For a long time I’ve been keeping an eye out for a specific type of app. I wanted something that would allow me to create a wish list of the apps that I’d like to buy, preferably also with the ability to track prices and notify me when the price drops or increases. The first such app I bought was called PandoraBox [iTunes Link], by AppZap. Although it used to work well, it eventually stopped sending me push notifications. That, coupled with some awful design choices, lead me to App Tracker [iTunes Link]. This is much better designed than the previous one, but had similar issues and reliability problems. Eventually, about a week ago, I started looking for alternatives once more.
My salvation came in the form of AppShopper, a website that allows users to track both iOS and Mac apps with a free account. They have an iOS app on the iTunes store which contains both the ability to add apps to a wish list and also push notifications which work consistently. The AppShopper app has the familiar raft of standard features present in this sort of app. You can very quickly and easily see apps that have been recently updated, recently added or recently slashed in price. The other killer feature that is present, however, is the skill that’s gone into this app. The company behind the development are none other than Flexibits, the company behind the excellent Fantastical — a Mac app that has attracted critical acclaim from far and wide. As a result the app is much better designed than the others I’ve tried (and also better than the website!). If I have one criticism it’s that the search tab is hidden under ‘More’ and there’s no way to move it to the main tab bar; I’d use this more than the What’s New tab, I think, and so I’d love to be able to swap them over.
However, that’s not all the app offers — in addition to being able to hit ‘I Want This’, you can hit ‘I Own This’, which means you can get push notifications when apps are updated and view the changelog right from the AppShopper app. Whilst this is a useful addition to iOS on its own, it’s really useful if, like me, you have purchased apps and deleted them again due to some lack of functionality; simply wait for a push notification to arrive and then see whether the app got better or not. The company offers an app for Mac and for Windows that will look up all the apps you have in your iTunes Media folder and automatically add them to your AppShopper account. This is very useful if you have as many apps as I do!
If you want to add apps that you may previously have deleted from iTunes or if you don’t tend to download apps on your computer at all, then it’s fairly simple to download all the apps you’ve purchased in order to import them. Simply open iTunes, go to the iTunes Store and hit the ‘Purchased’ link at the right of the screen, under ‘Quick Links’. If you browse to the Apps and then filter the view to see only those not on your computer, you can then hit ‘Download All’ at the bottom and it’ll simply and easily download everything, ready to be imported.1
All in all, this is a fantastic app that I am very glad I’ve found. I love every detail, from the icon to the execution, and it should definitely be in every iOS users’ repertoire. Highly recommended.
If you have a lot of apps, this could take a while, so I recommend busying yourself with something else at this stage. ↩