Setapp Review: An All-You-Can-Eat Buffet of Mac & iOS Apps

Do you remember when you used to be able to pay for an app once and get free updates for life? Those were heady days, but alas, it simply wasn’t a sustainable business model.

Today, subscriptions are the new normal. We subscribe to note-taking apps, task managers, calendar apps, utilities, and more. And you know what? Subscription fatigue is real! I feel it just as much as you do.

Recently, I came across a service that helps with that. It’s called Setapp.

What is Setapp?

Setapp is a service that gives you access to over 240 high-quality Mac and iOS apps for a monthly or yearly fee. You can use any app from the Setapp catalog without paying extra or worrying about updates.

Whether you need productivity tools, creativity apps, or simple utilities, Setapp has something for you. In fact, many of the apps on Setapp will be apps you have already heard of.

What Are the Best Apps on Setapp?

Best is always going to be a subjective term, but here are some of the most popular Setapp apps among the Apple community.

  • Ulysses: a powerful writing app that lets you organize your projects, edit your texts, and publish them to various platforms.
  • CleanMyMac X: a comprehensive tool that helps you optimize your Mac’s performance, free up space, and protect your privacy.
  • Gemini 2: a smart duplicate finder that scans your Mac for identical files and folders and helps you delete them safely.
  • Bartender: a handy app that lets you customize and organize your menu bar icons.
  • Craft Docs: an award-winning note-taking app that lets you create visually appealing documents to track projects, plans, and ideas.
  • MindNode: a beautiful mind mapping app that helps you brainstorm, organize, and visualize your ideas.
  • Paste: a clipboard manager that stores everything you copy and lets you access your clipboard history from any device.
  • Luminar Neo: an advanced, yet easy-to-use photo editor that lets you unleash your creativity with AI photo enhancement tools.
  • iStat Menus: an advanced Mac system monitor that helps you track CPU and GPU usage, as well as reduce excessive memory use.

These are just some of the apps that Setapp offers. They have no ads, no in-app purchases, and they all update automatically in the background.

If you try an app, and you decide it isn’t for you, it can be uninstalled with just a couple of clicks.

Screenshot of Setapp by Jonathan Wylie

How to Navigate Setapp

Before you start installing apps, you need to download the Setapp desktop client for Mac. It’s like an app store for everything that is included in your subscription. And it looks a lot like Apple’s App Store.

Ready to download your first app? Artificial intelligence powers the Setapp search function. That means you can search for an app by describing the task you want to complete. If you want to edit a PDF, type that in the search box and Setapp will find you some apps to help you get that done.

If you prefer, you can browse the Collections tab. Here, you will find curated app selections that are based around a specific theme like education, creativity, or productivity. Collections can be a quick way to discover new apps that you hadn’t previously considered.

Setapp Collections: Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

To help you learn how to use your new app, App Guides are included to help you master the software you download. These handy guides let you discover the hidden features that you might be missing out on.

There are also some how-to blog posts that showcase how you can use Setapp app to get more done on your Mac.

Finally, each app has its own page in Setapp. The app page has product features, reviews, ratings, and images to give you a better idea of what the app does. This is useful to help you pick a new app.

Why I Use Setapp

Setapp provides a lot of value for me. For a fraction of the cost of buying individual apps, I get unlimited access to hundreds of apps that genuinely cover a lot of my productivity needs.

For instance, an app like Craft Docs costs $60 a year for the Pro account. That’s almost half my Setapp subscription price, and this is just one of dozens of apps available to me. With Setapp, Craft Docs is free for as long as I have an active subscription.

Another reason I’m enjoying Setapp is the quality of the apps it offers. The examples listed above should speak for themselves. Setapp only selects apps that meet high standards of design, functionality, and reliability. They also remove outdated tools to maintain that quality.

Then there is the flexibility. When you have to pay to download an app, you are naturally a little more hesitant to click the buy button. Will it do what I need? Will it be a waste of money? Will it continue to get updates?

With Setapp, I don’t think twice about any of that. There’s literally nothing to lose. I download first, and ask questions later.

You can install or uninstall apps as you wish, without affecting your subscription. You can also cancel your subscription at any time, without any penalties or fees.

Setapp Pricing: Explained

There are different plans depending on what devices you use. However, every Setapp plan comes with a 7-day free trial.

The basic plan is $9.99 a month and gives you full access to Setapp on one Mac computer.

If you want to add iOS apps, $12.49 a month gives you access to Setapp’s Mac and iOS apps on your Mac, and on your iPhone/iPad.

Power users can pay $14.99 a month to use apps on up to four Macs at once, and also use the iOS versions on their iPhone and iPad.

Setapp Deals and Discounts

To save even more on a Setapp subscription, sign up for a yearly plan. You can subtract 10% from the cost of all plans when you pay annually.

Discounts are also available for teachers and students. With a Setapp Education plan, you get 50% off the regular price.

Simply sign up with an .edu email, or something that belongs to the domain of your educational institution, then confirm it to activate your Setapp subscription.

Is Setapp Worth It?

Ultimately, that comes down to what apps you use the most and whether those apps are included in the Setapp catalog.

I went through a stage recently where browser extensions replaced the apps I used on my Mac. They served a purpose, but I came to realize that they are rarely as powerful or reliable as a native Mac app.

Are there apps that I wish were on Setapp? Absolutely. But I am often finding alternatives that are just as good, or better than, the apps I already use. I also find that I am using apps that I previously wouldn’t have bought because they were too expensive, or because I wouldn’t use them regularly.

Setapp adds new apps every month, so the collection does change over time, and they will email you to let you know what the new additions are. For me, this means the value proposition continues to grow.

Final Verdict

Setapp is not for everyone. I get that. But I would encourage you to take a look at the apps they have, find the ones you would use, and then add up the cost of those individual apps. When I did that, I found Setapp pays for itself, and actually saves me some money.

If you are interested in trying Setapp, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial and explore the apps for yourself.

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