Mac App Store FAQ

You may have noticed that Scrivener and Scapple are both available from the Mac App Store. If you have questions about our Mac App Store (MAS) presence, you've come to the right place.

What is the difference between the version on the site and the Mac App Store version?

There are no major differences for most common purposes, besides the obvious differing methods in how registration and updates are handled. If you're struggling to decide where to purchase your software, you can find a list of factors to consider in this article.

Will you be going Mac App Store-exclusive?

No. We will continue to sell the Mac version of Scrivener directly through our website, in the same way we sell our Windows version. The Mac App Store will just be an alternative way for customers to buy Scrivener for those who prefer the ease of managing and installing applications that the App Store brings. Our own store (provided by Paddle) gives us more control over our customer database and involves us paying less commission; it also allows us to provide student discounts and promotional codes (for events such as NaNoWriMo) in ways that the App Store does not, so it wouldn't make sense for us to go Mac App Store-exclusive.

What are the system requirements for the Mac App Store version?

Like the web store version, Scrivener 3 requires macOS 10.13 or newer to run.

I can't find Scrivener in the Mac App Store in my country - where is it?

Unfortunately, we aren't able to offer Scrivener on the Mac App Store in every country for tax reasons. Under the terms of the Mac App Store developer agreement, Apple does not take responsibility for paying sales taxes in every country. They specify a list of countries for which the responsibility for paying sales taxes to governments is left to the developer. We contacted Apple for clarification on this, and they told us to speak to an accountant; we already had, and our accountant advised us not to sell into those countries unless we were prepared to deal with the individual taxation demands of 60-odd countries each year. Unfortunately, we just don't have the resources at this time to do so, especially when we already have a direct sales channel on our store that takes care of all of this (Paddle, who run our web store, deal with sales taxes for every country they pay into). Thus, for the time being, we are unable to make Scrivener available on the Mac App Store in New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Norway, Russia and a number of other countries. If Apple clarifies the situation or takes responsibility for sales tax in these countries in the future, or if we gain the resources to deal with such things ourselves, we will of course make Scrivener available everywhere that we can - it is with great regret that we are unable to sell into these countries via the App Store at this time. That said, remember that if you are in any of those countries, you can still buy from us directly at our web store.

If I already own Scrivener, will the Mac App Store recognise it and allow me to update it from there in future?

If you already have Scrivener on your system, the App Store may recognise Scrivener as "Installed". However, it will not allow you to update Scrivener, because there is no way for the App Store to recognise it as a licensed copy because the App Store uses its own licensing scheme.

I have already bought Scrivener from your web store but I like the idea of having the App Store version for easy updates - can I cross-grade to change my version to the Mac App Store one?

Unfortunately not, sorry. The Mac App Store uses Apple's own licensing scheme and there is no way to transfer existing licences across. But don't worry, the regular version of Scrivener has fairly painless updates (it checks for updates every day - or whatever interval you have set in the preferences if you've changed it - or when you go to Scrivener > Check for Updates...), and regular users will most likely receive updates up to a fortnight before Mac App Store users, on account of how long it can take for Apple to approve important bug fixes.

I want to buy Scrivener from the Mac App Store but when I go to do so, the App Store tells me that it's already "Installed".

If you have downloaded the trial version in the past, it may be that the App Store sees it sitting in your Applications folder and so reports it as "Installed". If so, just move Scrivener from your Applications folder to the trash and then close and reopen the App Store.

I want to buy from the Mac App Store but I would like to try Scrivener before I commit to buying. Is there a trial for the Mac App Store version?

The trial version available on our website will reflect the Mac App Store version in most regards (refer to the first answer in this article for further detail on the differences). If you purchase from us, you will be able to do so conveniently from within the application itself, and the demo version will unlock immediately. If instead you decide to buy from the Mac App Store, you will need to move the trial version of Scrivener to the trash and visit the App Store to purchase and download the MAS version (if it still shows Scrivener as installed, you may need to restart the Mac App Store).

Is the Mac App Store version of Scrivener as up-to-date as the direct sale version?

Both the regular and Mac App Store versions of Scrivener are built from exactly the same code base, so every change, bug fix or refinement we make affects both. The website version will be uploaded to our site and made immediately available through Scrivener's automatic updater. The Mac App Store version will be submitted for review only after we have ensured the direct sale version has no major bugs. This, along with Apple's own approval process, which can at times be lengthy, can mean you should expect updates to be delayed anywhere up to a week on the Mac App Store.

Scrivener seems expensive compared to a lot of apps on the Mac App Store?

We believe that we charge a fair price for Scrivener, given the richness of its feature-set and the years that have gone into developing it. More importantly, when you purchase Scrivener it is a one-time fee, for which you will receive feature and maintenance updates for as long as we continue to maintain that version (the previous version of Scrivener gave seven years of free upgrades). Some programs will charge you monthly, often to obscure how expensive the software is if you calculate how much you must spend every year in order to continue using it. In some cases if you stop paying up you can lose access to your data as well. We firmly believe that what you create with our software is your own, to do with as you see fit and to the full capabilities it was designed to, for as many years as you choose to use our software.

We also believe that the existing price point is a good balance - it is not cheap enough to encourage "impulse-purchasing" but is cheap enough that most struggling writers should be able to afford it (after all, it costs less than a curry with a round of beers). Scrivener has a slight learning curve and is quite a "deep" application, so we don't want to set the price at a point that will encourage people to buy without trying first and then find that it wasn't what they were expecting.

I'm a student/teacher - how can I get an educational discount on the Mac App Store?

Unfortunately Apple currently provides no educational pricing system for the Mac App Store, so it is not possible to provide educational discounts if you buy from there. Instead, you should buy from us direct, where you will get a 15% discount - just choose the educational licence when purchasing from our web store.

I have Scrivener 2.x and want to upgrade to Scrivener 3 - can I upgrade to the Mac App Store version?

The only way to buy from the Mac App Store is by paying full price - if you own 2.x, you cannot get 3 at the discounted price from the App Store because it will not recognise you as a 2.x customer (the App Store currently has no concept of update pricing at all, in fact - we're really hoping that changes in the future). Instead, please email us at with a proof of purchase and we will send you a discount coupon that you can use to purchase Scrivener 3 from our store.

If I have the Mac App Store version, can I still download public betas to test out bug-fixes?

Yes, you can do this. The developer of MarsEdit posted an ingenious way of having the non-Mac App Store version recognise a MAS-customer as a registered customer, so as of version 2.0.6 App Store customers have been able to download public betas and bug fixes for testing, just as regular customers. (Doing so would switch your version to the non-MAS version until you downloaded again from the App Store, though, so most users will never want to do this - this is purely for the technical-minded who want to try out bug fixes and betas.)

I've got a coupon code - can I use it to get Scrivener from the Mac App Store?

No. Unless explicitly told otherwise, coupons only work when purchasing through our regular store. The Mac App Store does not allow developers to generate discount coupons (except for 100 free coupons for beta-testers with every release), so it's not possible for us to distribute Mac App Store discount coupons or freebies.

Can I get the Windows version on the Mac App Store?

Er, no. Honestly, you made-up people with your made-up enquiries do ask some silly questions.