How to share downloaded apps between users on Mac

How to share downloaded apps between users on Mac

Apple allows each user in the Mac launch application to be available to all users, but licensing can stumble you.

Apple IDs are used for two types of things: one is a purchase account, which was originally associated with the iTunes Music Store; others, synchronization / email accounts related to MobileMe (, Mac (, and iCloud. Apple combines these two goals, but many people have legacy accounts that they continue to share on iOS / iPadOS and macOS in different ways.

For families using Macs, you can use Family Sharing or Apple ID based purchases to allow everyone to access the same application (or similar device) on a computer.

macOS is set to allow you to create multiple accounts, and each account can log into one Apple ID to sync iCloud and email and for Apple purchases or accounts can use two separate accounts for iCloud and purchases.


Share applications through Family Sharing

If you have not set up Family Sharing, take steps to get it. This is not for everyone, because it only allows a total of six family members in the account and has other restrictions.

However, as a bonus, this allows you to reduce iCloud storage costs by combining a storage plan. (My family saves around $ 10 a month by switching to the collected 2TB iCloud storage plan.)

Family planning members have arranged joint purchases from their account. Any application that allows Family Sharing – most done – and purchased in one account is available for all other family members. (However, Family Sharing does not allow in-app purchases or subscriptions to be shared, and many applications have switched to that mode.)

On each macOS account, one particular Apple user ID is plugged in to iCloud and purchase purposes.

You can find shared applications to download through the Mac App Store:

  1. Launch the App Store.
  2. Click your account name in the lower left corner.
  3. In the Account view, select the name of another family member from the Purchased by menu.
  4. If available for Family Sharing, click the iCloud download icon.

If the application has been downloaded to the machine and licensed for Family Sharing, you might be able to launch it from the main Mac Applications folder.

However, you might experience problems for apps that were installed before Family Sharing was activated, where it won’t be launched or demand the original buyer’s Apple ID password to use. In this case, you can try the following:

  1. Get the app from the App Store.
  2. Open the main Applications folder (in / Applications /).
  3. In another window open the Applications folder in your Home folder. The shortcut is, in the Finder, to select Go> Go To Folder and paste it in ~ / Application
  4. Pressing the Command key, drag the application from the main Application folder to your account’s Application folder. Enter your administrative account and password when prompted. (Drag the command to move the application; simple drag creates an alias at the destination.)

Now, launch the application from your own Applications folder from now on.

Share applications using a single Apple ID for purchases

Each user logs separately for iCloud for synchronization and various Apple stores for purchase.

In Mojave and earlier, the iCloud preference panel is where you manage your iCloud login, and each application, such as iTunes and Books, can have a separate Apple login ID. In Catalina, Apple’s ID preferences panel centralizes iCloud and purchases accounts more clearly and labeled. (Some Catalina applications also have their own account login options, just to confuse, but you can usually ignore them.)

With Apple IDs shared for purchase, you should be able to launch applications from any macOS account that is signed in to the same Apple ID. If the application is downloaded by other macOS users on the same machine, verification of the purchase must allow it to be launched without a hitch.

The first time you launch the application on a new account, there is a chance that you will be asked for an Apple ID account password for the purchase account. Enter it.

With this method, purchases and in-app subscriptions are available in all macOS accounts. But because all purchases are fully shared and locked into an account, this might limit you in the future if people using the Mac get their own computers if they no longer want to be part of the same buying group. You can then switch to Family Sharing.

Share non-Mac App Store applications

For families who want to share non-Mac App Store applications across all macOS accounts, most applications that are purchased directly from the software company are quite functional, regardless of where the account is launched.

You may need to enter a license code in each account, and if the license is only for one computer or “seat”, which is in the conditions.

For applications that rely on accounts, such as Adobe Creative Cloud, you must log in to a special software maker account for each macOS user and are limited by simultaneous logins, even if you don’t use the same application literally at the same time in two accounts.

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