Updated macOS - But what about the apps?


I recently moved on up to Mojave. Wow only like 5 years behind! :slight_smile:

My wife has sprung on me making a little video editing job by Tuesday next week, and as I can no longer use my baby Final Cut Pro 7 (primary reason I hadn’t gone beyond Sierra), and FCPX still leaves me bewildered, I figured I’d try out iMovie. Whenever I’ve checked out Macs on display in store, they often have iMovie up and running, and it hasn’t looked half bad for a freebie editing program.

Thing is - although the free Mojave macOS installer updated the OS… and although Apple does not charge for its bundle of lifestyle apps (ie iMovie, Numbers, etc etc) - it doesn’t automatically update those apps to the Mojave editions.

So I figure - there’ll be an option inside the app to update. No.
Go into the App store app and there’ll be an update under the update tab. No.


As I eventually found out, in order to update iMovie (and other free Apple apps) to the latest version (compatible with my computer/OS), this is what you have to do:

  1. Move the app in question to the trash (but do not delete yet, just in case…)
  2. Go into the App store app, and click on your login name on the bottom left corner of the window.
  3. This shows the “Purchased” apps, which should include iMovie etc. Find the app in question, and click the cloud button to download. It may/will ask if you’re happy with the latest applicable version for your OS/machine - depends what you are running.
  4. Sip some champagne whilst waiting for the download to finish.
  5. Go to your Applications folder to see the latest model

(In my case, it actually appeared in Applications whilst it was downloading, but then when the download finished it disappeared and reappeared on the desktop…?! Either way - it was on my computer.)

If you wish you can now delete the old version from trash. Personally, I’ve kept the old one after re-naming it with the version number. Old habit from difficulties years ago trying to find versions of iMovie that could perform particular functions / read particular codecs etc etc.

Repeat above for any other “free” Apple apps. This boosted my iMovies app from v10.0.5 (2014) to v10.1.14 (2019).


I don’t do much video editing so if I do I just use iMovie. I don’t find it very intuitive. There seems to be some good features that are almost hidden away. There are some good tutorials on YouTube.

As you have just found out, the App Store can be a bit of a mystery as well sometimes!

BTW, iMovie on Monterey is 10.3.3.

Coming from FCP7, iMovie is painful. I know they are worlds apart (ie free, and one of Apple’s biggest software packages)… … … not sure what else to say there actually!

I’m guessing in reality I could go higher than 10.1.14 and still have it working on my machine - just that’s as far as the app store wanted to take me. I know previously I’ve looked up and found various different versions from non Apple sources… I just find it particularly annoying that Apple don’t update these apps for you when you upgrade the OS.

I presume the thought is - this way most people will not see an upgrade in the iLife apps until they actually buy an entirely new Mac - making the new Mac experience appear more exciting…

I remember back in the day there was uproar when they drastically updated (or rebuilt or whatever) iMovie. I have to say it was a lot easier & more intuitive for me before they did that…

I believe that the iLife and iWork apps are now treated as normal apps like those from other developers. You download them once from the App Store. Thereafter they are updated like any other app (automatically if you choose).

I am not sure when the transitions from paid apps to system apps to normal apps occurred. It seems to be explained here.

1 Like