Hey Apple, I Liked Browsing for iPhone Apps on My Mac

1 minute read
| Editorial

I’ve got a quick message for Apple: I like(d) browsing for iOS apps on my Mac. That’s now a past-tense sentiment, because Apple removed the App Store from iTunes with the release of iTunes 12.7 on Tuesday.

The new iTunes focuses on music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks. Apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are now exclusively available in the new App Store for iOS. And the new App Store makes it easy to get, update, and redownload apps—all without a Mac or PC.

WTF Apple?

iTunes FAIL

Now with Less!

I mean, yeah, that’s great and stuff. The App Store on iOS is now awesomer. It’s got a new look and feel and all these new features that improve discovery and makes everything MOAR BETTER.

Except I like shopping for my freaking apps using a proper keyboard on a big screen! I like being able to quickly grab app URLs and pasting them into a browser on my Mac!

Making the App Store usable without a Mac is fine and good, but that doesn’t mean you should take away the option to do this stuff on a Mac, too. I mean, seriously. If you want to take apps out of iTunes, give me an iOS App Store on my Mac, too.

iTunes Bloat

In some ways, Apple is in a no-win situation here. People have been complaining about iTunes bloat for years, and I get trying to streamline iTunes. I even get wanting to refocus that piece of software on media—the tunes part of iTunes.

But taking away the ability to browse iOS apps on Macs and PCs is a step backward for users. And for a company with all the money in the world, those backward steps are annoying as @&#%!

App Store App

Give us a standalone App Store app for Mac and PC, or make the Mac App Store app serve both operating systems, and a standalone App Store for PC. It’s that simple.

23 Comments Add a comment

  1. Scott B in DC

    I updated and didn’t check if there were issues before hand.

    This stinks! I liked the idea of managing my apps from my Mac.

    What happens for “abandoned” apps that are no longer in the App Store but I still use them?




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  2. Rick Allen

    Hi

    This is a great hurt for app developers and discovery. I get lots of links and recommendations from people for apps. I used to do a lot of browsing and buying on my Mac and then just let it download to my devices. Also how do you promote and share knowledge about an app when it is so much harder to share a link from a Mac? Do you email yourself the link from the iOS app store or what? How are sites like Touch Arcade and other iOS app review sites supposed to function? Think this was an overall negative thing as there are lots of repercussions. The least of which is what about apps that you can’t re-download from the App store?

    The job of an iOS app story writer and reviewer just got a whole lot harder. I have had the iOS 11 developer beta installed for a while on my iPad pro and it is a great makeover. Why not a version of the same store for the Mac. Giving your customers less ways to browse and buy your product seems like a dumbass move to me.

    –Rick–




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    • Jeff Butts

      How are sites like Touch Arcade and other iOS app review sites supposed to function?

      I write for one such site, and it may have a sizable impact on us. We have a system in place that ties directly into the iOS App Store and allows us to generate links that (should) access the iOS App Store, but now that’s really only going to be beneficial to our mobile readers. Those who access the links from a PC or Mac will have to search manually for the app.

      Big mistake, in my opinion. Huge mistake.




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      • Rick Allen

        Also no referral link commission so you have a huge impact to your business model.

        Sorry for you Jeff




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      • Lee Dronick

        I wonder how much of a financial hit app developers will take because shopping had gotten more difficult.

        Maybe Apple made this move because they think less and less people are using a Mac and are exclusively on iOS. App shopping on my iPad is easier than when using an iPhone.

        An iOS App Store app on the Mac, or a website, would help ease the pain. I could browse the apps, read and leave reviews, make a purchase, but use the iOS device to download.




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    • benji888578

      I understand where you’re coming from, I prefer to browse on my Mac for new stuff for all my devices.

      Also, I usually only write reviews via my Mac/iTunes, not on my iOS device. I probably never would from ATV, have to dig in to get to that.




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    • domsin

      Hey Lee,
      Please tell us how to send them feedback! I don’t see a “suggestion box” on the Apple Forums site. How do we tell them that we’re really upset about this stupid change!




