I spent $1800 on iOS and Mac App Store apps in 2012

I spent $1800 on iOS and Mac App Store apps in 2012

One of the very few highlight of an otherwise arduous tax season is adding up all the iTunes receipts in my inbox and finding out how much I spent on iOS and Mac App Store apps the previous year. For 2012, that number turned out to be something just north of $1800.

The most expensive was Lightroom at $150, which turned into $175 after Quebec and Canada were done with it. The least expensive, of course, were just $0.99. Remarkably little went to in-app purchases, almost none to in-app game purchases.

Obviously, I'm not still using all the apps I bought last year. Some were for very specific uses, and those uses are done. Others were simply to try out. The paid apps I stuck with, and still use the most, include Launch Center Pro, Tweetbot for iPad, Tweetbot for Mac Fantastical for iPhone, Letterpress, Coda 2 Diet Coda, Paper, and Drafts for iPhone, Drafts for iPad, and, of course, OS X Mountain Lion.

I don't regret buying any of them, however. Not any more than I regret buying a TV show or movie I watch only once or a few times, or a fussy caffeinated beverage I enjoy for a moment and is then gone forever. Apps almost always save me far more time than they cost me money, and as experiences go, games are both among the most incredible money can buy, and these days, among the cheapest.

I still wish developers would Jury-up and charge more, and users would pay more, and Apple allowed for demos or trials or a short grace period for refunds so it would take the risk out of developers charging more appropriate prices for their work. Absent all that, I'll likely be once again stuffing $10 into their pockets come WWDC so they can make me more fantastic apps and I can sleep better at night.

If you have a rough idea how much you spent on apps last year, let me know, and let me know which ones you're still using, and whether or not you plan to do anything differently this year?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

I spent $1800 on iOS and Mac App Store apps in 2012


I spent about 45 dollars which were for my IPad and it was for IWorks which was 30 or so then a PDF reader which was ten then a few other smaller apps.

I've been on Android (not iOS, flame if you want). I haven't run a tally, but if it's even $50 I'd be surprised. I'd guess it would be closer to $35-40. I don't "need" a lot of apps, and generally I run with free/ad-supported versions unless I really really want the "full/ad-free" version of whichever app. Ones I can think of: Poweramp, Weatherbug Elite, AccuWeather Pro, Apex Launcher Pro, and a few 99 cent purchases.

I totaled the amount i spent and it's 110$ and some change. I should mention this is on android although that may be obvious because of my username.lol have a nice day people here at imore

$1800! HOLY CRAP! That's a lot of apps bro. You might have a problem. JK. I'm assuming a good chunk were for reviews or something. I can't imagine spending that much on just buying new apps and not in-app purchases. In your case I'm sure a lot of it is just part of the job.

Does that include iTunes? I probably spent a couple hundred on music last year. Apps probably less than ten dollars.

On a husband/wife shared account we have spent ~$300 per year.

Pro tip: Take advantage of the discounts on iTunes gift cards when you can, to save money. For a few years now I've been buying the gift cards for $85 for a $100 gift card at Best Buy when they have a sale. I know once I was able to get a $100 card for only $80 but I haven't seen that deal again (or missed it). The guaranteed day I have seen this deal is Black Friday but there are other times as well. They even do free shipping if you order online (if their e-gift cards are "sold out") AND you get Best Buy Rewards Card points for these puchases.

The Walmarts in California (southern and could be limited to my specific area, not sure though) usually offer the $100 iTunes gc for $80. When they don't it's only for about 1-2 weeks then back to the deal again for about 2-3 weeks. I wish it was another store that did this because I f'n hate Walmart and all its bs.

I spent roughly $300 last year on apps, music, movies and mountain lion. I didn't include iTunes Match in that amount. With my ipad mini, and iPhone 5 purchases, apple has easily gotten $1200 out if me over the past year. I think I have a problem haha.

