You could be forgiven for looking at the top paid apps in the Mac App Store to figure out which you should buy. But there are a lot of popular apps on that list that are absolute rubbish. Here are 25 you shouldn’t waste your money on.
Of course, the top paid apps are going to change on a regular basis, so these rankings may be off at any given time. And some apps will drop out of the Top 100. But some of them will certainly stay, contrary to logic and good customer service. The following were all present as of November 2016.
1. Disk Cleaner ($5.99)
Just because it’s the “#1 Customizable disk cleaner on Mac App Store” doesn’t mean you need it. Download Onyx instead, which is free, extremely customizable, and will do all of the things this app promises. And a few more. For a preview of what it can do, check out our writeup on it.
2. App for WhatsApp ($1.99)
WhatsApp has a native app for running the messaging client on your Mac, and you can download it for free (even though it’s only the second best WhatsApp desktop client). There are plenty of other all-in-one options that include WhatsApp as well.
3. Duplicate Photos Fixer Pro ($1.99)
Despite stating that it’s 90% off an original price of $18.99, you can get this functionality for free. dupeGuru is a free app that uses awesome algorithms to find duplicate files of all types; it even has special music and picture modes. Duplicate File Finder is a free option in the App Store that likely works just as well.
4. Elmedia ($12.99)
5. Adware Doctor ($9.99)
Adware sucks, but you don’t need to pay ten bucks for software that’ll deal with it. Just grab Malware Bytes’ Anti-Malware for Mac. There’s a free version, and Malware Bytes is one of the biggest names out there when it comes to Mac protection.
6. Adware Removal ($6.99)
The fact that the same developer released Adware Doctor and Adware Removal should be a warning sign. Why have two apps when they should both do the exact same thing? Just download Anti-Malware for Mac.
7. HD Radio for Pandora ($4.99)
8. Disk Doctor ($2.99)
Like Disk Cleaner above, this app promises to help you clean up your hard drive. Which is great, but you can do it for free with industry-standard tools. Download CCleaner, one of our favorite Mac apps, to do the same thing without paying a dime.
9. Uploader HD for Instagram ($4.99)
The fact that Instagram went after a previous uploader app for violating its terms of service isn’t a good sign. The developer’s decision to not list this app on their website isn’t reassuring, either. Just keep using Instagram on your phone (or be content with just browsing from your desktop). That’s what it was meant for, and when Instagram figures out how to disable this app, you’ll have saved yourself five bucks.
10. iPull ($4.99)
You can pay $5 to download videos from YouTube, Facebook, and other social services, or you can use one of a huge number of free websites. iPull might have a menubar option, but is it worth the price of a Starbucks coffee? Probably not.
11. DeskChat ($0.99)
It’s only a buck, what can it hurt? Just remember that you can get this functionality for free from a number of apps, including one directly from WhatsApp. There’s just no reason for this.
12. Disk Aid ($14.99)
This app is from the same company that makes Disk Doctor. It bills itself as a disk cleaning and system optimization app, but again, you can get a better cleaner for free. It provides a number of other functionalities, like a duplicate finder and “privacy guard,” which empties your browser history, caches and similar stores. It sounds great, but it’s not worth $15. Use Onyx to clear out all of your caches and cookies, and a free duplicate finder.
13. Lecture Recorder ($0.99)
There’s nothing lecture-specific about this app, and there are a lot of free options for recording things. Evernote, for example, lets you create audio notes, and Audacity is a very powerful audio app that can make recordings for free. Even QuickTime has an audio recording option. It’s only a buck, but it’s a buck you can save.
14. Mahjong! ($2.99)
In addition to about a million places to play Mahjong for free online, there’s at least one app that will let you play for free on your Mac. It’s called, fittingly, Mahjong Unlimited Free.
15. Suite for MS Office 365 ($39.99)
This is a forty-dollar set of templates for Microsoft Office. Yes, you read that correctly. 1340 templates is a lot, but there’s around ten billion free templates available online. Many of them through Microsoft Office itself. Why would you pay $40 for this? Why?!
16. App for Google Docs ($2.99)
Google Docs is always available in your browser. And both Chrome and mobile devices have the ability to work with G Suite documents offline. For free.
17. App for Google Drive ($1.99)
The fact that a developer got both #53 and #54 in the top 100 paid apps for two things that are absolutely, completely unnecessary just boggles my mind. Download Google’s own Google Drive app.
18. Easy to Use: Microsoft Excel 2016 Edition ($6.99)
This app contains 212 video tutorials for Excel 2016. And while that may sound appealing, there’s absolutely no reason to pay for it. YouTube is packed with free Excel tutorials, and we post them on a regular basis.
19. Checkbook Pro ($19.99)
You can manually input or import your financial information into this app, or you can use Mint or You Need a Budget (both free) to do it all automatically and gain a huge number of other useful features. If you prefer doing it all manually, why not grab GnuCash for free?
20. AnyVideo Converter HD ($5.99)
If you have to convert videos from one format to another, you need Handbrake, which is free. It might take a bit to get used to, but it’s absolutely the best option out there.
21. NoFlashTube ($0.99)
This app lets you watch YouTube videos without Flash on your computer. Sounds great, except you haven’t needed Flash to watch YouTube in quite a while. All modern browsers support HTML5 video playback, and YouTube will only use Flash if you’re on something too old to use HTML5. Plus the app has a raft of bad reviews.
22. Bundle for MS Office ($39.99)
The icon might make you think that this is Microsoft Office, when it is in fact a collection of templates for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Granted, it lists over 5,000 templates, but still. There’s just no reason to pay for that. (It’s sold by the same company as the aforementioned Suite for MS Office 365, which is another warning sign).
23. GrandPerspective ($1.99)
Want to see how your hard drive space is being used by different types of files? And figure out which ones to delete to save the most space? Then download Disk Inventory X, which is free. Spend that $2 on something awesome and free up space on your hard drive with better tools.
24. D-Link++ Viewer ($2.99)
It’s an app you can use to look at your D-Link IP cameras. D-Link provides an app to do the exact same thing from your phone, and you can also use mydlink.com to view the feeds from your computer. For free.
25. WinOnX 2 Pro ($7.99)
You can pay $8 to run Windows apps on your Mac, or you can download Wine and Winebottler to do it for free. In fact, the app description states that WinOnX 2 Pro is based on Wine. It also doesn’t have great reviews, so there’s no telling what kind of performance you’ll get.
Be Careful on the Mac App Store
While there are a lot of great apps on the Mac App Store, there’s also a lot of garbage. And with many developers leaving the App Store, the proportions aren’t likely to get better. That being said, as long as you’re careful, you should be able to avoid useless or overpriced apps and find the good ones. Also don’t forget to buy your games elsewhere!
If you accidentally download something that’s terrible, you can get a refund.
Have you downloaded any of these apps? Or have you managed to avoid these and other rip-offs? Share your experiences in the comments below!