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Mac OS Apps Development: Yes or No?

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Apps for Mac OS are not rare, although these are very niche products. Mac OS apps are programs that can work on Mac OS computers. Many of the apps have the same code and work identically on all Apple products but the development process can differ and so the adjustments are needed to make even the same apps work across different Apple OS. 

Nevertheless, these are mostly very popular products such as messengers (WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, and Telegram), design tools (Figma, Gimp, Adobe Photoshop), and, of course, games, many different games as well as task managers, media players, and text editors. 

There are also many programs for documentation, writing, editing, file management, etc. Mostly these are products that are very convenient and critical to use offline while using a desktop computer. 

Many apps can be used via any browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox), although a browser is itself an app, a very powerful one, yet still an app. However, accessing a browser won’t allow you to use Photoshop or play a game. 

In the following piece we are going to discuss the development process of and business logic behind Mac OS apps, highlight the most popular ones, and focus our attention on whether it is possible to make a truly useful and valuable Mac OS app that is going to be a really viable product.     

Most Popular Mac OS Apps

  • Affinity Photo
  • Alfred 4
  • Day One
  • Fantastical
  • Reeder
  • Wunderlist
  • Pixelmator

You can find more detailed lists of Mac OS apps here. Pixelmator and Affinity Photo are convenient tools for photo editing and image revision. Reeder is a essentially a custom newsletter that gathers online articles you can save for reading them later.  Wunderlist is one of the most popular task managers. Fantastical – a smart calendar and even planner. Day One – a personal journal. Alfred 4 – file manager.

Development Cycle – Xcode 

MacOS development is done with Xcode, a special program that supports the following programming languages: C, C++, Objective-C, Swift, Java, AppleScript, Python ? Ruby. xCode is definitely one of the most comfortable and powerful programs for creating applications. It is not itself a programming language, though. It is called IDE – integrated development environment

Developers consider Xcode a very massive and diverse toolbox useful for a multitude of diverse tasks. Xcode can be used to make apps for all kinds of Apple OS: Mac OS, iOS, iPadOS, and WatchOS. The program allows creating more complex apps with rich functionality but it can also be used to integrate iOS apps and make them compatible with Mac OS. Easy example – you can have WhatsApp on your Mac and you can have WhatsApp on your iPhone. But the code should be changed to be available on your both these platforms.  

Branding, Marketing, and Promotion

Apps for Mac OS has 2 main features: 1) they can be used offline 2) they have rich functionality. Because of these two features they are niche products that should be marketed and promoted efficiently. When you’re developing a Mac OS application, your aim is to reach your preferred kind of target audience. For example, who uses Photoshop, Figma or Sketch? Web designers, of course. Your task is to define a certain TA and target your product precisely with properly organized launch.    


You won’t monetize a MacOS app with advertisement money. You should create a product of value that solves a certain problem and provides tools that are truly needed. You then sell your product. Easy and simple, right? Well, it only stresses the importance of your product being diverse in its functionality to serve concrete purpose to justify development for Mac OS and not just for iPhone or iPad. 


My usual recommendation is to develop and release a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) the sooner the better. It is not only unnecessary but wrong to wait till you have a perfect final product. It will save your money and time to see how the prototype of your Mac OS app will perform in real environment. 

Test your app on real users and gather user feedback. Then, your development team will update, upgrade, and improve your app to match these requirements. And there is always something to add or change, believe me. It will only make your application better, however. That all is of additional importance, since what you’re developing is not just an Uber-like app but a complex desktop program that will probably have a diverse and powerful functionality with a lot of features.

Very Niche Products

Once again, your Mac OS app should be valuable for a specific target audience. These products cannot work on money you get from advertisers (imagine seeing ads in your media player). Therefore, they should be paid for or bought on a subscription basis.  

It is exactly because Mac OS apps are niche products that they can be very profitable. Unlike creating apps identical to iPhone for desktop purposes (media players, file managers, text editors, etc) the best path is to make something explicitly useful on a desktop computer. It may be an already existing iOS app but it can also be something entirely new. 

And it better be something new because modern users are very picky and they have high standards. According to marketers all around the world it has never been harder to make people buy something before. Competition is tough and digital market became truly difficult to enter.

Due to the reasons mentioned above you are advised to consult with a Business Analyst to make sure your product is going to hit the aim. There’s always space for something new and intriguing. Your product can be an educational program for children or a video editing tool, perhaps world map with gamification features. The trick of the Mac OS apps is that they they’re not web-based and, therefore, can have richer functionality and a diverse range of features.  


If you have a valuable idea, you can hire an experienced development team to carry out your Mac OS project. Mac OS apps can be of great benefit for a certain target audience. But be careful because the development process is harder and so is the marketing of these niche products. Most of the software development products are mobile apps and web apps. MacOS occupy some 1% of app market. 

Therefore, possible user base is much much smaller, although for those who use such apps (mostly, different specialists) MacOS apps have enormous value. Discuss your project with a business analyst to know more about target audience and monetization possibilities of your Mac OS app. Then, develop a prototype and ship your final product to the market in a rapid manner. Hope for the best! 

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