Universal apps: What apps run where?

Some apps on the iPhone and iPad App Store are “universal”.
This means if you download an app on the iPhone and then download that same app on your iPad it won’t cost you anything extra, but it will still be made to fit your iPad. You can tell which apps are universal bylooking at the price button in the App Store.
If it has that little “+” on the upper left corner of the button it’s designed for both devices.

You're looking for the "+" symbol in the upper left

A question I often get is, “Can I download an app I bought in the App Store for free on the Mac App Store too?”

The answer is no. Here’s why.

Apps in the App Store are made only for iPhone and/or iPad. Apps in the Mac App Store are made only for the Mac. They are meant to be used with a mouse while iPhone apps are made for a finger. They therefore have to be laid out differently and are interacted with differently. They are, at their base, different apps.

But Angry Bird is on both App Stores!

I know. It’s a totally different app at a foundational level, however. The iPhone/iPad versions were made for finger input, while the Mac versions were made for mouse input. This means they must have totally different layouts and totally rethought ways of functioning for this to be a really great tablet experience.

The most common example is Apple’s iWork suite. These are the best tools of their kind on the iPad, and set a high standard on the Mac: Pages (Word on Steroids), Numbers (Excel made easy & pretty), and Keynote (PowerPoint on steroids that won’t make your presentation look like a gaudy 90’s slideshow).may have chosen to make a Mac app after he made the iPhone app, but it was a lot of extra work. Devs gotta eat too.

If you buy one or all of these on the Mac App Store for $20 each you’ll be rocking with stellar productivity that will put your colleagues’ work to shame. If you want those on your iPad or iPhone, it’ll be another $10 each, but it will only be once for both your iPhone and iPad.

“Lots of money” you say? It’s an investment, but a worthwhile one. Be looking for reviews of each and why they’re worth it in a future post. (Still a sizeable chunk of money less than Microsoft Office only for your computer.)

The term “universal” really only applies to iOS apps. Other than than, those programmers really had to work to get their app on the Mac too.


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