This new Apple App Store feature will make buying apps easier than ever

MacBook Air 2020
(Image credit: Future)

Apple loves to sell the remarkable integration between its devices, however, its laptops and desktops were notably left out of universal App Store purchases. That is, until now. Apple announced a new feature for developers that allows them to finally include macOS apps as part of a universal purchase (via AppleInsider).

This should be great news for developers and customers alike as it reduces the friction of purchasing the same app across multiple platforms. This can even include in-app purchases across iOS, iPad OS and MacOS for the first time.

Apple explained it to developers succinctly in its post regarding the update:

The macOS version of your app can now be included in a universal purchase, allowing customers to enjoy your app and in‑app purchases across iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS by purchasing only once. Get started by using a single bundle ID for your apps in Xcode and setting up your app record for universal purchase in App Store Connect.

Apple Developer Website

The universal app integration notably excludes Mac apps built using Mac Catalyst, which allows developers to more easily port over existing iOS apps; That functionality is coming with Xcode 11.4. Apple is currently on the third beta release for Xcode 11.4, so the final official GM version is expected soon. 

We expressed our excitement at the potential for Mac Catalyst apps in our macOS Catalina review, but these apps haven't proliferated as quickly as we thought they might. This move will hopefully help motivate additional developers to use Mac Catalyst and release their apps across the full range of Apple platforms.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.