Is it possible to earn money with Mac applications?

I’ve been coding out of passion since I was 16 (I’m 50 today). I love Xojo. I am wondering if it is possible to earn income with an app on macStore. Are there freelance developers here or do you only work for companies?

Yes it is.
Only you know how much you ‘need’
many struggle to give software away.
Some make a living.
Usually its somewhere in between… nice to have but not much to write home about


The AppStore is a pain. There are only a few big winners and the rest don’t earn that much. And apps in the AppStore are castrated.


Thanks @Beatrix_Willius can you explain why ?

a) Please check the forum for stories about apps that were rejected for spurious reasons. Getting through the review process is always different and sometimes very annoying.

b) Most apps don’t make very much. The way Apple shows the apps only very few apps make a lot of money.

c) Inside the AppStore apps are very restricted at what they can do. AppleScript for instance is a no-go.

I have a not-restricted version of my app outside of the AppStore. The AppStore version is more available so that users can find my app and use the non-MAS version. The MAS version is about 10% of the non-MAS version.

I don’t want to discourage you. The AppStore has it’s place. Just don’t put all eggs in one basket.

If you want to develop an app you need to check first if you can solve a problem. Does anyone have a “bleeding neck”? Do your customers have money?


Earn money ? hm,… I have earn $7K dollar on my apps… but that is from Nov 2013 til today…
Not much to live of… but it pays some bills for my hobby. :slight_smile:

seach the app store for tjelta and you see my small apps… all made in Xojo.


If you can find a niche and own it, you can make money. You don’t necessarily have to be first into the niche, you “just” need to be the best. That’s easier said than done of course.


Marketing Mac applications is not as easy as it was 10 years ago. This is an area you will need to spend a considerable chunk of time or money if you want to earn a living from developing Mac applications.

I have a short page with some tips that can help, but I don’t have a solid plan for anyone to follow.


Totally agree, make your apps available on both the Mac App Store and your own website.

One of my applications (donationware since the end of 2009) generated more than 20 k€. It is shareware since last year. It’s a hobby but it take many time, I have to pay Xojo and some other softwares to developp (picture editing etc.).
I hesitated to put my application game Mastermind on the AppStore but people here alerted me of copyright problem. We spoke about that on another forum and I never received any answer from Hasbro :frowning: . If I thought I would earn money I would have try again and again.

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I have been selling Mac software shareware for decades. I started on the Mac App Store back in 2013. Although it has somewhat lost its luster through the years, it is still a profitable sales channel. unless your software does very strange things, adapting an app to the MAS is fairly simple. You got to get a developer account with Apple ($90 a year), and sign the program either command line(a pain), or with the excellent App Wrapper that Sam Rowlands created (see

That said, I also sell my software through my own web site. Strangely enough, not all users buy on the App Store. Make sure to have a demo version, and have it distributed to all software repositories by

Today, I am porting some of my apps to iOS and Android.


I am afraid that it is almost impossible to make a living from selling Mac applications nowadays. 20 years ago the situation was entirely different but now the vast majority of small developers earn hardly several hundred dollars per month. 20 years ago I sold a lot of copies of Mac applications (outside the App Store obviously), now hardly anyone buys them. (You can search the App Store for macmedia to see them.)

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I have never submitted any app on the Mac AppStore so my point of view might be biased.
I strongly believe that it is easier to make a living selling apps on the iOS app store than on the Mac App store nowadays.

I released a dozen apps on the iOS App Store in the past 5 years and got more than 4 million downloads. Sale figures will not be shared but they are very good.


Everyone’s experience varies. There are very many highly successful Mac-only developers. Of course how successful depends on the quality of the product, the size of the market, and the competition. FWIW, I’ve been selling my Xojo-based app (from my own web site) for many years, and have been earning more than enough to live on very comfortably with no marketing other than a twice-yearly sale in conjunction with a group of other (successful) independent Mac-only developers.


Like you but a little earlier in 2010 I had been coding for about 40 years and had a range of useful programs that I had developed for work. I also wondered wondered whether they would sell. So I started putting IOS apps on the IOS App store in 2010 and Mac apps on the Mac app store in 2011. I now have 4 IOS apps and 10 Mac apps. I have made a total of $ 5640! since 2010. The simplest and most boring app made $4650 the other 13 apps have made about $1000!! Clearly I am not in it for the money. However, I have enjoyed doing it especially the battles with those annoying App store reviewers. So I would recommend you give it a go. Otherwise you will never know if you can make a fortune.


Hello @Jonathan_Ashwell can you send a link to your website?

Sure. It’s not very spiffy, I’m afraid (to paraphrase Emperor Joseph II’s comment to Mozart in Amadeus, too many words).


Just my 2cents: a modern website would trigger more sales for sure.

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I don’t know if that’s true or not, but a more modern web site is certainly desirable. It’s something I’ve been planning to get around to, but haven’t yet.


You may want to list your demo version at They can make sure it is displayed on hundreds of software repositories.

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