I spent about 100 dollars, an the paid apps that i still using more is probably infinity blade, full fitness an others, and sometimes people should be aware how much they spent, i mean there are people who spend more than 2000$ dollars a year, which is stupid, they don't even use all those apps

All my apps are free.......I know I'm a cheapo. I did spend less than $20 on iTunes. most songs...0.69,0.99 or 1.29.

Had a lightning cable get frayed and working intermittently and the apple store rep told me to bring it in for a free swap.

I'll 2nd the call for demos, Rene. That is one feature I miss from Android. Charge more for apps if you want to but..let us try them out before with full features. Hell, Cydia allows for this, how does the official App Store not? Makes zero sense to me.

I'm nowhere near 1800, but I definitely am around 1000. Mostly because of OSx apps I need for school and my major. Like all of iWork, Adobe Photoshop and inDesign. Not to mention my ongoing obsession with searching for the best to-do app, so I've bought everything from 2do, to appigo todo, to omnifocus..

I think if you add that to all the apps I bought in Cydia and the iOS app store, I'm at around 1000 per year. But all my apps are definitely worth the money, like you said, because of how much more convenient they make my life.

I'd say I've spent a good $300 or so on apps. It's the odd and simple convenience ones I still have and use the most. Soundhound was probably 1.99 when I bought it to show off to my brother, that kind of thing. Launchcenter pro was worth the money. I hate deleting the paid apps, but I also hate seeing an app I paid for just sit there unused. Echo the trial period call.

Wow. Just, wow! I must be doing something wrong! For 2012, I spent a whopping $4.00 dollars! Look out ladies... BIG SPENDER here!

I spent upward of $500. Most of the apps were worth every penny. The main apps Omni Focus for iPad, iPhone and Mac, Bento for iPad and Mac, Omni outliner, and 1 password to name few. Some of the best apps ever!

I'm probably at around $150-200 for last year. If I were to count ebooks, movies, TV shows and Audible it's easily $1200.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of about $570 to $600 between iOS, Google Play, Windows 8 for $49 (just to try it, I'm not impressed still), & Mac apps. Hey, you gotta spend the paycheck on something right? I'm not afraid to reward developers for their hard work.

Now iTunes & Google Play music... That is outrageously high with 5 smartphones (mine, wife's, 3 kids) & numerous iPods around the house. $1000 probably more if I add it all up... Which I'm afraid to do.

Not including iBooks, Music, or Videos, I'm a little over $150 in the last 6 months. Couldn't bear to go through the rest of my iTunes Receipt emails.

Plus 1 on the free trials or demos or grace periods. Other than that I already had most of the apps I use the most so I probably spent about ~$100 in 2012. But I also use App Shopper, AppZapp Pro, and Apps Gone Free apps and check them nearly daily for apps I want that have gone on sale, or better yet, are being offered free for a period of time. Saves a ton on app expenses.

That's fricken crazy!!! I've spent a grand total of $3.96 in total over about two years. I've got over 100 apps and all but 4 are free. The messed up thing is honestly, though all 4 are fine apps 1 of them has perfectly adequate free apps just as good, thus it was kinda a waste of 99 cents but not a big deal.

Too bad you can't pass down the apps you have accumulated to your children when you die, like when you accumulate other things. I heard Willis was suing Apple because he wants to leave his apps in his will.

I don't think I've spent any money this year and very little last year. I have many paid apps but I got them all long ago.

I haven't spent a dime on apps or iTunes. I what you're thinking, what a cheap ass. But it'll be a different story once I'm out of the student zone and get a job. I'll let you know how much I spend on apps, music, movies, etc. per year then! Lol...

I easily spent $500-$600 last year, probably more. I travel a lot so I end up buying a lot of movies and apps to keep myself entertained.

You can't be serious about charging more right? Not everyone can write off their itunes purchases, so believe it or not but a price increase would just encourage more app piracy.

But i do agree that apple would implement some kind of "try before you buy" policy. Some apps do offer a free version to try but they're just watered down versions, missing alot of functionality, so it still isn't the same thing.