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  3. anoylla

    Hey Apple,

    on MacOS sierra, in the new iTunes version 12.7.0.166, there is not anymore the applications section for the iPhone. Now, how in the earth can I find an app within millions of apps? By scrolling down on my iPhone? Is that logical?

    In most countries, users have limited internet bandwidth on their iPhones, and this scrolling down and searching for an app (on the iPhone) is bandwidth consuming and valuable time consuming.

    E.g. I was trying to find the app “Countdown” on my iPhone and it took me 10 minutes of scrolling down in order to locate the app that I was looking for as they are numerous ‘countdown’ applications. Is this what I’m going to go through every time that I am looking for an app?

    Also, do you really want for your customers to go through these millions of apps via a 3,5 inches screen? Really?

    And lastly, what was this update and removal? A surprise?
    For big changes like this you should have kept us informed. Maybe you should have asked us also for any feedback as we are buying all these apps.

    Anyway, you could have found a solution before this removal. Maybe a nice iOS App Store application for MacOS?




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    • makeitup

      Apple:
      1. The new App Store is designed to help you find apps. If you can’t find it, you must be stupid.
      2. You should already know what you want. We do.
      3. The App Store is fine. Doesn’t need fixing.

      We’re so glad you love our products.




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  4. Mike Weasner

    I suspect we can hope for iOS app integration with the Mac App Store program. Maybe that will be a surprise in High Sierra. Or maybe Apple just wants to mess with its dedicated users. Having all the money in the world doesn’t make them smart all the time.




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  5. John Kheit

    Amen. Apple has become a demented genie where you wish for something, and they fulfill it in the most negative way possible. Yes, iTunes is a bloated mess. The solution to that is not to DELETE MY DATA. Break the app up. There is an iTunes Store app on the iPhone and iPad, why not the mac? Still let me manage my apps that are now no longer available on the store. Stop destroying my data!!!

    Do some real work! Solve real problems in a competent and professional manner. Not the total S***show of management that Apple has been under for the last 4 years.




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  6. Lee Dronick

    Solve real problems in a competent and professional manner.

    It is because they don’t tuck in their shirts! The only one who didn’t look like a slob at the Keynote Address was Craig Federighi.




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  7. benji888578

    I agree iTunes has a lot of bloat, but, they took iBooks out into it’s own app, why not make a separate app for iOS syncing? OR, even better, move iTunes syncing to the Mac App Store, then you could see more easily what apps are available on multiple platforms. Either way, then they could PLEASE give the iTunes UI a major overhaul, especially for movies and tv shows.

    I have 3 iOS devices and slow internet, prefer to download once, then sync my devices via my Mac. I also prefer to use my Mac for browsing iOS apps, as you do, Bryan.

    The major problem, though, is when you buy a new iOS device, or have to wipe an iOS device, and doing a restore, it will have to use the internet for all the apps instead of transferring from the Mac.

    ARG!




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  8. jackadoodle

    When I saw this, I THOUGHT I used the festure. And I know years ago I once did. But I think it has now been years since I bought an app for my phone via desktop.




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  9. dndgirl

    I could not agree more. I sync and update my apps every single evening. Also, this time iTunes decided to update itself without even letting me know until after the fact. I have never used automatic update for my Mac so I was caught by surprise. Fortunately a very kind person in a Mac group provided instructions for me to get back the previous version from Time Machine.

    I just don’t know what Apple was thinking!




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  10. wab95

    Except I like shopping for my freaking apps using a proper keyboard on a big screen! I like being able to quickly grab app URLs and pasting them into a browser on my Mac!

    Making the App Store usable without a Mac is fine and good, but that doesn’t mean you should take away the option to do this stuff on a Mac, too. I mean, seriously. If you want to take apps out of iTunes, give me an iOS App Store on my Mac, too.

    Bryan, I’m not going to point out that this is a seriously First World concern. Nope. Not doing it.

    In some ways, Apple is in a no-win situation here. People have been complaining about iTunes bloat for years, and I get trying to streamline iTunes. I even get wanting to refocus that piece of software on media—the tunes part of iTunes.

