Everything You Wanted to Know about Using the Mac App Store (For Now)

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2018/06/11/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-using-the-mac-app-store-for-now/

Buying something from the Mac App Store is so easy, it’s as if Apple planned it that way. But there are things you should know, and things you can do, to keep the experience effortless and handle any glitches that might appear.

I never realized cmd-[ and cmd-] were the back and forward commands. Obviously, checking the menu would have revealed it. I never got cmd-left and cmd-right (which I use in every browser) to work so I just assumed Apple had somehow chosen not to include keyboard shortcuts.

Now if only there were a simple way to get cmd-left and cmd-right to work in the MAS. Safari obviously supports both. I wonder why the MAS doesn’t. On my US keyboard, cmd-left/right is much easier to use than cmd-[/].

One more thing in case any readers wonder. A MAS app doesn’t absolutely have to be in /Applications for the MAS to know it’s installed on your system. If it’s in the path somewhere below /Applications/ that’s good enough. So for instance, you can move MAS downloads to subfolders in /Applications and the MAS will still recognize they’re installed on your system.

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I try to stay away from the Mac App Store as much as possible. Apps purchased on the MAS can’t be updated as frequently as those bought direct from the vendor so you are more vulnerable to a security problem with MAS apps. I also feel that the vendor gets more income by not having to pay Apple’s 30%+ “tax”.

That has not been my recent experience. I don’t remember the last time I became aware of an app update when it wasn’t immediately available from the MAS, including the last two that were widely publicized security updates. Apple appears to have streamlined its process for approving updates.

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Yes, though cmd-left and cmd-right are inconsistent, so I never use them for navigating pages. If you’re in a text box they (quite rightly!) move the cursor to the beginning or end of the line. Cmd-[ and cmd-] always work, and are standard shortcuts for previous/next page in all sorts of browsing views and apps.

Out of interest, where are the [ and ] keys on the US keyboard? On the UK one, they’re above ’ and \ and so very convenient for one-handed combination with the right cmd-key. I actually find the arrows a lot more awkward, as they’re too close, so I have to scrunch my hand together to get my thumb on the cmd-key and a finger on one of the arrows.

I’ve never encountered any inconsistencies, apart from MAS breaking cmd-left/right. For beginning and end of line I always use ctrl-a/e as is basically standard in the UNIX world (Emacs).

[ and ] are to the right of the “P”


App updates tend to take longer on the MAS since Apple has to approve them, but perhaps this has improved recently (it certainly has on iOS).

I got into the cmd-left/right habit back on classic Mac OS, and even on OS X for many years using Unix shortcuts were inconsistent because they weren’t supported in Carbon apps. But in any case, you will find that if you’re in a text box in Safari, cmd-left will take you to the beginning of the line, and not the previous page. Maybe you’ve never used the keyboard to go back a page when in a text box (which is admittedly not a common occurrence!)?

No, sure, I’ve definitely also noticed that. I usually just tab out of the text box and then cmd-left/right will work as expected.

A problem is if there are many text boxes and tab just moves the cursor to the next of many. Of course shift-tab moves the other way. Fortunately, once you’ve moved the cursor to the address bar (easy to notice since it highlights) esc will get you out of editing mode and cmd-left/right will do what you want.

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Hey Simon,

Keyboard Maestro allows users to “coax” the macOS into working more the way they want it to.

Creating a couple of macros to “alias” the backward and forward keyboard shortcut is a walk in the park.

I’ve used it since v1 came out in 2004.