Setapp Review: Worth the Cost to Get Dozens of Great Apps?

What if you could pay one fee and get access to dozens of great apps? That’s what the Setapp subscription service offers. You pay monthly or yearly, and while you’re paying, you can use any of the included services.

setapp

These kinds of bundles pop up on the Mac side, but Setapp is available all the time and keeps adding new apps that you can use all for one monthly fee.

Setapp made a name for itself because it doesn’t just provide you with garbage apps no one wants from developers trying to make a name for themselves and can’t get people to buy them. They don’t offer old versions like those British computer magazines used to offer on a disk with the magazine I used to buy at Barnes and Noble. You actually get some established names too.

I subscribed months ago and used it to download some cool utilities and programs on my Mac and even my iPad. We’ll look at the service and the apps and then decide if the price is right. We’ll also list some of the best apps available.

See reviews of other tech products here on our site.

Video Review of Setapp

Here is my video review of the Setapp service from the Theotek YouTube Page. Go there and subscribe if you like this video.

How Does Setapp Work?

Install Setapp on your Mac. There’s a 7-day free trial offer to test it out. I wish they gave a longer trial, like 30 days.

setapp menu bar icon opens a small window showing some apps
Click the Setapp icon in the Menu Bar to show this window.

Run the app, and it puts an icon in your Menu Bar. You can click it, and you’ll see a small popup window. This small window shows apps you can install, or you can open the full app. There’s also a Settings icon in the lower right corner. Use it to close the app or change preferences.

Take a look at all the apps curated in Setapp and install the ones you might find useful. You can also get them on an iPhone or iPad.

Setapp looks like Mac app store
The Setapp app looks a lot like the Mac App Store.

The apps install through the Setapp app, which looks like the Mac App Store. On the left side of the app, there’s a list of categories. A slideshow at the top shows the recommended apps. In the main section of the window, users will see Recommended for you, New arrivals, and Recently updated.

Favorites in Setapp

To see all the apps installed, click on the On this Mac section on the upper left. The Favorites section shows apps you choose as your favorites by clicking on the heart icon next to an app title (see above). Setapp sets up Collections of apps based on the ways you might use apps.

Setapp Collections
Setapp Collections

When you find an app, you might want, click on the app icon to learn more about the app. You can install it from that screen or the previous screen.

Setapp User Interface: Favorites and Installing Apps
Setapp User Interface: Favorites and Installing Apps

Install Apps on iOS

People who want to install apps on their iPhone or iPad can do so by going to the Available on iOS section at the bottom of the list on the left of the Setapp window.

From the iOS section, click on the iOS app button to install on your iPhone or iPad.

Let’s say I want to install the 2Do app on my Mac and iPhone. Install it first on your Mac using the Install button next to the app title. Then you’ll see the iOS app button with a checkmark in the button next to the Install button. Click it to install the app.

Click the iOS app button and you’ll see the QR code ot scan with your iPhone.

Setapp shows you a QR code that links to the app in the iOS App Store. Use your phone’s camera to scan the QR Code. After installing the app on your phone, click on the Next button on Setapp on your Mac. You’ll see another QR Code that unlocks the app on iOS so you now own the app.

Value of the Setapp Service is in the Apps Available

The apps make Setapp worth $10/month or $9/month if you pay annually. I installed only a handful of apps on my Mac, but these apps’ total cost if I bought them separately makes it worth the price. The 2Do app costs $50 alone. That’s half the price of the subscription for a year. I also use Clean My Mac X, which costs $35/year in the app store or $90 for a one-time fee. Those two apps alone make it worth the cost for a year.

The apps I installed on my Mac.

You have to factor in that you must pay every year. So some apps don’t have subscriptions. You pay once and own it. If you only use those kinds of apps, then Setapp might not hold value for you.

I like that I can try out all the apps without paying extra. It’s all you can eat. That’s a good value.

I’ve discovered apps that I love, like News Explorer. It’s an RSS reader, which curates news sites. I can open it and see my favorite blog headlines and open just those I care to read.

Setapp Categories

Setapp contains the following categories:

  • All Apps
  • Lifestyle
  • Creativity
  • Developer Tools
  • Productivity
  • Mac Hacks
  • Writing & Blogging
  • Education
  • Maintenance
  • Task Management
  • Personal Finance
  • Available on iOS

In the lists below, I mention the apps in one category even though some apps show up in multiple categories. For example, Gifox shows up in Lifestyle and Developer Tools. I only list it in the category where it best fits.

