Apple reveals 2017’s top charts, but don’t try to buy an iOS app from your Mac

I enjoyed going through Apple’s tops of 2017 list.

But, it did remind me of one broken piece of Apple’s app-purchasing system, still unaddressed after all this time. To see it, you have to open the list on your Mac.

On your Mac, if you click on Apple’s top movie link, after a bit of shuffling, you’ll be taken to an iTunes page listing the top movies of the year. Click on a movie and you’ll be taken to that movie’s iTunes page so you can rent or buy.

BUT.

Still on your Mac, still looking at that same best of list, try clicking on an app. To save you time, here’s a link to the iPhone game of the year, a fun little number called Splitter Critters.

You’ll be taken to a Safari App Store Preview page, with this note embedded on the page:

Used to be, you could click a link of an app you want to buy, the app page would open in iTunes, and you could purchase the app, even from your Mac. For a while, app links that used to work took you into the void, clearly broken. My hope was that this was a temporary situation, that Apple would work through their changes with iTunes and, eventually, restore the ability to buy an iOS app from a link shown on a Mac.

Why is this important? Why care about an iOS app that will never run on a Mac? It’s all about app developers and bloggers making a living.

App developers need publicity for their apps. And that publicity often comes from blogs (like MacStories, Daring Fireball, iMore, 9to5Mac, Six Colors, iDownloadBlog, etc.) When a blog links to an app, the best chance a developer has to close the deal with a reader is if that reader can click on a link and buy the app right then and there.

If the reader happens to be reading about the app on a Mac, there is no chance to close the deal with a simple click and purchase. At the very least, they have to remember to make the purchase the next time they are on an iOS device. This is bad for the developer and, ultimately, bad for the blogger. It widens the gap, reduces the intimacy between the writer who recommended the app, and the reader. And it lessens the chance that a blog will be able to make a bit of money from an affiliate link.

My two cents? Apple should fix this. As is, this makes the Mac a bit of a second class citizen.



  • I used to buy most of my iphone & ipad apps on my macbook – usually after reading a review. Even though I keep notes of the apps that I need to check out, I usually forget about them until it’s time for a Notes Apps spring cleaning.

    • I used to, too. It annoyed me a little that I ended up with a copy on my Mac, but it was worth it to avoid typing my password.

      Then I got an iPhone with TouchID.

  • Unnecessary. Less confusing would be a way to follow a link on an iPhone (or iPad) from a Mac.

    • Mo

      In an era of Handoff and Continuity, I have to wonder while this divide exists.

  • Oakwine

    I use the AirDrop feature in Safari to push the page to the App Store on my iPhone. It is annoying, but seems to be the best workaround for me. ‘Add to Reading List’ might work as well, but I don’t use that.

  • Chris

    I have the same problem in the opposite direction. I consume all my RSS feeds on my iOS devices. So whenever I read a review of a new app in the Mac App Store, there’s no way for me to buy the app or even wishlist it for the next time I’m on my mac.

    • Dolly

      <

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  • lkalliance

    Didn’t Apple recently remove App management from iTunes entirely?

    What I wish they’d fix (perhaps they already did) is the difference in buying or renting movies or TV shows on different devices. It used to be if you wanted the HD version you HAD to get it on your Apple TV or your Mac and not your iPhone. If you rented on your iPhone you couldn’t then later view it on your Apple TV. I may not be remembering this correctly, but it was SOMETHING like that. No way that should be the case.

    • You can stream an iTunes Store TV show from an AppleTV or iPad, but not from the iPhone. There, you need to download it, watch it, then delete it. It’s just weird.

  • I agree 100%. This is frustrating. Many of us wanted apple to “fix iTunes” but this is a huge step backwards for the reasons Dave has listed. As it is now, if I find an app I want, I have to cut and past the link and then send it to myself via iMessage. Unnecessary pain point. And Apple has done a poor job of explaining why they removed this functionality.

    • Or Share, I think, but yeah.

      • Ethel

        <

        blockquote>Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this. On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it !da225d: ➽➽ ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleHomeLifeCashJobsOpportunity/simple/work ★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫:::::!da225luuu

      • Laurie

        <

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  • John Goodman

    They should just roll iOS apps into the Mac’s App Store app.

  • Yes, you need a place as a consumer to manage iOS apps on the desktop.

    No, it shouldn’t be iTunes.

    Removing it from iTunes is a necessary step.

    • Fofer

      Why not make the App Store work on the web, just as the Google Play Store does? And/or add the ability to buy iOS apps from the App Store on the Mac?

      We don’t necessarily need a place to MANAGE iOS apps on the desktop. We just need a way to BUY them. I downgraded to iTunes 12.6.3 specifically to keep this. Hopefully Apple rectifies this awful situation soon.

  • JimCracky

    Apple’s meager attempts at streamlining iTunes have left the whole iOS app on mac a pile of crap.