Setapp Review – Presentation and A better alternative to the App Store

Find our presentation and Setapp review, the service intended to compete with the App Store. Have you ever wasted your time in the App Store hesitating between dozens of applications, all of which promise to make your dreams come true or at least offer the functionality you need?

If so, don’t be ashamed, it happened to all of us. The App Store has become a vast jumble of applications, to the point where it is impossible to try them all or even find a relevant comparison on the web.

Based on this observation, Setapp suggests that we see a little more clearly.

How? ‘Or’ What? By offering, against a monthly subscription, access to a selection of quality and proven applications on Mac. So is Setapp worth it? What are the applications and utilities worth? Is it profitable? Or is it another expensive tool without much interest?

Netflix apps?

The operation of Setapp is indeed reminiscent of that of the famous streaming platform: for less than 10.00 euros per month, you have access to an offer supposed to cover all your needs.

Even if I don’t really like this tendency that most software, like smartphone apps, turns to a “monthly subscription” model instead of a single payment system, I think that Setapp offers still an advantage if you use several of the applications included in the store!

In the case of applications, the benefits highlighted by Setapp are as follows:

  • Curation: Setapp has selected effective and well-designed applications. No more time wasted trying several applications before finding the one that suits you. The catalog is also supposed to remain relatively small, in order to avoid reproducing the confusion noted on the App Store.
  • Simplicity: the apps are classified and presented, you will quickly find what you need. The applications are all provided in their full version, and updated for free.
  • Savings: for less than € 10.00 per month, you have access to a hundred applications, and this for two devices (it is possible to add up to three Macs, for € 5.00 per device and per month). It’s up to you to do the calculation based on the applications you use, but it can actually be very profitable if you use several software or utilities present in their catalog. It is clearly not interesting if you only use 1 or 2 applications!
  • The Setapp applications have no ads and will not disturb you by offering you incessant paid updates. In addition, if an update to your software becomes available, Setapp will automatically update for you!

How does Setapp work?

Setapp is developed by MacPaw, the creators of Clean My Mac X and other utilities for Mac and PC, such as the very good Gemini 2. The platform is therefore backed by a relatively well-known and solid company, so you can take out a subscription without fear of seeing it disappear overnight.

 setapp app,  How does Setapp work,

On the other hand, it is theoretically possible that an application will disappear from the platform if the developer ceases to collaborate with Setapp. But the service is also intended to be attractive to developers, by offering them a more stable remuneration than the fruits of the traditional sale of applications. 

For users, the operation is relatively simple, it is even one of the main interests of Setapp:

  • 1You register on the site (you can take advantage of 7 days of free trial to use the app before paying for it).
  • 2You download and install the Setapp app.
  • 3You then have access to a “Setapp” folder grouping all the available applications. A click on the app icon opens a description of the application and offers to install it.
  • 4Once installed, the app works as you bought it, except you don’t even have to worry about paying for an update or new feature.
  • 5You can also hide apps that don’t interest you, to make the Setapp folder more clear.
  • 6If you stop your subscription, the installed apps are obviously no longer available.

The best apps and software available on Setapp

Among the apps that are worth it in our opinion, we will retain the following:

  • Clean My Mac X. The excellent application for cleaning your Macintosh. 
  • Gemini 2. The duplicate detector for MacOS. 
  • Bartender. It allows you to organize your menus.
  • Declutter. Store your desk using smart folders and rulers.
  • BusyCal. Your steroid schedule!
  • 2do. One of the latest additions to Setapp. Good app to improve your productivity.
  • Disk skill. Used to recover lost data.
  • IM +. A great app for grouping your Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype, Google hangouts, Twitter, Linkedin, Slack, Telegram and many more accounts in one app! Sometimes unstable but can centralize your accounts and save time.
  • Flume. Flume is an Instagram interface for your mac
  • iStatsMenu. Application to monitor the use and stats of your mac.
  • iThoughtsX. Excellent mind mapping application to put your ideas to bed.
  • MacGourmet Deluxe. Advanced cooking application to save your recipes.
  • MoneyWiz. Quality finance management application.
  • PhotoBulk. Reduces and optimizes your images.

