Most of the time, you will hear Mac owners say things like, “The Mac just works,” or “My Mac is so much easier to use than a PC.” However, when you sit most Mac users in front of their Mac and ask them to properly download and install apps, they quickly realize that it’s a cumbersome experience. Downloading apps in a web browser on your Mac is nothing like the streamlined experience you get when installing apps on your iPhone.

What problems occur when most Mac users try to install new apps on their Mac?

MacUpdate has sat down with countless individuals doing live demos to see how successful they are at getting new apps installed on their Mac. The findings? Most users can’t figure it out and give up frustrated, never experiencing all of the great things that third party developers bring to the Mac experience with additional software.

Safari is the most popular web browser on the Mac. Most users on browse our site in Safari. However, the process of downloading and installing apps using the Safari web browser has too many barriers for most users to experience App Discovery to its fullest.

When you first initiate a download in Safari, we found that most users don’t even notice the status of their download in Safari. It’s too small in the upper right corner. So they click and download multiple copies of an app, before finally giving up and assuming that it finished its download.


Then they have to figure out where the download went. Most people will spend a couple of minutes navigating around. Many do eventually find their /Downloads folder. But once they get there, what they find looks too geeky because a full list of every type of file they have ever downloaded in their web browser shows up in this folder. So they scan the list of files, looking for a .zip or .dmg file name that most closely matches with the name of the app they wanted to download.

Huge download list

Do you see “Wondershare Dr. Fone for iOS” in the list above? It’s archive is downloaded as “mac-drfone_full1318.dmg.” Most users won’t find this and give up here.

However, if they do find the file they downloaded, they are then asked to mount the .dmg disk image and manually drag the app into their /Applications alias folder. Most users don’t do this. Instead they launch their app from within the mounted .dmg disk. This is bad because then the next time they restart their Mac, the disk image is no longer mounted and they can’t find their app. So they go through the entire process all over again.

Drag to Applications folder

If the user does get past manually dragging the app into the /Applications folder, they still have to navigate inside of that folder and double-click to launch the app. And of course, the user should be deleting the .dmg or .zip file by dragging it into the Trash after unmounting it, otherwise those downloaded archives waste a lot of hard drive space.

It’s safe to say, downloading apps using a web browser on the Mac is a terrible experience. Most Mac users can’t do it properly and never experience the fruit of 3rd party apps not already pre-installed on their Mac.

So what is MacUpdate doing to help make the experience of Installing apps on a Mac better?

MacUpdate is working on testing two different methods to make it easier for users to install apps on their Mac.

1) MacUpdate Desktop is the fastest and most intuitive way for Mac users to install apps on their Mac. Nearly 90% of the apps listed on are compatible with MacUpdate Desktop’s 1-click install and clean-up smarts. Once MacUpdate Desktop is downloaded to your Mac, instead of clicking the “Download” links on the site, you should click the “Install” links.

MacUpdate Desktop install link

Once you click “Install,” MacUpdate Desktop’s menu item will appear, showing you the status of your app’s installation process.

MacUpdate Desktop menu item

Not only does MacUpdate Desktop download the app, it properly installs it where it needs to go and saves hard disk space on your Mac by automatically cleaning up the space wasting .zip and .dmg archives. To launch the app, simply click the “Open” button. We have brought same familiar experience you are used to on your iPhone and brought it to your Mac.

Pro user tip: Use the search field within MacUpdate Desktop to search for a title. Then click “Install.” This is the fastest possible way for any Mac user to find and get a Mac app installed on their Mac. Nothing else compares. :)

MacUpdate Desktop is the easiest and most efficient way to properly install apps on your Mac. Download MacUpdate Desktop now.

2) MacUpdate Installer – The installer industry has been around for a long time. All of the major download sites have switched over to using them already (we think we can do it better than them). Many installers try to do two things: (1) make it easier for most people to install an app properly and with ease, and (2) utilize the installation process to offer another app offer that users may be interested in.

The Installer experience is similar to a manual download and install in the beginning because it requires you to download the Installer’s .dmg disk image using your web browser — just like a manual download process works. But once you’ve downloaded the Installer, the rest of the process becomes easier.

MacUpdate Installer icon

Simply mount the Installer’s .dmg in the /Downloads folder and double-click the Installer to launch. Click “skip” if you don’t want to look at another app offer or accept if you want to Install the offer. The Installer then handles the rest of the process for you by installing the app in its proper location and launching it afterward.

How is this better than the manual install process? It eliminates issues with manually copying apps to the /Applications folder alias through an alias in a .dmg. It also streamlines finding and launching the app afterward.

Right now we’re in very early testing stages with this type of Installer technology. The majority of the 40,000 apps on MacUpdate currently do not have this technology integrated. The MacUpdate team is taking time to learn about Installer technology, what’s good about it, what’s bad and how we might be able to help improve it. We realize Installers like this aren’t perfect and it’s going to take time to make them better but we think they are a step in the right direction. They do result in helping more Mac users successfully get apps installed.

We hope we can help contribute to making this Installer better and better over time. Two areas we think we can learn more and bring value are: (1) helping to bring app offerings during the install process more relevant to the user, (2) helping to enhance the user experience during the process of app discovery and completing the installation of Mac apps. As we learn from our users, the data we collect and the tests we execute, we hope to make this type of Installer approach better for everyone.

As always, paid MacUpdate Members can turn off advertising and installers on their Member Preferences page so they are always in complete control.