How do you expect the developers to contnue to produce and support these apps that everyone loves? They have bills to pay to. This race to the bottom will drive the good developers out and leave us with crap apps. Seriously, stop and think a moment on what you spend money on and how much time you spend with whatever that was. A couple bucks for a good app that gets support and you use once or twice a day for a year is money well spent. The price of software now is so rediculously cheap. I remember spending hundreds for games and productivity software just a few short years ago!

I really do not want to know the amount I spent on apps this year. It wasn't nearly what you spent, but there is definitely a small fortune spent on apps.

I've only spent $200 in the past six months, I'm not sure about anything past that since my bank won't let me search that far back.

I honestly thought it would be way more than that. Most of them are just $4.99 or less apps.

That doesn't include iBooks or any movie rentals (those would probably add another $30 to $50 (mostly books).

So Reneee, you are all for $10 apps? Why not just donate to the developer? Instead of wanting all users to pay a much higher price.
Oh, and not sure if you are aware that most users are not able to write of the cost of purchasing the apps like you are doing.

He's not advocating us all paying a much higher price, he's advocating paying for what you get. When what you get is free and chock full of annoying ads, give me an option to make all of that go away. I said it earlier, stop and look at all the money you spend in a week and how long whatever that was lasted then compare that to what you pay for an app. The value of time can not be over estimated. $3 for coffee that lasts 15 minutes or $1.99 for an app that I'll use a time or two every day for a year? No contest.

You must have a 64GB iPhone. $1,800 in apps? How many of those are games? Was any of that in app purchases in games? I can see spending on in app purchases in games. It's difficult to control if you're into gaming and can't get to the next level without some in app purchases, but $1,800? WOW.

Fro all those who are shocked at the $1800 number, remember this is for the Mac as well. Software prices really haven't dropped on the Mac as much as it did on iOS.

Although I'm getting a little tired of people bitching about changing the formula for one of the most successful platforms of all times. It's like they want iOS to go back to dark days of the Mac where everything was expensive. Thankfully most of those developers got swept under the rug with iOS.

Presently I have 3200 apps. That is the main reason I have the 128 GB Ipad. I needed more storage.

Last year I spent about $1000 on apps. Apps for my iMac are my most expensive. I do however hate the fact that Apple won't let me see all of my ipad apps under the 'Purchased' section of the app store on my iPad. Someone said there was a limit to the amount of apps that can be shown. Fortunately, I can see them on my Mac but it would be nice to have this available on the ipad as well.

Well if you want to compare Apple,s to Apple's .When that's what you do for a living, and need to buy stuff for your job, I've spent way more money than that on things I needed for my job that I may have only used once or just wanted to try. It would mean a lot more if Rene was just a regular person. Did you get to write them off?

This web site/app makes me buy more apps than anywhere else! I have a lot of apps (coda!) on your list I still really want to buy. I think that Apple will have to be very smart on how they add trials because Say I made a Guitar tuner App and it was not as accurate as competitor tuner apps are so I have to charge less. No one would buy the app if they could download the free/trial app, use the tool and delete it until they needed that tool or any other free but capable app again. Apple would have to enable analytics to tell who is trying what app and how many times. If apps had a 24hr time limit, People could download, tune a guitar in that time and then delete. If apps only had a one time use, I'll try plenty of other free/trial apps. Apple can't ask developers to dance between trial vs own features. If I want to sell the app I made, I would have to show the public why the app is good in the trial without being too useful and letting them fully use it to where they never need to pay? I can't see Apple putting developers in this dance or in a place where their products could be compromised. People seem to always take the free shortcut if provided. So no. no trials ever. wow sorry I guess I had to get that out. I probably don't make sense anyway. Thanks. haha @Rene

Looking at Mac and iOS apps; I stopped counting after I passed $400. If I continued and added in Music, TV and Movies - I wouldn't want to hazard a guess.