What's the best way to get Mac apps for free? How can I find out about Mac software that has had a price drop or is temporarily free?

The cost of Mac software and applications soon adds up, but there are ways to get paid-for Mac apps for free. In this article we're going to show you how.

How to get Mac apps for free: Setapp app subscription service

Setapp is a newly announced service that provides Mac software on a Netflix-style subscription basis.

You sign up to the service and pay a flat fee each month. This then gives you access to a library of what the firm calls "hand-picked" Mac software - the idea being that there is a degree of curation so you don't get quite as much filler as on the main Mac App Store. You should always take such claims with a pinch of salt, of course, but the selection does appear to be quite decent. (There's a full list here, and you can make suggestions of your own.)

How to get paid-for Mac apps for free

In any case, you can see for yourself how good the app offering really before spending any money, because the best thing, from the point of view of freebie hunters, is that the service offers a free trial lasting one month.

Sign up for your free trial - and read more details about the subscription service - on the Setapp website.

How to get Mac apps for free: Setapp

How to get Mac apps for free: App of the week

Each week Apple selects an app that is normally paid for, and offers it temporarily for free. This is most well known on the iOS App Store, where you have only to scroll through the carousel of featured apps at the top of the store to find whatever has been selected for the week (at time of writing it's Angry Birds Space). But in the past Apple has done similar offers on the Mac App Store.

We can't see any such offers on the Mac App Store right now, but we've not heard any official announcement that the scheme has been ended. So check the store's carousel (the main featured apps at the top of the window) to see if there are any free apps to choose from: they will have a little 'Free app of the week' label.

How to get Mac apps for free: Free apps on the Mac App Store

While it's unclear if the Mac App Store is going to carry on offering a (temporarily) free app each week, it does still have an extensive selection of apps that are permanently free.

Open the Mac App Store, and check the list of links down the righthand side. Click 'Great Free Apps & Games' to see Apple's curated selection of freebies.

How to get Mac apps for free

Alternatively, check the charts for a list of the free Mac apps and games that are currently proving most popular. Below the list of links on the righthand side of the front page of the Mac App Store you'll see, first, a chart of the top 10 Paid apps, and then a list of the top 10 freebies (click See All for more).