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Do I need to buy an upgrade?

Almost all Mac software uses the same scheme for version numbering, namely

major.minor.bugfix[bbeta] [(build)]

(items in square brackets are optional). So, for instance, if the program you are looking at says its version is 7.3.5, then its major version is 7, its minor version is 3 and its bugfix version is 5. Likewise if you saw a version number like 11.9.0b6 (556), that has a major version of 11, a minor version of 9, a bugfix version of 0, is the 6th beta release of that version and has a build number of 556.

In addition to using a uniform version numbering scheme, paid-for Mac software tends to use the same rule to determine whether an upgrade is paid for or not, namely that paid upgrades take place when the major version number increases. Many software vendors also have some rules about what to do if you’ve purchased close to the release of a new major version (typically you’ll get a free upgrade in that case), but the general rule will still hold.

Also, paid-for releases are generally referred to as upgrades, whereas free-to-existing-customers releases are usually referred to as updates.

TL;DR: If the major number is the same, you can download and use the new version for free. If it’s higher, you will usually need to pay an upgrade fee.

Posted by alastair at 2015-Nov-13 09:11:02 UTC. Last updated 2015-Nov-13 09:11:25 UTC.