I just got a new iMac and reformatted the old one before I gave it to my Dad. Then realized I hadn’t grabbed a few games I had purchased years ago through the App Store. How can I get them back without buying them again?
One of the big changes as we have moved from software you buy at a store on disk to digital software stores and downloads is that you just need access to the purchase account to restore an app, not a physical disk. Which is definitely good news in your case.
I have the same situation as I update Mac systems ever year or two and an app, program or game that seemed quite compelling a few years ago might not seem that important any more. Or it’s been supplanted by something better, perhaps. Things change, though, and sometimes that newer, better app ends up being abandoned by its author, leaving you stranded unless you had something prior that you want to have restored.
Apple‘s got ya covered in this situation, fortunately, through the App Store. You’ll need to be signed in to the account you were using whenever you bought the original app, program or game, but I bet you’re already using that account anyway. Let’s go through the steps and recover my copy of Cribbage for my MacBook Pro!
To start, launch the App Store from the Apple menu:
It’ll pop up with a bunch of apps and games you can purchase, of course:
Lots of really interesting software, for sure, ranging from the latest version of Final Cut Pro X [which I use daily] to Demon Hunter 4 [which I’ve never heard of!]. But… we want to check for earlier purchases. That’s done by clicking on the “Purchased” option along the top.
It’s possible this is what you’ll now see in the App Store:
If so, well…. sign in! Once you do, you’ll see a list of every app and program you’ve purchased with this particular account, however long ago that happened:
Turns out that there are three possible states for a previous purchase, as highlighted here:
El Capitan is a previous generation of MacOS X – from Sept 2015 – which I definitely don’t need. I can “Download” it and reinstall it if I wanted, but why would I want to go backwards? Kiwi for Gmail I originally purchased in Jun 2015 and still have – and use – on my Mac system. That’s an “Open” button. And, finally, Pushbullet is a program I bought in Jan 2015 and no longer have on my computer. That’s an “Install”.
As is this Cribbage game, now that I am looking more closely. A click on “Install” and it’ll immediately begin downloading:
Just a few seconds later it’s downloaded, installed and the button says “Open” instead. So I do, and boom! I’m ready for a quick game of Cribbage:
That’s pretty cool for a game I originally bought back in July, 2013. No disk, no CDROM, no license key, no hassles. The Apple App Store does all the work and I’m ready to see how many fifteens I can make from my hand…
Pro Tip: While you’re here, check out my extensive Mac help area, please. I’ve written tons about how to do various things on the Mac platform.