Don’t Waste Your Money on These 25 Top-100 Mac App Store Apps

Dann Albright 18-11-2016

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 OnyX Gives Access To All Kinds Of Hidden Mac Options [Mac] Keeping your Mac running in tip-top shape is important. If you use your computer for work, you are going to want it running as fast as possible. Apple actually has all kinds of options available... Read More .

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 WhatsApp Desktop Client for Windows & Mac Is Only Second Best WhatsApp released a Microsoft Store app, a wrapper for its desktop app. Notifications and keyboard shortcuts aside, it's identical to WhatsApp Web. Read More ). There are plenty of other all-in-one options Use an All-in-One Messenger App to Make Chatting Easier Tired of hopping back and forth between Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, Slack, Google Hangouts, etc? Use an all-in-one messenger app to control ALL of them at once. Read More 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)


While Elmedia does look nice, there’s no reason to not use VLC, the ultimate multiformat media player. And it can do way more than just play videos 7 Top Secret Features of the Free VLC Media Player VLC should be your media player of choice. The cross-platform tool has a bag full of secret features you can use right now. Read More . Save yourself three bucks and use the best.

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)



This app promises unlimited skips and no ads on Pandora. Sounds great, but reviews indicate that the unlimited skips claim might not be true. Also, the developer of this app has already been busted for at least one app that violates a service’s terms of use. Even if this app does work, there’s a good chance it won’t be around for long.

8. Disk Doctor ($2.99) [No Longer Available]


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 The Best Mac Apps to Install on Your MacBook or iMac Looking for the best apps for your MacBook or iMac? Here's our comprehensive list of the best apps for macOS. Read More , 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 The Best Ways to Use Instagram on OS X Even though it's primarily a network that people access on their phones, you may find yourself wanting to access Instagram on your computer. Read More ). 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) [No Longer Available]


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) [No Longer Available]


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 12 Creative Uses for Audacity: Podcasts, Voiceovers, Ringtones, and More Audacity isn't just useful for podcasts and music production. Here are some creative ways to use Audacity and how to get started. Read More 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 How to Use Google Docs or Drive Offline on PC & Mobile The downside to cloud-based services and apps is that you always need to be online to use them. We show you how to take Google Drive offline & what to keep in mind. Read More . 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 Need to Learn Excel? 10 Experts Will Teach You for Free! Learning how to use Excel's more advanced features can be tough. To make it a little easier, we have tracked down the best Excel gurus who can help you master Microsoft Excel. Read More , 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 The Online Budget Battle: Mint vs. You Need a Budget (YNAB) When it comes to online budgeting and expense tracking, there are plenty of solutions, but two of the biggest names in the business are Mint and You Need a Budget (YNAB). Read More (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 5 Clever Things You Can Do with HandBrake HandBrake is a powerful tool, designed to help you get the most out of your digital media. We have compiled some of HandBrake's most ingenious uses. Check it out! Read More , which is free. It might take a bit to get used to, but it’s absolutely the best option out there.

21. NoFlashTube [Broken Link Removed] ($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 How to Free Up Space on Mac: 8 Tips and Tricks You Need to Know Running out of storage space on your Mac? Here are several ways to free up space on Mac and reclaim your drive space! Read More 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 to view the feeds from your computer. For free.

25. WinOnX 2 Pro [Broken Link Removed] ($7.99)


You can pay $8 to run Windows apps on your Mac, or you can download Wine and Winebottler How to Run Windows Programs on Your Mac Using WineBottler Read More 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 Why Do Developers Keep Leaving the Mac App Store? Is the Mac App Store becoming a burden for Mac developers? We decided to talk to a few and find out. Read More , 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 Why You Should Avoid Buying Games From the Mac App Store The Mac App Store doesn't hold a candle to the same store used by iPhone and iPad users to guzzle apps, games and in-app purchases. Read More !

If you accidentally download something that’s terrible, you can get a refund How to Get a Refund from iTunes & Mac or iPhone App Stores Whether you're using an iPhone, an iPad, or a Mac, Apple has a simple, straightforward system to ask for refunds or return items you didn't want. Read More .

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!

Related topics: Buying Tips, Mac App Store.

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  1. monica
    December 19, 2019 at 2:25 am

    very informative, thanks dann! could u update this free list or if u have more to add...?

  2. Mike Chambers
    March 2, 2017 at 6:04 am

    What a disappointing post. It seems that Dan hasn't used half these apps and simply knows about some free alternatives.

    I want to particularly call out GrandPerspective, an app that I have been using for years for free from the authors website. But I just bought it from the Mac App Store for a couple of bucks to show support to the developer.

    As for WinOnX 2 (the reason I found this article), there is a free version available in the Mac App Store so that you can review it for yourself and see if it works for your apps. Wine running on any system is renowned for having issues, but this developer seems to have done a reasonable job packaging it up for OS X users. Dan suggests using Winebottler, I would ask if Dan has ever tired doing that on MacOS Sierra as Winebottler's page does not list support for 10.12.

    This post = click bait. Reader beware!

    • Dann Albright
      March 9, 2017 at 1:56 am

      First of all, it's Dann, with two Ns, as is listed above in the byline.

      Second, no, I haven't used all of these apps, because there are free alternatives that provide the same functionality (or at least close).

      Finally, 2 out of 25 certainly doesn't warrant an "oh my god, click bait!" response. So which other ones do you think are worth the money that's being charged? Which ones are better than the free alternatives listed?

      • franky
        April 3, 2017 at 10:27 am

        Crikey, if you need to resort to remember people that your name has a not-common spelling, you've lost it already.

        GrandPerspective is the most glaring error about this post. Simple as. It's FOSS and has been for years and is still available as such. As an author you should have mentioned that buying it from the app store is supporting open source.

        The multiple chat apps, they indeed are a waste of money. But to many people they aren't, they are a commodity. And people will gladly pay for that. You indeed don't need Flash for Youtube but there's so many Youtube viewers and downloaders which also sit in the menubar. Many people may indeed consider that worth $2.

        Video Converter apps. Same. I'm a geek, I love Handbrake and have been using it since iPad Classic days. But most people wouldn't truly know how to work with Handbrake. Or how to get the best out of Handbrake. For many $6 is worth it, and definitely better a deal for fast conversion rather than the sometimes slow, but super great job, done by Handbrake. Yes, some converter apps are actually smart and sometimes are even faster, while doing a decent job too. I , myself, wouldn't want any of them though. Handbrake FTW.

        I agree with Mike that the title is *fishy*. The article is geared towards a general audience. Yet your reply to Mike is elitist geek.

        Would have been better if you had gone along the lines of '25 Top Ranked Paid Apps and their Free Alternatives'. Now to be honest the article doesn't live up to the title and each entry should have received more in-depth explanation.

  3. jacki
    January 31, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    great information! thank you

  4. Glenn Graham
    November 18, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    I have been ask heaps of times to download..
    5 of these programs. Swapping to a Mac from a HP Laptop, has been very disappointing.
    Heaps of apps I use on my apple iPad are not available for Mac. Which is WRONG.
    I paid money for them and can't use on my laptop. What a load of rubbish.
    Apple sucks. Get your game up guys.
    Won't buy another mac laptop again.

    • Dann Albright
      November 28, 2016 at 2:35 am

      Mac and iPad are two totally different machines, and they're built with different hardware and software. You can't really expect them to offer the exact same apps. Developers have to create the same apps twice if they want them to run on both systems. That's why you have to pay for them twice if using on both platforms. It seems pretty reasonable to me.