Lifestyle Apps Worth Downloading

news explorer is a great RSS reader
News Explorer is a great RSS newsfeed reader for Mac.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite Setapp Apps in Lifestyle:

  • Canary Mail – one of the most popular Mac Email apps.
  • Downie – download videos from video hosting sites.
  • News Explorer – RSS feed reader mentioned above.
  • Photolemur – a nice AI-powered photo editor.
  • Swift Publisher – a powerful desktop publishing app.
  • Touch Retouch – edit photos and remove distracting background people or objects in photos.

Creativity Apps to Look At

cleanmymax x is a great utility to keep your mac clean
Use CleanMyMac X to clean up the junk that eats up your storage space.

Check out these great Creativity apps on Setapp:

  • Cleanshot X – a great screen capture app.
  • FotoMagico Pro – powerful slideshow creation tool that puts your photos into beautiful videos of photo slide shows.
  • GlueMotion – create time lapse videos using your photos.

Developer Tools

I’m no developer but even I find a few of these useful. Give a look to these Setapp Developer Tools apps:

  • Coherence X – turns a website into a Chrome web app, great for Google Chrome browser users who work on a Mac and a Chromebook.
  • Gifox – records screen and saves it as an animated Gif.
  • Marked – write in markdown code and see what it will look like on your website.

Best Productivity Apps on Setapp

For people trying to get some work done, try some of these Productivity apps.

  • 2Do – powerful task manager.
  • BusyCal – a great Calendar replacement that runs from the Menu Bar and supports natural language input.
  • InstaCal – another great calendar app that runs from the Menu Bar. which I like but not as well as BusyCal, but you may disagree so try both out.
  • PDF Search and PDF Pen – two great PDF tools that give you a little more than just using the Preview app for PDF reading, writing, and markup.

Great Mac Hacks Apps

Here’s a list of my favorite Mac Hacks apps:

  • Bartender – a popular tool to keep your Menu Bar from getting too cluttered.
  • Jump Desktop – a great remote computer application, which lets you access another computer over the Internet from your mac and also lets you access the Mac on which you install Jump Desktop.

Writes will Love These Writing & Blogging Apps

Writers of long form documents love the way Ulysses organizes content and makes it easy to write in a distraction-free environment.
Writers of long-form documents love the way Ulysses organizes content and makes it easy to write in a distraction-free environment.

Are you a writer or blogger? Then try out these great apps on Setapp:

  • MarsEdit – turn your blog into a word processor so you can write offline and then upload after you get your text just right.
  • Ulysses – one of the best long document editing tools that helps writers compose their books, screen plays, or other long documents.

Education Apps You’ll Love in Setapp

Educators and students will find these apps useful:

  • MarginNote – a powerful note taking and annotating tool with automation features that make it incredibly useful for students.
  • MindNode – create mind maps to help you organize papers, thoughts, or just study topics.

Cool Maintenance Apps to Make Your Mac Work Better

You can speed up your Mac or make it work more efficiently with these tools:

  • BetterTouchTool – lets you program the Touch Bar on your MacBook Pro.
  • ClearVPN – a basic VPN client that wouldn’t be my first choice, but since it’s here for free to Setapp subscribers, I use it and works.
  • iStatMenus – get more information about your machine with this little Menu Bar app.

Available on iOS

Install the following apps on your iPhone or iPad:

  • 2Do – task manager for Mac and iOS.
  • MindNode – great mind mapper for Mac and iOS.
  • Ulysses – also runs on an iPad.

Conclusion and Recommendation

The last two categories (Task Management and Personal Finance apps) don’t include any apps that weren’t already mentioned in the other categories. That’s why you don’t see them listed above.

Setapp costs $9.99/month. If you buy the one-year subscription, you’ll save $12 for the year. You can get a family subscription that lets you install Setapp on up to 4 machines. That might help if you own more than 2 Macs. People with two will pay an extra $2.49/month for the second Mac. Add an iOS device for $2.49/month.

Try Setapp for one month and see what apps you’ll use. Then do the math to see if the subscription saves you money over a couple of years. The apps I use would cost me hundreds of dollars, so it’s worth paying for 2 Macs and one iPad.

Setapp would be a better deal if the $19.99/month family deal applied to Macs and iOS devices. I’d buy that and install apps on my 2 Macs and my iPhone and iPad.

I like that they add new apps almost every month or two. This increases the value. I’d like to see video demos of the apps inside Setapp. However, the apps include a link to the developer’s website. These sites usually show more information that you get inside Setapp.