Installing and uninstalling apps is much easier in macOS compared to Windows. You can simply install most of the apps from the App Store and keep the history in your Apple account forever. Though some third-party applications still need installer, most third-party websites simply offer disk image file (.dmg). The disk image helps to install the application with .app extension. In this article let us explain all possibilities of installing apps in Mac.
Install Apps in Mac
You can find all installed apps under “Applications” folder in Finder. Alternatively, open Launchpad to view the apps in full-screen view as shown below.
1. Install Free Apps from App Store
Apple redesigned the App Store and offered a completely different interface in macOS 10.14 (Mojave). Though the interface changes, app installation process remains same. Open App Store and find any of the free app that you want to download on your Mac.
- You will see a GET button and click on it.
- The button will change to a INSTALL button and click on it.
- You will see the progress pie bar running indicating the app is getting installed. If you didn’t login to your App Store, then you will be prompted to login with your Apple ID.
- After successful installation, the button will finally show as OPEN. Click on it to open the installed app.
So, you need to do few clicks for installing apps from App Store. This may look lengthy process but safe to avoid accidental clicks.
2. Installing Paid Apps from App Store
The process remains same for the paid apps. There are two types of paid apps – partially paid and premium apps. The partial apps will still show GET button along with a note “In-App Purchases” and you need to follow the above process. After installation, you may need to pay money for removing ads or getting additional features.
The premium apps will show the amount in your App Store currency instead of GET button. Click on the amount to see BUY APP button. Again click on the BUY APP button to pay money and download the app to your Mac. The amount will be automatically deducted from the linked payment method in your Apple ID.
3. Downloading App Store Apps from iCloud
You may notice some apps in App Store will show a cloud icon with down arrow instead of GET or price button. This indicates that you have previously installed that app and currently the app is not available on your Mac. However, the app is synced in iCloud and you can install it on any devices using the same Apple ID. Simply click on the cloud icon to start the installation. Remember, this will not ask you for App Store password as the app will be downloaded from the cloud.
4. Downloading Third-Party DMG Files
You may not get all apps from App Store, especially for specific needs. Generally, third-party websites offer DMG files that can be installed on your Mac. Simply, double click on the downloaded disk image file and extract the .app application on your Mac. Let us take an example to explain this process. Go to Chrome Canary page and let us install Google Chrome Canary version. You can do this for normal Chrome version, since we already have that, we explain here with canary version. Click on the “Download Chrome Canary” button and download “googlechrome.dmg” file in your “Downloads” folder.
Double click on the .dmg file to extract its content.
You will see a window like below asking you to drag and drop the file to Applications folder. Just drag and drop to start the installation process.
The content will be copied to Applications folder as .app application.
When you open the app, it will ask you to allow on your Mac like below. Click on “Open” button to launch the app.
This is due to the privacy settings in “Apple Menu > Preferences > Security & Privacy > General” section ( in macOS Monterey or earlier). Even you have chosen to allow apps from App Store and identified developers, macOS will still prompt you with the warning for Google Chrome and other apps.
If you are using macOS Ventura or later, then go to “Apple Menu > Settings > Privacy & Security” section. Scroll down on the right side settings and check under “Security” section.
5. Installing With Installer Package
Not all apps are like Chrome Canary version. Some apps need many details like purchase history, license key, etc. So, the third-party website will offer it as a package which you need to extract and install on your Mac. Let us take an example of MAMP used for installing a local server for applications like WordPress. Go to MAMP site and download the package.
Double click on the package to extract and it will show similar option to drag and drop to Applications folder. When you drag and drop, unlike copying the content, an installer will run allowing to choose the installation path and other details specific to the app. You should follow the instructions to complete the installation.
6. Installing Software & App Updates
The apps downloaded from App Store needs to be updated to keep them compatible with the latest macOS version. Go to “App Store > Updates” section and look for any available app updates. For software update of you macOS in Monterey or earlier versions, go to “Apple Menu > Preferences > Software Update” section. Click “Advanced” option and choose all the checkboxes to automatically update the macOS. This is useful especially when you run on beta or developer version of macOS.
If you are using macOS Ventura or later versions, go to “Apple Menu > Settings > General > Software Update” section to download and install the latest available macOS version. From there you can enable auto update for both macOS as well as apps.
Frequently Asked Questions in Installing Apps in Mac
Yes, it is possible to simply copy and paste the apps from your Applications folder. This is useful when you are migrating Mac’s content to another Mac (though you should use Migration Assistant or Time Machine Backup). However, premium features that work based on license key or subscription may not work if the device is linked to your app.
Yes, you can open Launchpad and click on the downloading app to pause the progress.
Mac will show a blur dot below the recently updated apps in Launchpad.
It indicates the app is currently opened.
Only install apps from reliable third-party sites like Google Chrome, Microsoft 365 or Mozilla Firefox. Malicious apps will steal your personal and financial information. So, be careful before and avoid installing such apps.
This depends on the app. If it is a free app, make sure to install it from App Store as the files are scanned and verified by Apple. However, if it is premium apps like Microsoft 365 then you should purchase a subscription from Microsoft. After that you can install the app either from your Microsoft account or from App Store and link the subscription. Otherwise, you will have to wait for the expiry of App Store subscription to change the subscription from Apple to Microsoft when renewing.
Installing and uninstalling apps is the first thing people do after buying a Mac. This will be exciting especially when you are new to Mac from traditional Windows based computers. Remember the rules are same, whether Windows or Mac, avoid installing unnecessary apps to save space and memory. I hope the above explained ways help you to understand the installation process of apps in Mac.