Apple made waves during Tuesday’s media event when the company announced that its iLife and iWork suite would be free for customers who buy a new Mac or iOS device. But the apps are also free for users who already have the apps installed, and one app is free, period. Here’s our guide to demystifying Apple’s new pricing structure on its iLife and iWork apps.
How “free with purchase” works
When Apple first announced that its iOS apps would be free with the purchase of a new iPhone, I theorized that Apple might include a notification alert after you first activated your new device, with a link to download your free apps. Instead, there’s no link or alert to be found. If you want your free iWork and iLife apps—on OS X Mavericks or on iOS—you have to first visit the Mac App Store to do so. When you do, however, the “Buy” button for those apps will be replaced with “Download” or “Update” (or the iCloud icon on the iOS App Store). I’ll note that iWork and iLife apps only come free for the kind of device you’ve purchased—you won’t get the OS X versions of iLife and iWork for free because you recently purchased a new iPhone or iPad.
Though I can’t yet confirm it (I asked Apple for more details but have yet to receive a response), I suspect that Apple associates the iWork and iLife suite with your Apple ID when you first activate a new device. That way, when you visit the app’s page, it shows up as already “purchased” on your account, and you can download away.