How to Re-Download Apps From the Mac App Store

Re-Download or Reinstall Apps Purchased From the Mac App Store

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The Mac App Store makes buying and installing Mac apps a fairly easy process by taking care of all of the heavy lifting involved. The Mac App Store will both download an app to your Mac and start the installation process. It also keeps track of which apps you have purchased, and which of the apps are currently installed on your Mac.

While that's a good thing, it can also be a problem. Sometimes an install goes bad, and you need to re-download the app and install it again. But when you return to the Mac App Store, you may find the app is listed as installed. The option to download or install is grayed out, or the word "Download" has been replaced with the word "Installed."

There are several tricks to get the Mac App Store to reset its flags and let you download an app again. They range from deleting the app and its installer, if they're still present on your Mac, to phoning or dropping an email to Apple support. But the easiest way by far is to use the Mac App Store's built-in method for overriding the status of purchased apps.

How to Force the Mac App Store to Let You Re-Download an App

  • If you hold down the option key and click the Purchased icon at the top of the App Store window, there's a good chance that the status button for the app in question will change from "Downloaded" to "Download," or from "Installed" to "Install." It's not a sure thing because Apple seems to leave it up to the app developer to decide whether or not to support optional downloads.
  • Another method that sometimes works is to option-click the "Installed" or "Downloaded" button. When this works, the download process will start right up.

I have found that with Apple software, at least, particularly the operating system (OS X Lion, and OS X Mountain Lion), the download or install option will appear if you use the option key.

Don't forget that any app you buy from the Mac App Store is licensed to run on any Mac you own or control. So, in addition to re-downloading the app on the original Mac, you can sign into the Mac App Store from any other Mac you own and download the app to run on that computer.

Mac App Store FAQs

  • You can re-download an app over and over again as long as the developer allows the app to remain available. This essentially means that Apple keeps the most recent version of an app available unless a developer asks Apple to remove it from the Mac App Store.
  • If you have technical issues with an app, you should contact the developer first. If the developer can't or won't resolve the issues, you can contact the Mac App Customer Support group.
  • You can use iTunes gift cards to purchase apps from the Mac App Store. Apple Store gift cards can only be used at Apple retail stores.
  • The app installer that is downloaded to your Mac is removed as part of the installation process. This means you can't back up the installer, only the app itself. But you can always re-download the app from the Mac App Store.
    You can install an app that you purchase from the Mac App Store on any Mac you own or control. If you want to install an app on another Mac, use that Mac to log in to the Mac App Store with your Apple ID and download the app. You'll find it listed under the Purchased icon.
  • All apps are downloaded to the /Applications folder.
  • Updates are free, at least for the current major version of an app. Updates are available by clicking the Updates icon at the top of the Mac App Store window. In addition, the Mac App Store icon in the Dock displays the number of your installed apps that currently have updates available.
  • Apps purchased from the Mac App Store don't require activation or registration numbers.