Beta of “Setapp Mobile” for the iPhone starts: This is what awaits you!

Starting today, May 14, 2024, the beta version of Setapp Mobile be tested. Setapp Mobile is an alternative app marketplace for the Apple iPhone that can be used within the EU. According to the provider MacPaw (known for CleanMyMac, Setapp, ClearVPN and more), over 17.000 interested parties have registered for the beta program. I was able to test the app marketplace for two weeks as part of a closed beta. Below you will find my experiences from the Setapp Mobile test as well as the answers to some questions that came up during it - answered by MacPaw.

Install Setapp Mobile as an alternative app marketplace on the iPhone

During the beta test, it is still necessary to create a separate account with Setapp to download and use Setapp Mobile. However, MacPaw confirmed to me that the existing account can be used for the final version of the offer. You can set up the new account on your iPhone directly before the download process (for example, logging in with Apple is quite quick). Once you have read all the relevant pages and information, you can download Setapp Mobile directly to your iPhone via Safari.

As already in the AltStore PAL test As shown, after the download request you first have to go to the iPhone's settings, enable the download and installation of the app marketplace and only then can you continue in Safari. This is not an individual disadvantage of Setapp Mobile, but rather a limitation on Apple's part. Be that as it may, the download of Setapp Mobile can now start – Apple throws in a few more hints and displays. Once you have agreed to everything, the installation finally starts. A Mac or PC is not necessary.

The app selection in Setapp Mobile on the iPhone

A colorful bouquet of apps is already included in the closed beta. I can well imagine that even more will be available to choose from when the final version of Setapp Mobile is officially released. But the MacPaw offering is already the most promising alternative app marketplace on iOS to date. During my closed beta test, the offering consisted of these apps (developers in brackets):

  • ClearVPN: VPN service for more anonymous Internet connections (MacPaw)
  • CleanMy®iPhone: Clearing out help for the Apple smartphone (MacPaw)
  • Downie: Allows you to download videos from the web and apps (Charlie Monroe Software)
  • Item list: Scanning and assigning objects in collections, warehouses, garages, workshops, etc. (Damjan Dabo)
  • Side Notes: Note app with color coding, link storage, and more (Apptorium)
  • Focused Work: Timer and focus app with the ability to block websites and apps during the countdown, e.g. B. can be used for the Pomodoro technique (Michael Tigas)
  • Mindr: Set up reminders and to-do content including timer/countdown as widgets (Florian Vates)
  • MonAi: Financial overview with voice input and other AI functions for more comfortable use (Florian Vates)
  • task heat: Converting to-do lists into flowcharts with notifications for deadlines and the ability to delegate tasks to team members (Eyen Sarl)
  • Subjects: Digital timetable including homework book, grade overview and team work aid for group tasks (Eyen Sarl)
  • Optics: Comprehensive camera app with manual settings for focus, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, etc. (Optika)
  • Basic beauty: Organizational aid for the beauty routine including a directory for care products, etc. (Yaroslav Voloshyn)
  • NeatNook: Organizational aid for apartment and house cleaning with 300+ checklists, individually created schedules, planning aid for families and shared apartments, graphical overview, etc. (Yaroslav Voloshyn)

You can see that the offer already includes 13 apps. And these can largely be assigned to the “productivity” category. But MacPaw’s ClearVPN service and the “Optika” camera app are also included. A promising start in my opinion.

I tried these apps: ClearVPN, Downie and Itemlist

But an app store doesn't make a smartphone. Of course, it depends on the apps offered and how they are used. Installation is just as easy in Setapp Mobile as it is in Apple's app department store: you choose software and install it. After opening the app for the first time, you may first have to verify yourself as a Setapp user. To do this, you are redirected to the Setapp website via a link, which then gives the app permission to use it (i.e. the information that you have an active subscription). Then it can go.

I have first ClearVPN installed by MacPaw. And there is nothing negative to report about this app. You open it, select a server location if necessary, activate the VPN connection and you can surf a little more anonymously and with an IP address of the server location. In the settings you can activate a kill switch and set whether ads and trackers should be blocked in the web browser.

Downie I have already introduced you to a download solution for videos on the Mac (here). You can now get the app on your iPhone via Setapp Mobile to download all kinds of videos. All you need is the video link (from a browser address bar or the share menu of an app), which you then insert into the app. If Downie recognizes the video, you can download it. There are post-processing options available, such as saving it as an MP4 or just saving the audio track as an MP3. You can also insert several links and then download the list created in this way. The downloaded videos can be transferred to the iPhone library and sent using a share function.

In the Item list Out of curiosity, I took a quick look at the app. In this you can set up several locations to which you can then assign rooms. Containers (storage locations) can be set up for these rooms, to which subcontainers and items can be assigned. As an example: In the “Apartment” location I have set up an “Office” room with the “Desk” container. For this I can now set up the subcontainer “Top Drawer” in order to assign the items “tacker”, “hole punch”, “external hard drive” and so on. Of course, the whole thing makes more sense in storage rooms, for collections, extensive hobbies, etc.

Small problems in the Setapp Mobile closed beta test

There were a few stumbling blocks here and there when trying out the Setapp Mobile closed beta. For example, there was B. an update to the app marketplace that always caused it to crash after opening it. I reported this bug to MacPaw. According to feedback, more such reports were received and the problem was solved shortly afterwards with a new update. So it's a teething problem that should no longer appear in the final version.

Another small problem was that when apps were opened, they said that there was a problem with the Setapp subscription and that you should check it. You were redirected to an activation page. However, I consulted with MacPaw and we discussed the problem in an email exchange. I was assured that the problem and other small bugs will be solved in current updates. In addition, the user experience should be generally improved. Information from the beta test will be addressed directly.

Otherwise there were no significant problems. The hurdles and problems found in the Setapp Mobile test were often not due to the app marketplace itself. For example, the many warnings from iOS when installing from Safari were all incorporated by Apple to deter users. In the case of Setapp Mobile, I can reassure you; you are on the safe side. 

Setapp Mobile FAQ

Here are the questions that came up during my testing regarding the new app marketplace for iOS devices. If you have any others you'd like me to forward to MacPaw, just leave them as a comment :)

After the official launch of Setapp Mobile, can you log in with an existing account (for the Mac version of Setapp) and thus connect the subscriptions?

Yes, if you already have a Setapp subscription, you can also use the corresponding login data for the mobile version.

Will there be combination subscriptions for Mac and iPhone?

While the exact pricing and subscription details are still being finalized, we will ensure that the model we choose is simple and transparent. Our goal is to make the subscription process as simple as possible and give users access to a select collection of apps from different categories under a unified plan. [In short: Yes., Note d. R.]

Is there already a date for the launch of the finished version of Setapp Mobile?

At the moment the schedule is such that the open beta version will be released this summer. Our official launch will take place later this year.

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