Stephen Shankland/CNET

The Mac App Store has received significant criticism, but Apple’s efforts to improve it apparently have paid off, as Adobe started using the store to sell its Lightroom software for the first time on Thursday. The photo-editing and cataloging software, geared for photo enthusiasts and pros who want something richer than Google Photos or Apple Photos, costs the same as outside the Mac App Store: $10 per month, including the software and 1TB of online storage.

“With the redesign of the Mac App Store, it was the perfect time to set this in motion and make Lightroom the first Adobe app to be available on the MAS,” Sharad Mangalick, Lightroom principal product manager, said in a statement. “We’ve been working closely with Apple to bring Lightroom to leverage the new MAS.”

On iPhones and iPads, the App Store is the only way you can download software, and plenty of Adobe apps are available there. But on Macs, you can also download apps directly from the software maker. By bypassing the Mac App Store, developers can sidestep some security-minded restrictions, Apple approval processes and the 30% fee Apple charges.

Plenty of software is available through the Mac App Store, though, which can be familiar to iPhone users, bring buyers some assurances that software can be trusted, and offer sellers benefits when it comes to software discovery, distribution and payments. Apple scored one notable victory when Microsoft released Office 365 on the Mac App Store in January.

One app that isn’t available through the Mac App Store, though, is Adobe’s Lightroom Classic, a version with a longer lineage and a richer feature set. For now at least, the newer Lightroom, until recently called Lightroom CC, is the only option.

Adobe's Lightroom software, now available on the Mac App Store, is designed for editing and cataloging photos and costs $10 per month.Adobe's Lightroom software, now available on the Mac App Store, is designed for editing and cataloging photos and costs $10 per month.

Adobe’s Lightroom software, now available in the Mac App Store, is designed for editing and cataloging photos and costs $10 per month.


“Lightroom is better suited architecturally to operate within the structure of the Mac App Store,” Mangalick said of Lightroom Classic’s absence. “We can’t go into specifics, but it is related to sandboxing and how Lightroom and Lightroom Classic differ in approaching photo organization.” Sandboxing is a security precaution that reins in potentially badly behaving apps, but it also limits the power of legitimate apps.

The newer Lightroom, which stores photos in the cloud, is more appropriate for a world where you might be taking photos with your phone‘s Lightroom app one day, editing them on your iPad or Mac the next, then showing them with the Lightroom web app the day after that.

It’s gradually maturing, but it’s missing plenty of features, like the ability to tag photos with location data, choose rich options for importing and exporting photos, or create photo books. And that cloud connection can be costly — you have to pay more to store bigger photo catalogs.

Lightroom in the Mac App Store is available in all countries where Adobe already sells it. Adobe didn’t comment on what fraction of sales revenue it pays Apple.

Adobe didn’t comment on any plans to bring other members of its Creative Cloud software suite to the Mac App Store.


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