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In the past decade, one of the most significant business model changes seen at the enterprise and retail levels has been the shift from one-time purchase to subscription model (also called software as a service). Think about the numerous updates which occur after a product initially launches and how changes, big and small, often only come when you purchase the latest software version.
In the world of mobile computing, the frequent updates to macOS and iOS have developers constantly maintaining their apps in addition to growing their features for attractive offerings. Enter Setapp, the popular all-you-can-eat service for the best productivity apps offered at one low monthly price.
Instead of purchasing a costly new version of software at each release, you can opt for a recurring monthly charge to maintain your latest and greatest apps.
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What is Setapp and How Does it Work?
In a nutshell, a Setapp membership offers unlimited access to a marketplace of over 170 Mac apps in exchange for a low monthly (or annual) price.
Many have compared Setapp to Spotify as well as called it the Netflix of Mac apps. It was created by MacPaw, the Ukraine-based independent Mac development company that came out with the popular Mac optimization software CleanMyMac X.
They arranged licensing deals where app developers receive royalties based on how many people download and use their apps. In exchange for a monthly subscription fee, Setapp allows you unlimited access to the latest versions of over 170 Mac apps.
Setapp has received praise from TechCrunch, CNBC, AppleInsider, and more for its features and price point.
How Much Does a Setapp Membership Cost?
Numerous pricing options exist for Setapp, depending on your needs.
The individual monthly subscription plan costs $9.99 and allows you to use Setapp on two Macs. At this price, even if you only use a few of the most popular apps, you have already saved money.
Alternatively, you can get a one-year plan that comes out to $8.99 per month. Students get a 50% discount.
If you require more than two Mac devices to have access, Setapp also offers a Family Plan at $19.99 per month. This includes three additional devices (five total).
No need to download every app. You can pick and choose the ones that interest you most. Without needing a credit card, individuals can try a 7-day free trial and businesses can test it for 30 days.
Setapp highlights apps recommended for you, new arrivals, and apps that have recently been updated. If you see an app that looks interesting, you can install it right away, favorite it for later, or click in to read more about it.
Now that you know the basics, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Setapp.
The Pros & Cons of Setapp
Setapp is simple to set up and use. Once installed, you simply search for apps you know you want to download or look through categories you’re interested in to find apps. In addition to the option for searching through all apps, Setapp categories include:
- Developer Tools
- Mac Hacks
- Writing & Blogging
- Task Management
- Personal Finance
Another benefit of Setapp is that it includes many popular apps – not just obscure ones.
For example, it includes the app Ulysses, an easy-to-use writing app that costs $4.99 a month by itself if you don’t use Setapp. Setapp is also a great way to discover apps you didn’t realize you wanted. It’s risk-free as they cost you nothing and can be deleted if you don’t like them.
Setapp continues to add new apps to its listings as well as always have the latest versions available at no additional charge to you. Finally, Setapp never charges any hidden or extra fees for its service. Everything really is included in the $9.99 monthly price and you don’t have to worry about more charges showing up on your bill.
Honestly, if you’re utilizing the app, there are no discernable cons. However, Setapp isn’t worth the money for everyone.
In the event you only have a subscription but use one or two cheap apps, you’re better buying them individually or purchasing subscriptions directly through them. But if you use several apps, or one or two of the more expensive ones, a Setapp subscription more than pays for itself.
As a simple exercise before proceeding with the 7-day trial, one way to assess whether Setapp seems worth it from a monetary perspective would be to check the individual prices of all the Mac applications you would want to use. If the combined subscriptions amount to something lower than $9.99 a month, skip Setapp. If higher, buy it. This is a simple cost/benefit analysis.
The rational decision becomes a bit trickier when apps have a one-time payment model. In this situation, analyze:
- if you will use the app(s) long-term or short-term
- whether you think the app will continue to receive support, and
- new versions come included in the price
My Personal Experience with Setapp
Setapp was recommended to me by a friend (who also suggested several apps I should download right away). As a remote freelancer, these apps benefit me not just for fun, but professionally.
For example, I use Boom3D: Volume Booster and EQ, an audio enhancement app, that enriches the music I listen to while I work. For me, I must block outside noise distractions and this app does that well without requiring expensive headphones. If I didn’t use it through SetApp, it would cost $39.99.
Another app I love is World Clock Pro. I find it extremely visually pleasing and useful both for work and socially.
I enter the cities I want to follow and it marks them on a world map by showing the current time in each location. I travel often and when I’m not in my usual time zone, it can be tricky to calculate what time it is elsewhere. World Clock Pro makes it easy for me to know what time it is for international clients, friends across the world, or family back home when I’m traveling.
Another app I use on the Setapp platform is Spotless, an app which organizes the endless documents that keep cluttering up my desktop.
A few other favorite apps in my Setapp collection include:
While I’m a freelancer, I could see how Setapp would be valuable for startups and other businesses as well. Setapp could be a great way to ensure all team members always have access to the tools they need at a reasonable price.
Setapp for Teams has an option for teams to get a bulk license to resources on all their Mac devices to avoid paying pricy one-off license fees. As previously mentioned, businesses get a full month free trial. In my opinion, this amount of time is plenty to determine how necessary or valuable the available apps are for a team.