Are you interested in using Setapp?

 setapp app,  How does Setapp work,
Image: Setapp

As often, everything depends on your needs and your situation. Setapp is clearly composed mainly of “utility” type applications. You will not find here big heavyweights of the market like Final Cut Pro X see the Photoshop suite (which offers its own monthly subscription system now).


  • A good range of Mac applications – There are many different Mac applications on Setapp. You can choose from almost any category, from blogging apps to design management tools.
  • 1 single subscription – Gone are the days when you had to pay one-off fees. It allows you to centralize your payments.
  • No recurring costs – There are no additional costs or hidden costs with Setapp!
  • Regular addition of new applications – The more Mac application developers are open to the concept of Setapp, the more they will commit to this model.


  • Choice of applications – You may not be using all the Mac applications (120+) present on Setapp. You may not find the perfect app. Explore the list of applications before you launch or try Setapp for free (7 days).
  • $ 9.99 per month – With Setapp, you always pay $ 9.99 per month. Whether you use 1 or 120 applications, it is a good idea to check how many of these applications you would use first before committing to making the monthly payments.

In my opinion, Setapp is rather thought for a pro or semi-pro use. Most applications are used to improve productivity, more easily create code or content, manage time and projects or improve the performance of your Mac.

So many features that will appeal to freelancers or small businesses with varied needs, but also individuals who are passionate about new technologies and consumers of Mac software.

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If this is your case, the calculation is then quite simple: you add the price of the licenses for your different current applications or those that interest you, and if this price exceeds $10 per month (and you find equivalents of the apps that interest you in the Setapp catalog), then go for it! Most software invoices anyway too on a monthly basis in 2020, so this can be profitable for you.

But if you are an individual who uses his Mac for everyday life (internet, email, word processing) and entertainment (games, music, movies), then the basic applications of your Mac normally cover all your needs and Setapp seems to be less useful and quite expensive.

You may be interested in a few applications (such as Mac maintenance, personal accounting, etc.), but not necessarily enough to make the monthly subscription profitable. Again, it’s up to you to do the math, knowing that a subscription to Setapp can also be a good way to meet specific needs without making your life too complicated.

What future for Setapp?

The platform is still young since it was launched a year ago (end of 2017). Therefore, It is a little early to decide definitively on the interest of the service, and I encourage you besides to try it. You can take advantage of 7 days free, and this is still the best way to determine if Setapp would be useful to you.

The determining point for the future of Setapp is obviously the catalog of applications. It is unlikely to see large Mac applications like Final Cut Pro, virtualization applications, antivirus or even the Adobe Suite, which already offers its own subscription service. Setapp is rather positioned on small inexpensive utilities, which we already have in free trial versions, or which we sometimes acquire illegally.

These versions are generally less practical to use and less efficient… in the same way that illegally downloading series remains a process, above all illegal, but above all painful and with sometimes uncertain results.

And if Setapp manages to offer a complete application catalog at a floor price, then the platform may well succeed the same tour de force as Netflix with the series, and become a benchmark in its field!

Setapp classifies its applications according to different themes, which I will quickly summarize

  • Maintenance: Mac maintenance applications, with MacPaw apps like CleanMyMac (global maintenance) or Gemini (removal of duplicates) at the top of the gondola.
  • Lifestyle: category a little gadget, there is an application of HD wallpapers, a manager of recipes or even a software allowing to create GIFs. These are not the applications that will make you adopt Setapp, but you will certainly use some if you subscribe.
  • Development: applications for… developers. There are about fifteen, so take a look if you’re a code enthusiast.
  • Productivity: the widest category, it is aimed at those who work all day on their Mac and who love to optimize their tool. There are apps for task management, word processing and note-taking, mailboxes … The kind of tool that takes a little time to set up, but can really improve your organization.
  • Creativity: apps related to image editing, desktop publishing or music creation, but don’t expect to find a replacement for the Adobe suite either!
  • Hacks for Mac: a whole bunch of tools to optimize the functioning of your Mac, in particular the presentation, the organization and the backup of files or even the management of passwords.
  • Writing and blogging: tools for authors, whether you want to write a book, an article or blog notes, you will find a dedicated app that should save you time.
  • Accounting: Setapp offers two financial management apps, but also inventory management which can be useful if you are a little obsessive when it comes to managing your collection of books, records or bottles of wine!
  • Teaching and research: mind maps, note-taking, translators, calculations … all useful tools for students and teachers.