    Let’s see now, for quite awhile, there’s been running commentary going something like, ‘Apple needs to take a wood chipper to iTunes’ and ‘It started out a music player’ and ‘It makes no sense to have the bookstore, apps and movies in an app called iTunes!’. I’m just trying to remember where I’ve seen those comments. Oh! I remember!! So, Apple take all this onboard and, tadaaah! Except, except…no? They excised the wrong organ? I think were you poll Apple clients as to which pieces of the…what was it…’Frankentstein’ software to lop off, or simply redesign it, you’d get different preferences for inclusion/exclusion. Not unlike the commentary over the past few years.

    I’m inclined to agree with the argument that now might be a great time to unify the App Store with selection by OS. Not unlike hand-off, in which you can browse and purchase in your Mac and open up in iOS or even tvOS, and vice versa. Perhaps some of this will be addressed, particularly if there’s continued vocal input from the community, notably developers.

    As for @anoylla’s point, organising apps in to folders and pages is from your Mac is a separate issue, which a unified App Store will not solve.




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  11. PSMacintosh

    I’m an Apple user since 1979….and former fan.
    I’m so SICK of Apple “knowing what’s best for us” and being so wrong so many times. (And, of course, never asking us beforehand, nor afterwards. No feedback mechanism.)

    I own a nice iMac (a paid Apple product).
    It is my right to be able to use it as much as possible and whenever I want.
    It has a big screen, a regular keyboard, and fast/cheap wired ethernet.
    Apple is now diminishing my use and value of my iMac.

    I own an iPhone (a paid Apple product).
    I HATE my iPhone and iOS. I want to use it as little as possible. (That is my right and choice.) I usually wait until I get home (to the iMac) to do as many computing tasks as possible, rather than suffer to do them on the iPhone.
    (The only thing I prefer to do on iPhone is make/take phone calls, but I like the option to do so on the iMac now–finally.)
    FORCING me to do things on the iPhone and PREVENTING me from doing things on the iMac, makes me MAD! It is infuriating!

    Over the last 15 years, I have seen Apple’s OS and software go from good to terrible, from smart to asinine, from open and powerful to closed and broken, year after year.
    Last Fall, I SOLD OFF ALL OF MY APPLE STOCK (even knowing that it would still do well as an investment) because I wanted to be out of Apple upon principal (even if it hurts my pocketbook).
    I DO NOT WANT TO BE A PART OF A COMPANY that “puts its pants on backwards” and FORCES me to do so also!!!

    Wouldn’t it be nice to know the NAME of the person responsible for this decision–to only be able to buy and manage apps from the iPhone–so that there could be some real accountability.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to have some actual ACCESS and VOICE into Apple.
    Can you hear me now!?! (No, because you don’t want to.)




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  12. MTWalker

    These comments extend those by benji888578.

    The latest iTunes, v12.7, recognizes an iOS device attached to computer by USB cable; however new iTunes’ only remnants of app-support is the ability to manage the installed version of iOS. (My only attempt to update iOS via WiFi was a botch — the fault was a defect in Apple’s checks for a correct download with adequate storage for installing the update. AppleCare support during six months never managed to restore that iPad to its prior state.)

    a) I have a 2GB app (Beethoven’s 9th) installed on iPodTouch for listening and iPad for reading commentary while listening; Apple’s half-baked scheme for iTunes 12.7 would require two very loo…oong downloads via WiFi. (I have more than 60 other iOS apps whose binary file exceeds 1.0GB.)

    b) The only app I’ve found which plays Mahjong correctly using international rules is not in the US app-store
    Standard Competitive Mahjong
    http://appshopper.com/games/standard-competitive-mahjong-hd
    hence I can not download it from Apple’s app-store using any device.

    c) ¿ What will replace the old iTunes interface to read or write reviews of an app?

    The following procedure seems (!!?!) to have restored my ability to manage iOS apps using iTunes but I suspect this will break with the pending update of Mac OS.

    I removed iTunes 12.7 with two commands using Terminal
    cd /Applications
    sudo rm -rf iTunes.app

    downloaded the iTunes 12.6.2 installer from
    https://support.apple.com/en_US/downloads/itunes

    after installing iTunes 12.6.2 and getting a message about one database file being incompatible, used TimeMachine to restore a previous version
    ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library.itl




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