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10 apps we’ll never see on the App Store

Unless Apple’s hand is forced by regulators

The App Store has millions of apps. But there are gaps – which can frustrate if you’re used to using a Mac. This feature looks at ten apps we’ll likely never see on the App Store – unless regulation forces Apple to open up its mobile devices.

Xbox Cloud Gaming: game streaming

Apple’s fine with apps that stream music and video. But games? Nope. It’s hard to know why. Perhaps Apple is terrified of competing with the likes of Microsoft. In the meantime, that gaming giant is working around Apple’s restrictions by making Xbox Cloud Gaming beta compatible with Safari.

Retroarch: game emulator

Classic game emulators exist on the App Store, but none allow you to load your own game files. That means no Retroarch, which on Android (and other systems) lets you explore dozens of classic consoles. Ironically, a mature emulator ecosystem on Android also means it’ll soon be the place to reminisce about old iPhone games too.


Retroarch… which is admittedly more interesting when a game’s running.

UTM: virtual machines

Macs can run other operating systems as virtual machines. This lets you run apps not available on Mac, or test websites in Windows and Linux browsers. Apple’s not thrilled about you installing Windows on your iPad or iPhone, and so you can’t. Well, unless you use UTM via AltStore. But it won’t be on the App Store.

Transmission: torrent app

We’re not surprised Apple bans torrent apps like Transmission from the App Store. After all, it has many media partners and torrents are often used for piracy. That said, they’re also a fantastic way to download other huge files, which is otherwise trickier than it needs to be on iPad.

Moom: window manager

The iPhone doesn’t have windows – yet. But the iPad does in Stage Manager. On Mac, though, we’d sooner use Moom, which makes it insanely easy to position windows using custom keyboard shortcuts or intuitive cursor gestures. The chances of Moon for iPad in the App Store though? Roughly nil.


Moom allows you to position windows using keyboard shortcuts.

BetterTouchTool: shortcuts manager

On a Mac, BetterTouchTool powers up input devices, letting you do all kinds of clever things with a keyboard or mouse, from launching apps to running scripts. You get the feeling this kind of thing is only borderline tolerated on a Mac, and so won’t arrive on iPhone or iPad any time soon.

Carbon Copy Cloner: cloning utility

Want to back up your iPhone or iPad? Your choices are iCloud or saving a massive backup to a computer. If we had something like Carbon Copy Cloner on the App Store, we could ‘clone’ an entire device or just specific files and folders to an external drive, whenever it was plugged in.

Installed apps in iMazing

iMazing, displaying the apps view.

iMazing: device manager

Unsurprisingly, Apple isn’t keen on apps other than its own getting to fiddle around with on-device data. Hence no iMazing on the App Store. Which is a pity, given how great it is at making safeguard copies of everything from your messages to apps and games.

Daisy Disk: storage manager

In Settings, you can see how your device’s storage is being used, delete apps, and turn on a couple of optimization options. But we’d much prefer an app like Daisy Disk that gives you a far smarter and more intuitive view of your storage situation – and lets you quickly make meaningful changes.

Setapp: app store

Finally, given how much Apple likes being in control, it’s fighting hard against third-party App Stores. Regulators might eventually win that battle. In the meantime, you won’t be seeing Setapp on the App Store. A pity, given that its Apple Arcade-like ‘all you can eat’ subscription – but for Mac apps – represents excellent value.