The little iWork ’13 mystery solved


iWork 13

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading MacStories’ Overview: Apple Updates iLife and iWork Apps, Makes Them Free for New Customers, and this bit in particular caught my eye, near the end of the article:

If you purchased iWork or iLife in a box (iWork or iLife ’09): You probably have either because you have an older Mac. You’ll have to purchase the new versions in the Mac App Store unless you buy a new Mac. As Macworld reports, this isn’t the case as it’s a bug in Apple’s system. Customers who purchased iWork and iLife ’09 and up on disc should be able to upgrade via the Purchased tab in the Mac App Store. Older versions of the software will require paid updates.

Both the article at MacStories and the linked Macworld article made me wonder. Could I be eligible for a free update of the iWork suite, having received it in bundle when I purchased my MacBook Pro in July 2009? On the one hand I was thinking: Well, I haven’t purchased a Mac ‘on or after October 1, 2013’, so the Mac App Store is right and I should purchase the updated apps at full price. On the other I was also thinking that maybe I was eligible and that I was affected by the issue Macworld mentions in this bit:

If you own iLife ’11 or iWork ’09 apps for the Mac but did not purchase them from the Mac App Store: You should be able to download the latest versions for free by going to the Mac App Store and tapping Update, though you may need to first visit the Purchases screen, where you might see a box called “You Have [number] Apps to Accept.” This ties apps you have on your computer to both your Apple ID and a hardware identifier on your computer, and it should allow you to download free updates to these programs from any computer associated with your Apple ID.

Some users (including yours truly) are reporting issues where the Mac App Store doesn’t recognize their copies; when they click on an iLife or iWork app’s price, they receive the following alert: “[App] is already installed and was not purchased from the Mac App Store. Do you want to buy [app]?” Macworld spoke with an Apple spokesperson who noted that there’s currently an issue with some legacy customers, and the company is working on a fix. That fix appears to have been implemented; on Thursday, several users told Macworld that they were getting the Accept Apps prompt.

A few people in the comments, equally affected by this issue, talked about a workaround to fix it: make sure that English is set as your primary language in OS X Mavericks, restart the Mac, download the iWork Update 9.3 and re-apply it (even if you already did in the past), and when you go back to the Mac App Store you’ll see the new iWork apps as pending free updates.

Well, I did just that and it worked for me. Now even the Aperture 3.5 Update shows up.

Your mileage may vary, but I just wanted to share and clarify that, yes, if you regularly bought a boxed copy of iWork ’09 or if it came bundled with your Mac even if you purchased it as far back as 2009, you should get the updated iWork suite for free.

I haven’t updated yet, but I’m told that the update doesn’t overwrite your old iWork ’09 apps.[1] Which is a good thing, considering the loss of certain features. It’s also a good thing because users can take a look at the new iWork ’13 and familiarise with the new interface of Pages, Numbers and Keynote, but they can go back to the old versions if they need backward compatibility or if the new versions are a bit too streamlined for their tastes.



  • 1. Confirmed: the new versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are placed in the Applications folder, while the older versions remain in their previous location, in /Applications/iWork ’09.


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