provides a more comprehensive picture of what's going on, and includes some developer-related information.

  • We know that's true for 3rd party apps, but hope springs eternal Apple has tricks up its sleeve for its own apps. Sure would be nice to be able to buy iLife piecemeal.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 21:11
  • 2
    To add to the confusion, this article says an update of TextWrangler was possible and successful via the App Store. Looks like its entirely down to the licensing scheme used in the app. In this case it was a free app, so no license to preserve, update via App Store possible. cultofmac.com/mac-app-store-can-update-existing-installed-apps/…
    – Ian C.
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 22:12
  • @bmike: Your edit should be made a comment. While I can appreciate the effort, I think sometimes your edits go a bit too far. Commented May 11, 2011 at 18:20

Yes. Unless you buy the apps through the App Store, they will not be official App Store apps. Meaning no reinstalling if you ever needed to, no installing on other Macs, etc. And you won't get updates through the App Store, you'll get updates through Software Update (which you can find in System Preferences).

However, if/when you upgrade to Mountain Lion, which came out last week, Software Update has been integrated into the App Store. So all your Apple software, regardless of whether or not it was purchased through the App Store, is updated in one place.


No, you do not need to repurchase an Apple App through the Mac App Store if you want to be eligible to use the Mac App Store's built-in update mechanism to update it.

You can perform updates of Apple provided Apps which you bought on CD/DVD (before the advent of the App Store) with the App Store's update feature. Even though the App is not shown as Installed normally, this changes to Update if an update is available. This is at least true for me with Aperture.

  • The inclusion of software updates with the App Store on Mountain Lion makes it seem more unified for people that have a mix of apps that came from the store and those from physical media that get updated from the older update servers.
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 20:47

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