Bizarre licensing policy

Today I had some back-and forth with customer service for the iMazing utility. This is a utility you install on your Mac (or Windows) that lets you perform various tasks on your iOS device (backup, remove unwanted apps, etc etc). I had received an invitation to download their 3.0 beta and accidentally clicked the the “3 devices” button instead of the “1 device” button. I was looking for an adjustment.

In his response, “Oleg” pointed me to this page, and asked me to make sure I understood before deciding on only 1 “slot”. Licensing Policy - iMazing

If I’m reading this correctly, even though the software is on the computer, each “slot” is tied to one and only one iOS device. And cannot be reassigned. He also pointed that their upgrade discount only applies to the first purchase.

So, if I need to replace my phone for any reason, I will need to pay for a new “slot” (for $40 with no discount). This seems bizarre to me! There are so many reasons phones need to be replaced. Why does software that resides on my computer need to charge me to switch to another device?

I also point out that the purchase button refers to the number of “devices” with no mention or explanation of “slots”.

Has anyone else seen this model? Thoughts?

(I wrote back and said I wasn’t interested in this scheme and asked for a full refund of the 3 slot license I accidentally purchased. Awaiting a reply).

Is this perhaps worthy of a Tidbits article?


A lot of audio/music software has licenses for a computer and if you have to upgrade or change the computer, you deauthorize the one computer and authorize the new one.
I am a happy user of iMazing, but if the rules are too restrictive for you, I can understand the concern.

I’ve seen it and dislike it intensely. They do talk about it in their FAQ, but I don’t buy their explanations. They do say:

That said, we understand misfortune can strike and are certainly not interested in profiting from such an event. If your Apple device is lost or broken, please contact our support team for assistance with your license.

although even that doesn’t say they’ll remove the old phone and add the new one, which is the only sort of “assistance” I would want.

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That’s fine(ish), even Apple does that, but that’s not what iMazing does when it comes to devices. If you want to upgrade your iPhone, there’s no way to deauthorize the old one, you need to buy a new “slot” (or use one of your unused ones if you have any).

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Although I have had iMazing installed for a long time based on user recommendations, I’ve never found a need to use it, so have not purchased.

I did get the offer today and was put-off by the licensing scheme, so did not pursue.

All such schemes I’m familiar with do offer a way to decommission a device no longer in use to transfer to a new device, so this is a new one to me.

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That is not what this household thought we signed on to…clearly need to do some reading.


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I bought iMazing a few years ago when I worked for a company that made a huge number of apps that we needed to test (they were for trade shows). When the shows were over it was a lot easier to get rid of the apps from the phone using iMazing. I’ve found the app useful on a few occasions since, so I was happy to upgrade and support them.

But I see no logic or consumer benefit to this scheme and I’d rather talk with my feet. I’m curious to see what happens with my full refund request (I have not activated the license).


That would be my definition of a “slot” but the iMazing scheme does not allow a device to be replaced with another.

I don’t have a license myself but do have a copy of it that I’ve tried out in the past. The license terms seem unusual but this product does a pretty unique thing and the price for three devices seems like a reasonable multi-device discount compared with buying a single license.


I have been using iMazing for many years and find it very useful for app management. I can use iMazing to download app updates once, then use iMazing to push those updates to all my devices.

iMazing maintains multiple versions of apps in its library so if a new version of an app behaves in a way I don’t like I can easily revert to an earlier version.

iMazing also maintains multiple copies of your device backups. I think iTunes/Finder only keeps the most current version.

Their new licensing model is odd but when I work out the numbers for upgrading to v3 for my devices it’s not that much more expensive than what I paid in the past. In the meantime, v2 will continue to work. When it becomes necessary to upgrade to v3 I’ll happily pay their “per slot” license.

Since my understanding of what @horo said initially is fundamentally different from what I understand you to describe, I wonder if you do understand the concern.

Mine, too. If this had been made clear at the time of purchase, I would have bought more slots. On the other hand, I find iMazing to be astoundingly slow and fragile. (It locks up about half the time when I use it, and is glacial at starting up and performing some tasks.) If it is destined for the bit bucket, discarding fewer slots is better.

Depending upon what you use iMazing to accomplish, you might find that Apple Configurator is a free alternative.

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I’ve used iMazing for years – ever since iTunes removed the functionality for managing apps. I like iMazing a lot, and I use it at least 4-5 times a week; I’ve come to depend on it for a number of iPhone/iPad ↔ Mac utility functions, and have been very satisfied with it’s reliability and performance. (E.g., app management, transferring e-books between Mac and iPad.)

I think that probably means my use model is different than many of the other folks posting on this thread; I got the impression that the majority use iMazing on occasion, but not frequently. I suspect my perspective of, and experiences with, iMazing may be an outlier, so please take what follows with a grain of salt.