Best Setapp Apps for Remote Workers
Whether you’re 100% remote, partially remote, or want to be prepared for remote work if future situations require it, there are several useful applications Setapp provides for remote workers. Some of the best productivity apps for working from home to keep in your remote work toolkit include:
- One of these is Unibox, a Mac mail app. This email client app has a simple design and arranges your contact list by the last email’s date, allowing you to see each contact only once to help avoid confusion.
- For remote teams, the Shimo app allows you to access your office’s internet network remotely. It can handle several connections at the same time.
- Jump Desktop lets you instantly access your home or office computer and work with the files stored there. You can easily send or receive files and you can use it as a virtual network computing (VNC) client to watch all your remote computers.
- If you desire an extra layer of protection, the Setapp also has Screens available. This app has a “curtain mode” that allows you to hide a remote desktop.
- Have a boss that won’t let you work remotely because of in-person brainstorming sessions? I recommend iThoughtsX from Setapp. iThoughts is a mind mapping app that organizes your ideas and displays them visually. You can look at the big picture as well as attach detailed notes to each point on the map. It lasts longer than ideas on a whiteboard and can be added to from anywhere.
While I haven’t used any of the work from home productivity tools in this section, I can definitely see how useful they would be for anyone who isn’t fully remote, but trying to make that transition. These will become invaluable remote working software options for an affordable price.
Finance Apps Available on Setapp
Since this review is on a finance website, I would be remiss not to mention the best financial apps available on Setapp. Current apps shown in the personal finance section include:
- Chronicle – Chronicle helps you track and pay bills. It keeps all of your bills and payment schedules in one place and assists you in planning your budget.
- GigEconomy – GigEconomy was designed for freelancers to help them log their time and send out invoices.
- Home Inventory – Home Inventory helps you categorize and manage everything in your home inventory, such as collections.
- MoneyWiz – MoneyWiz organizes your bills, allows you to track everything from rent to groceries, and syncs across all of your devices.
- Moonitor – Mooniter is a cryptocurrency app that provides real-time details about hundreds of crypto markets. You choose which cryptocurrencies you want to follow and Mooniter can assist you in deciding the best times to buy or sell.
- Receipts – The Receipts app collects all of your digital receipts and helps you organize by category or date.
- UctoX – UctoX is an invoicing app that allows you to create custom invoice templates, track daily expenses, and handle bank statements. Perfect for complementing a budget created in Excel.
If finance apps you use on Setapp end up saving or making you more money than you spend on it, it’s worth the cost.
Is Setapp Safe?
To ensure users have a secure experience using apps on the Setapp platform, the company chooses only to work with proven and honorable developers, who create apps of exceptional quality and value.
In order for a developer to offer their app through Setapp, they must submit it to Setapp’s Review Team where they run a number of tests on app quality, privacy and security. If Setapp’s Review Team feels the app would act as a good fit for its criteria, the company elects to approve the app and make it available to you without limitations.
Much like Apple’s App Store, each app goes through a screening process before gaining access to Setapp’s ecosystem. As a result, you need not worry about concerns related to safety or privacy.
Is Setapp Worth It?
Setapp offers a multitude of productivity, remote work, and work from home online apps at affordable price points, depending on your needs Further, it provides an always-up to date set of apps, eliminating the need to buy new versions at each release.
Setapp offers a 7 or 30-day free trial for individuals and businesses, respectively. You have the option of paying $9.99 per month on a monthly plan or $107.88 (effective rate of $8.99 per month) on an annual individual plan. The same Family Plan (5 users) costs $19.99 per month or $239.88 (effective rate of $19.99 per month) on a Family annual plan. Sales taxes may apply depending on your location.
Based on your use of the platform’s apps and how many you utilize, the Setapp membership may serve as a more cost-effective investment than purchasing each app individually.
The only con is one associated with any subscription service: if you discontinue using the service or receiving significant value, the charges continue to accrue. As a result, if you purchase a membership, please be sure to do a periodic assessment to identify whether you still receive more value from the service than you would purchasing the apps individually.
Final Assessment of Pros, Cons and Cost of Setapp
- Pros: 170 (and growing) assortment of productivity, work from home, remote work online apps to build your remote working toolkit during any situation or working circumstance. Offers numerous productivity and financial apps, the latter of which can be useful for tracking and uploading receipts (useful when pairing with the best tax software).
- Cons: On-going subscription model, could result in payments continuing beyond use of the service
- Cost: Free trial for 7 or 30 days for individuals and businesses, respectively, then $9.99 per month or $107.88 upfront for an annual subscription ($8.99 / month); Family Plan costs $19.99 per month or $239.88 per year (no discount for annual Family Plan)
About the Site Author and Blog
In 2018, I was winding down a stint in investor relations and found myself newly equipped with a CPA, added insight on how investors behave in markets, and a load of free time. My job routinely required extended work hours, complex assignments, and tight deadlines. Seeking to maintain my momentum, I wanted to chase something ambitious.
I chose to start this financial independence blog as my next step, recognizing both the challenge and opportunity. I launched the site with encouragement from my wife as a means to lay out our financial independence journey and connect with and help others who share the same goal.
I have not been compensated by any of the companies listed in this post at the time of this writing. Any recommendations made by me are my own. Should you choose to act on them, please see my the disclaimer on my About Young and the Invested page.