October 28, 2007

AppFresh Keeps My Mac Apps Fresh

Apple's Mac OS X Update does a great job making sure I have the latest Apple operating system updates and associated software, including iTunes, iCal, Mail and the like. But when it comes to third party (a.k.a. not Apple) applications, there isn't one central location to be sure I am caught up with the latest and greatest. That's where utilities like AppFresh come in.

Most modern applications have the ability to connect to the Web and offer the opportunity to pull down the latest point release, but many don't. And if you have dozens or even hundreds of applications, as I do, there's no chance I'll be going from site to site to keep current.

AppFresh automates the entire process. After downloading, it scans the Applications directory on my hard drive, and then checks with a partner database at iusethis.com to see if I'm running the most-recent build. (See the image below for the first pass)

In my case, I had 135 applications, of which 28 were confirmed to be up to date, 27 had the opportunity to update, and 80 were not registered. I would expect over time that this number would decrease, as applications are added to the database for just this purpose.

From there, I was able to selectively update my applications, and AppFresh would either download the new disk images directly, or link me to a registration form where I could do so. Below, you can see the application in process. Notice how it doesn't just download one app at a time, but can do many concurrently.

While the application's database isn't covering 100 percent of my applications, it's a definite kick start to getting synched up with the best software developers have to offer, and it didn't cost me a dime. Additionally, if you find you actually liked the previous version of the software better than the new one, AppFresh has your back. Like Apple's Time Machine, the old copy can be stored in a safe place for later retrieval. And that's pretty solid.

Using AppFresh in parallel with Apple's Mac OS X Update should keep my machine and its applications up and running and humming for the foreseeable future. If you're a Mac OS X user on 10.4 (Tiger) or 10.5 (Leopard), give it a spin and see just how far behind you really are.