I initially purchased iMazing (v1) with a perpetual license, where there were no restrictions on how many devices you could use. Sometime in 2022, I switched to a subscription option they offered, the iMazing Unlimited Devices License; annual subscription payment, 2 computers, unlimited devices. I usually avoid subscriptions; but iMazing is an app I don’t want to disappear – it’s easy to use, they support older macOS versions, and it’s functionality is not easily replicated by other apps.

All that said: I agree that this the new iMazing Device perpetual License is odd – and unattractive – to me; specifically, the inability to unlink a device from a slot. It’s not intuitive, and I don’t see any upside to a customer – particularly a customer who has faithfully paid for upgrades when as they came out. I also suspect it will cause potential customers to hesitate to purchase iMazing.

If I didn’t already have my Unlimited Devices subscription license (and I notice that it’s now listed as a Deprecated licensing option – new Unlimted Devices subscriptions are no longer being sold, and iMazing says there are no guarantees that they will continue to support it for existing customers), I’d probably go with the iMazing Family Subscription license. It differs from the iMazing Device perpetual license in that slots can be reset once a year – a much more appealing slot strategy. However, it’s way overkill for my purposes – I’d never use it with anywhere near 15 different devices, and never more than 1 computer.

All-in-all, a very unsatisfying change in business licensing from iMazing; it gives off a whiff of desperation from their marketing department. I’d planned to try out iMazing v3 in the next few weeks, but now I’m reluctant to do so; I want to make sure v3 doesn’t prevent me from switching back to v2 if I wish.


I downloaded, but have not licensed, v3 and I can tell you they can at least launch side-by-side. V3 doesn’t do anything without a license so I can’t say for sure they will run simultaneously.

If I’ve read correctly, your perpetual license for earlier versions will not apply to v3.

I will also note that “Oleg” from their customer service was quick to respond to me about having mistakenly ordered a 3 device license rather than a 1 device license. He is the one that directed me to the page that explained the “slots” and asked me to confirm I only want one since the 50% upgrade discount only applies to the first purchase.

I wrote him back almost immediately saying the “slot” scheme wasn’t acceptable to me and I would like a full refund. There has been radio silence ever since.

I just wrote him again and asked if he was planning to answer my refund request email.

There are time zone and holiday issues, so I am willing to wait for his response but it will be exceptionally disappointing if I don’t hear back from him with some sort of dialog.


I’ve had iMazing for about five years and wouldn’t want to do without it–app library, time-machine like backups, easy copy of app data from one device to another, extract all data. I have version 2.n with a perpetual license and no update fees for the entire time I’ve used it, so I can see that they need to do something about not going broke. Though I don’t like the per device fee, I prefer it to the subscription option. I probably won’t upgrade until new hardware makes me, but I will upgrade eventually. For now, Apple is still supplying device updates to Sierra, so I can still use 2.n, and it should all still work on catalina for a few more years if need be. There should be no problem for the current setup to keep serving all of my oldies into the future, so I’d only need licenses for anything new.

I’ve noticed several bundle sales in the past year or two that offer discounted device licenses; one bundlehunt had them for about $7 each.

Thank you for that nudge. I have read about Configurator in TidBITS but had not investigated it at all. Do you or does anyone know of a source for older versions? The current version (apparently 2.17) requires macOS 14. I’m on macOS 11 but had planned to update to macOS 13 when I got around to it (because of reading about problems with macOS 14).

This change in licensing will probably keep me on version 2 for a long time. We have enough devices that this just isn’t an attractive upgrade.

I can see why they are doing it this way.

I have a “legacy” Universal (perpetual) license, which means you can use it on 2 computers, unlimited linked devices, forever – but the catch is, you don’t get free major updates, such as from iMazing 2 to version 3. So at some point you’ll need to give them more money. That seems fair.

In the new license scheme, major updates are free. If they allowed you to transfer slots to new devices, you could buy the product once, and then use it forever, even as they release new major versions. By disallowing slot transfers, you give them more money when you get a new device.

If my phone is damaged, or stolen, or I get a better one for Christmas and give mine to my kid, I should have to pay $40? Why? What if those things happen three times in six months? I pay $120?

I’d rather pay (or not, my choice) for major version upgrades than have to buy new licenses if something changes with my device having nothing to do with iMazing.


Tying a license to a specific device permanently is, in my view, a short-sighted idea that can only backfire. There are better ways to ensure a continuing revenue stream than making people pay again solely because a device has changed. Even a regular subscription is a better choice than this.

I’m not aware of any other software publisher that ties a license irrevocably to a specific device. The worst I’ve seen are ones that limit the number of times a license can be switched to a new device, which is bad enough to make me avoid it.

I expect that they’ve severely underestimated what users will tolerate. They’re going to see a lack of upgrades, and among those who do upgrade, they’re going to face a backlash when people who didn’t pay attention to the licensing change discover that they have to pay full price when they replace a device, especially from those who replace a device soon after upgrading.

I’m still using iMazing 2, and since I’m still on Big Sur, I don’t anticipate needing to upgrade it any time soon. When that time comes, I may be looking for a replacement unless they’ve modified the license policy by then—which I give a 50-50 chance of happening.