The short of it is Mac App Store apps won’t ask for a serial number. If you’re asked for one, you’ve got a version that isn’t from the Mac App Store. Namely, a trial from our website.
The long of it is the Mac App Store is a one-stop shoppe for finding, purchasing, installing, and updating apps on your Mac – but there’s one thing it doesn’t do and that’s let you try before you buy. That’s OK, you say. You visit our website and download a trial. While you’re kicking the tires you’re asked for a serial number, but you let it pass because you’re just giving it a spin to see if everything works as advertised. Before you know it, the app rocks your world and you can’t live without it. You head back to the Mac App Store, click the Purchase button, and then…nothing noteworthy happens, so you, proud new owner of a copy of a shiny new app, get to using it in earnest.
There’s just one hitch: every time you use the app it keeps asking for a serial number. What’s this? You never got a serial number! You rummage. There, there’s an order number. It doesn’t work. You fluster. Have you been conned? And then you realize the trial is still installed, never replaced by the Mac App Store version because…the Mac App Store is a little dense when it comes to figuring out how to update what’s already installed. It won’t replace non-Mac App Store copies with Mac App Store copies unless the Mac App Store version number is higher and it only gets more confused when it finds multiple copies of the same app (it’ll update one copy but you get to guess which!).
The secret handshake is to remove the trial by dragging its application icon to the Trash before clicking the Mac App Store’s Purchase button. If you’ve already purchased, just drag the application icon to the Trash anyway, go back to the Mac App Store, click the Purchased button at the top of the window, and click the Install button next to the application. That’s it, unless you’re not signed into the Mac App Store with the Apple ID used for your purchase, or the purchase has been hidden in the meantime, or the Mac App Store goes on the blink and you have to try restarting your Mac in between dragging the app to the Trash and purchasing or reinstalling. And note we recommend dragging only the application itself to the Trash. Dragging anything else besides the application icon – or using a third-party uninstaller or “cleaner” app to do the deed – can zap any of the hard work you put into the trial. As long as you just swap out only the application file itself your work should be there waiting for you the next time you fire up the app.
So that’s the short and long of it. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details!