Setapp: A better alternative to the App Store?

For any owner of a Mac, the App Store is THE reference destination for equipping your computer with the latest applications. Customers of the apple brand have long trusted the store, which owes much of its success to its well-stocked catalog. However, a newcomer discreetly shakes up the foundations established by the App Store for Mac: Setapp. 

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What is Setapp? It is an offer offering quality Mac applications for a fixed monthly or annual price. Just two years after its launch, this “Netflix” of software launched by MacPaw has already attracted more than 15,000 users to whom it offers more than a hundred applications dedicated to Macs. How did Setapp meet this challenge? By building on a model that is beneficial for subscribers, but also for developers:

A fixed price service

What is SaaS? The principle of Software as a Service or “Software as a Service” is to offer customers unlimited access to an application hosted on a server. The license and use are included in a monthly subscription. First democratized within companies within particular CRM-type software, the philosophy of SaaS has in recent years gained the multimedia sector. To answer more simply the question “what is SaaS?” »,

We can for example name some platforms taking up the concept such as Netflix or Uber. Movies, series, video games, the entertainment giants have understood this well, user needs are growing, but their bank account is not.

setapp review

The choice of the SaaS model was therefore obvious for Setapp: instead of making its customers spend 20 or 100 dollars to obtain a single application, the service offers them access to a complete catalog for only 9, $ 99 per month. Without necessarily being very software-intensive, a quick calculation allows you to save money by choosing Setapp applications. The service offers an annual subscription at $ 69.99, which can easily be the equivalent of three, or in some cases, a single application from the App Store.

Less choice, but more quality

The App Store remains unquestionably number one in terms of the number of applications available. The store opens its doors wide to developers and users are spoiled for choice among several thousand applications offered. Setapp, for its part, does not compete on this point with its some 150 applications, but the service nevertheless has a strong argument. Each application in its catalog has been handpicked. 

The concept is therefore based on a convincing idea: why waste time looking for and testing a dozen applications when the best has already been carefully selected? Ahead of its time, MacPaw was able to predict the growing weariness of consumers vis-à-vis the glut of content. The company, therefore, strives to maintain a homogeneous and limited selection of quality software. 

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The Setapp applications cover the most common needs in all areas. Its software ranges from professional office tools to simple entertainment applications, including web programming and maintenance. All applications are classified according to categories (photos, finance, utilities, lifestyle, etc.).

No matter where it comes from, any application requires updates and corrections. In terms of quality, the App Store always scores points. Each Mac Store application goes through a meticulous verification process. Given the number of applications available, the deployment times are sometimes a bit long. Setapp puts its part on its demanding entrance exam and its smaller catalog to deliver updates in a faster time.

This limited choice may not, however, satisfy all profiles. If you have an insatiable need for new things, then the App Store remains your best option. The Apple store offers many free applications. Beware, however, of advertisements and in-app purchases that increase the bill. Unpleasantness not found in Setapp. The service guarantees applications without any advertising interruption and without additional paid functionality.

If time and quality are more important than quantity, Setapp seems to be the ideal alternative to the App Store. With its very affordable price, the formula also offers a certain peace of mind when choosing the applications to install. If one of them does not live up to expectations, the disappointment is mitigated by the idea of ​​not having spent an extra euro to try it.

Setapp currently offers around 130 applications. Among them, there is reference software that has made MacPaw famous such as Clean My Mac X (cleaner), Gemini 2 (duplicate detector), MoneyWiz (budget management) or XMind (mind map and brainstorming). New applications are added every month and the price does not change.

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