An apparent bug in the Mac App Store is allowing users to update their trial copies of iWork, Aperture and iLife suite apps to the latest retail version for free, as pointed out by 9to5Mac. We have also received tips from our readers claiming this to be true and working for most. What’s strange is that once these apps get updated through the Mac App Store, they’ll show up in your “Purchased” apps list in your iTunes account attached to your Mac.
It seems the way Mac App Store finds copies of the software purchased through other sources is messed up. And since Apple now allows purchased software from other sources to be updated through Mac App Store, the trial versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, Aperture, iWork, iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand are being perceived by the App Store as full purchased copies.
According to 9to5Mac:
This (bug) allows users to install yesterday’s updated apps without having to pay anything.
While the suite is free with the purchase of a new Mac, users on older machines who have never purchased any version of iWork in the past must pay the full price for each app. This bug allows those users to circumvent that process. It’s unlikely that Apple can even fix the issue, since the trial versions of old iWork apps are identical to the retail copies (but require a serial number to activate).
Are you being prompted to update trial apps to retail on your Mac as well?
Update: According to MacTrast, an ‘anonymous contact at Apple’ has responded with the following explanation:
It’s no coincidence that Apple’s support site doesn’t have downloads for the new Aperture, iWork, and iLife updates. They aren’t in our Software Update system either – and there’s a good reason for that. With Mavericks, we have changed the way we distribute updates for legacy versions of our apps
Rather than maintain separate updates for these in addition to the Mac App Store versions of each app, Apple has decided to eliminate their legacy software update system for apps entirely. Instead, when Mavericks discovers legacy apps installed on your Mac, it provisions them as a Mac App Store purchase using your Apple ID. It saves us a lot of time, effort, and bandwidth. After the provision is complete, it will appear in your Mac App Store history as though you have purchased the Mac App Store version of the app.
While we are aware that this enables piracy of our apps for unethical users, Apple has never taken a strong stance or action against piracy in the past. We like to believe that our users are honest, even if that belief is in vain.