How to take charge of Apple's Mac App Store

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how to take charge of apples mac app store
Wiennat Mongkulmann

While you wait for iOS 8.2 later today, I thought you may enjoy these seven Mac App Store secrets.


Quickly navigate between Mac App Store windows using ⌘1—⌘5 to swiftly switch between Featured, Top Charts, Categories and so forth.

Pause and unpause

The simplest way to pause a downloading app: Right-click on the app icon in the Dock, and select “Pause”.

To resume a paused download: As above and select “Unpause”.

Cancel downloads

To cancel a download: Open the Purchases menu in the App Store and select the app download you which to cancel while holding down the Option key. The “Pause” button becomes a “Cancel” button, select this and invoke the “Cancel Download” command in the next dialog and the download will be cancelled, though you can still download it  at a later point.

Suggest an app

“So, in the Apple Menu item select App Store…”

“You mean hit return?”

“No, just highlight it with your cursor and click..”

“What’s a cursor?”

“Your mouse”

“I’m holding my mouse near the Apple Menu but nothing happens..”

If you fear tech support conversations like that one (and I have had that conversation), then you need to minimize the complexity of what you share with those you try to help. The simplest way to share an app is to simply send them a link to the app in an email they can see is from you. To get that link, just open the relevant app page in the App Store and select and hold the “Get” or “Buy App” button. In the next sub-menu choose Copy Link and then past it into an email to the person you’re helping.

Keep it simple

One thing Apple’s systems seems fairly unforgiving about is when you have two Apple IDs active on one device – so you might be logged into iTunes with one ID and the Mac App Store in another. When this takes place you often encounter download and sync errors. If you encounter such flaky behaviour please check:

That you are logged in using the same ID in both iTunes and the App Store If not, then quit both stores. Then relaunch the store you are trying to make a purchase from.

NB: In some cases, one Apple ID can be accessed using multiple email addresses. This is a particular problem for long-standing Mac users who may hold .Mac, iCloud and email addresses, any one of which remains associated with their account. My advice? Log out of your account on all your Macs and devices and then log in again, ensuring you use one consistent email address each when you do.

Open what?

If you don’t have the right app to open any given file type, this simple trick has you covered – even if you don’t know the format of the file you’re dealing with. All you need to do is:

Find the file you’re trying to open – it might be in your Downloads folder, for example.

Right-click (the mighty Option button) on the file and choose the “Open With” command

In the sub-menu that appears choose “App Store…”

Now you get to watch the Mac App Store open automatically in order to search for apps that can read and open the problem file type (if available).

One more thing

When you ask the App Store to find an app capable of handling a specific file type, you’ll see the relevant search string appear in the Search bar of the App Store, for example:



You can use Uniform Type Identifiers (UTI) strings to search for apps to handle different types of data, though there’s no guarantee a suitable solutions will be available.

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