Discussion:
Mac App Store paid upgrades and app settings
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Martin Wierschin
2018-08-13 16:17:09 UTC
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Hello All,

I have a question about releasing a major update and new version of an app that's already on the Mac App Store (MAS). The new version is to be a paid upgrade, which I know the MAS doesn't really support.

Other developers use the strategy of releasing a separate app with a new name, eg: if the existing app is called "Foo Bar" then "Foo Bar 2" is a brand new app listing on the MAS. That way users must pay full price to buy the app again, and effectively pay for the upgrade. So far so good.

To be a new app listing on the MAS, the new app needs a new bundle identifier, correct? So if the original Foo Bar had an identifier like com.mycompany.foobar, then Foo Bar 2 would use something like com.mycompany.foobar2. The problem is then that sandboxing will prevent Foo Bar 2 from accessing setting and user data from the original Foo Bar. That's not a great experience for existing users.

Is there any to obtain access to prior app settings? I know when an app is originally sandboxed you can do a container migration, but that doesn't appear to apply here. I could ask users to manually choose the old app's container in an open folder dialog, to obtain access, but that seems like a kludge. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Thanks for any advice or ideas!

~Martin Wierschin

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Richard Charles
2018-08-13 20:08:53 UTC
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Post by Martin Wierschin
The new version is to be a paid upgrade, which I know the MAS doesn't really support.
It has been reported that Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Lightroom are coming to the new Mac App Store. Those apps surely are not single time payment apps. So does this mean that the new Mac App Store will allow for upgrade payments or recurring payments? Perhaps Apple, Microsoft and Adobe know the answer to that question but are not telling anyone.

--Richard Charles

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Martin Wierschin
2018-08-13 20:40:35 UTC
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Post by Richard Charles
So does this mean that the new Mac App Store will allow for upgrade payments or recurring payments?
You never know. It’s always possible there are MAS enhancements coming to help facilitate paid updates. Or maybe more permissible guidelines from Apple regarding subscriptions. But I won’t be holding my breath.

There’s probably ugly workarounds you can do using in-app purchases, to transform a purchased app into a new version via an IAP, but that would be quite contrived and burdensome to implement. Developers are already using IAPs for similar purposes, like free limited-time demos, but that's also not exactly what I’d call a perfect solution for these kinds of needs.

Well, I was hoping I had missed some nice automatic way to import a sandbox container from a prior version of my app, but I suppose there isn’t. I’ll probably just have to bother the user with an alert and folder selection dialog.

~Martin Wierschin
Post by Richard Charles
Post by Martin Wierschin
The new version is to be a paid upgrade, which I know the MAS doesn't really support.
It has been reported that Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Lightroom are coming to the new Mac App Store. Those apps surely are not single time payment apps. So does this mean that the new Mac App Store will allow for upgrade payments or recurring payments? Perhaps Apple, Microsoft and Adobe know the answer to that question but are not telling anyone.
--Richard Charles
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This
Saagar Jha
2018-08-13 21:04:44 UTC
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Saagar Jha
Post by Martin Wierschin
Post by Richard Charles
So does this mean that the new Mac App Store will allow for upgrade payments or recurring payments?
You never know. It’s always possible there are MAS enhancements coming to help facilitate paid updates. Or maybe more permissible guidelines from Apple regarding subscriptions. But I won’t be holding my breath.
There’s probably ugly workarounds you can do using in-app purchases, to transform a purchased app into a new version via an IAP, but that would be quite contrived and burdensome to implement. Developers are already using IAPs for similar purposes, like free limited-time demos, but that's also not exactly what I’d call a perfect solution for these kinds of needs.
Well, I was hoping I had missed some nice automatic way to import a sandbox container from a prior version of my app, but I suppose there isn’t. I’ll probably just have to bother the user with an alert and folder selection dialog.
Perhaps you could put both apps in an app group, so they get access to the same sandbox container?
Post by Martin Wierschin
~Martin Wierschin
Post by Richard Charles
Post by Martin Wierschin
The new version is to be a paid upgrade, which I know the MAS doesn't really support.
It has been reported that Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Lightroom are coming to the new Mac App Store. Those apps surely are not single time payment apps. So does this mean that the new Mac App Store will allow for upgrade payments or recurring payments? Perhaps Apple, Microsoft and Adobe know the answer to that question but are not telling anyone.
--Richard Charles
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Martin Wierschin
2018-08-13 21:28:34 UTC
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Post by Saagar Jha
Perhaps you could put both apps in an app group, so they get access to the same sandbox container?
Ah yes, I had forgotten about app groups. Thanks Saagar! That’s probably the very best solution. In fact, my app already belongs to a group via the entitlements key "com.apple.security.application-groups", which I initially configured ages ago but never used.

So, it looks like the old version of the app will need to be updated to write pertinent settings to the shared group container returned by containerURLForSecurityApplicationGroupIdentifier. Once the data is in place the new app version can autodetect this and import the data as needed.

Many thanks!

~Martin Wierschin

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Roland King
2018-08-13 21:02:12 UTC
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Post by Richard Charles
It has been reported that Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Lightroom are coming to the new Mac App Store. Those apps surely are not single time payment apps. So does this mean that the new Mac App Store will allow for upgrade payments or recurring payments? Perhaps Apple, Microsoft and Adobe know the answer to that question but are not telling anyone.
I’m 99% sure both those apps will be monthly subscriptions, just as Lightroom is on iOS (you can subscribe to the mobile app through the iOS app store or get an Adobe subscription for their creative cloud apps and that unlocks mobile). Adobe moved to a monthly payment model a while ago and Microsoft has been pushing that as much as they can too. So I don’t think the upgrade issue is going to be relevant in either of those cases.
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