ExactScan leaves the Mac App Store and 'all its problems'

(Image credit: ExactCode)

What you need to know

  • ExactScan is no longer in the Mac App Store.
  • Developer ExactCode says the store isn't good for developers or users.
  • The "Catalina disaster" is also cited as a reason for the app's removal.

Apple's Mac App Store has had its fair share of problems and detractors in recent years, with many high profile apps simply unavailable. That's started to improve since the Mac App Store's redesign as part of the macOS Mojave update in 2018 and some apps returned. But now one has left, too.

ExactScan is a Mac app that's built to make it easier for people and businesses to go paperless by scanning all of their documents. And itw as previously available in the Mac App Store. And now it isn't.

ExactCode, developer of ExactScan, has confirmed that it has removed the app from the Mac App Store. It's also published a page explaining the reasoning with the lack of paid upgrades, Apple's 30% cut, and its app review process included.

  • each manual update review by Apple causes delay and drama
  • AppStore does not support paid upgrades, only new App, in-App purchase or subscriptions
  • Apple takes 30% and that is not sustainable to run a company and pay salleries
  • it is not provide to provide free updates forever
  • if you purchased our application this year we provide a direct license, if you had it significantly
  • longer, we think a paid upgrade is fair for continuously developing, improvements, and support

That's the short version. But while most of that has been hashed out time and time again by almost all developers who work with any of Apple's stores, Catalina appears to have been the straw that broke this metaphorical camel's back. Particularly, the seemingly rushed release with little time to allow developers to react.

With macOS 10.15 "Catalina" Apple introduced many incompatibilities and we where actually left with the impression that Apple will address some of them as well as some more bugs before releasing Catalina to the public.After releasing the Catalina Golden Master build to developers on October the 3rd, we immediately finished fixing any new crash and issue we could find over the weekend. In our opinion, leaving developer just four (4!) days over a weekend with a public release on October the 7th is not very professional. While we still updated our applications in time, Apple did not review them for the AppStore, and instead rejected them first for a crash (sigh!), and later for requiring UI changes, including showing a Save As panel for each generated file. Now this may not sound like much, this is a serious issue for a document scan application which easily generates hundreds of files in an hour, and thousands of files a day, with file names automatically generated, either thru counters, or advanced auto-id features, such as barcodes.

You can read the full fallout from ExactCode, but the story is one we've heard time and time again. It's unlikely most of this is going to change any time soon, but I do wonder if this will be the start of a new Mac App Store exodus with developers taking their apps and selling them solely through their own webstores.

I'm most curious about the only part of this that's new, though. If you're a developer who fell foul of Apple's macOS Catalina launch schedule and have a story to tell, hit us up!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Well, rumours are saying that in Spring 2020 Apple will take the next step and force also Mac users to install via App Store only, as it is on iOS and iPadOs already. I can hardly imagine, but lately Apple did quite some things I could hardly imagine before they did it.
    Anyway, then what? What will companies like ExactCode do then? And will users accept it? I surely wouldn't. I came from Windows a while ago, but I would find my way back.
  • As we are already not satisfied by Mac hardware (soldered ssd, memory, mid sized Pro workstation, stuck keyboards) we already ported ExactScan to Windows and Linux since 5 years as a side project: https://exactscan.com/universal/ If Apple forces us to only use the AppStore we likely contact our and EU government, and if users are still interested could bring such an annoying "asking the user to reconfirm each filename" AppStore edition variant. I don't see that coming too quickly though, and if it does more and more professional users will turn elsewhere anyway.
  • Apple won't force users to install via the Mac App Store, and even if they did, there would be a toggle to turn it off
  • “Exactscan”?! Never heard of you. I think you’d be better served to spend your energy on marketing than complaining about the platforms you need to survive.
  • Sorry that I did not start my company with the legacy of IBM or Apple. ExactScan exists since around 2005, and despite now supporting 500 professional document scanners with built-in drivers, OCR and other image processing, most news sites never write about it when we send Press Releases around. Guess it's not cool and shiny enough as Apple, Google or Microsoft news, ..! :-/
  • “Apple takes 30% and that is not sustainable to run a company and pay salleries” Or, hire proofreaders and people skilled in the English language! Wonder if their scanner program includes OCR and what it would do with “salleries”?! Hint: It's “salaries”...
  • Not to mention: "it is not provide to provide free updates forever" But seriously. The Mac App Store makes the Windows 10 app store look robust. If Apple thinks they can force people to use only store apps, they are dreaming. MacOS is not iOS. Microsoft has tried this (twice!) and both have failed. Windows 10S was a failure, as was RT before it. There is simply no reason to expect people to ignore software they have been using for years (decades even), just because Apple (or Microsoft) did not "bless" it. If Apple is planning to kill the Mac, then this would be a quick and easy way to do it. Otherwise, "rumours are saying that in Spring 2020 Apple will take the next step and force also Mac users to install via App Store only" are just dumb rumors.
  • "The Mac App Store makes the Windows 10 app store look robust" Not really, the Windows App Store is a mess, the Mac App Store works well from a consumer point of view. And they are just dumb rumors, Apple has never limited anyone from doing anything on their Mac on the software side, even if it's a default setting there would be a toggle to turn it off