New to Mac? Learn the basics of the Mac App Store

Mac App Store Discover on Mac

If you’re completely new to Mac, one of the apps you need to become familiar with is the Mac App Store. This is where you can download apps, manage your account, and redeem gift cards.

The App Store on Mac works basically the same way as it does on iOS. But if your Mac is the first device you own in the Apple world of products, then you’re newer than new to the App Store.

We’ll show you the basics of the App Store on your Mac. From downloading apps to updating them to managing your account, here’s everything you need to know.

Basics of the Mac App Store

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover for you, so you can skip to a certain spot if you need help with something in particular.

When you first open the App Store on your Mac, you’ll see some handy navigation on the left. With categories like Discover, Arcade, Create, Work, Play, and Develop, you can jump to one of those topics for corresponding apps.

The Categories option will show you all of the App Store categories from Business to Utilities to Weather. This gives you a great way to browse the store if you know the type of app you want. And of course, you can enter a term in the search box if there is a particular app you’re after.

App Store Discover on Mac

You can also navigate the App Store using your menu bar. With the App Store open, you can click Store in the menu bar to jump to a section.

Apps on the App Store

When you click to view an app on the App Store, you’ll get a wealth of information about it. You can see the description, ratings and reviews, version history, age rating, languages, and more.

An app that has a price listed is obviously a paid app. If you decide to purchase a paid app, you’ll confirm your purchase by entering the Apple ID and password associated with your account. The payment method you have set up for your account will be charged that fee.

An app that has Get instead of a price is a free app. Many free apps offer in-app purchases and you’ll see this upfront. To view details about an app’s in-app purchases, scroll down to Information on the app details page and then expand the In-App Purchases option. You’ll then see any one-time or subscriptions available for the app.

App Store Apps on Mac

An app that has a cloud/arrow icon is an app that you have downloaded before (and uninstalled) or to another device. You can click that button to redownload an app.

Update your apps

When an app has an update, you can find out easily by checking the Updates area of the App Store. Then, click the Update button to download the newest version.

You can also adjust your settings so that you receive updates automatically. Open the App Store and click App Store > Preferences from the menu bar. Then check the box for Automatic Updates. This way, you don’t have to worry about checking for them yourself.

Automatic App Updates Mac App Store

Other App Store preferences

If you open those App Store Preferences to receive automatic updates, you’ll notice a few other settings you can enable if you like.

If you want to automatically download apps purchased on other Mac, have videos on the App Store play automatically, or participate in ratings and reviews, you can mark those checkboxes.

Preferences Mac App Store

View your account

To access your account, you can either click your name on the bottom left of the App Store window or click Store > View My Account from the menu bar. Then click View My Information at the top of the window and sign in.

View Information Mac App Store

You’ll then see all the details for your account from the summary at the top to your nickname and subscriptions at the bottom. Note that some options will not display if they don’t apply. For example, you won’t see Subscriptions if you don’t have any.

Account Information Mac App Store

Anything that you can manage or edit will have a link to the right like payment information, your billing address, and account access.

Redeem a gift card

If you receive a gift card for the App Store, you can redeem it towards app purchases as well. Access your account information once more and next to View My Information, click Redeem Gift Card and sign in if prompted.

You can then use the camera on your Mac or enter the code from your gift card manually.

Redeem Gift Card Mac App Store

Once you redeem a gift card, those funds will display in your account. When you make an App Store purchase, you can use those funds instead of the payment method you have set up.

Wrapping it up

These basics of using the Mac App Store become second nature after you use it for a while. And to improve your experience on your new Mac, take a look through the App Store for some apps and games that you’ll enjoy. There are apps let you work more productivity, entertain you, or make Mac life easier.

Do you have any questions about the App Store as a new Mac user? If so, feel free to comment below or hit us up on Twitter.