Managing Mac Software Serial Numbers


A new Mac computer has a funny way of turning normal, average people into Mac software junkies.

Trust me – I know.

Apple has made it really easy to collect apps by purchasing through their Mac App Store.

You just enter your account information, click “Buy” and you are done. They keep track of your purchases and allow you to re-download the app whenever you need it.

However, the Mac App Store does not always offer you the best deals.

Mac Bundles

Mac software developers often participate in Mac Bundles. Definition: several software programs, sold as one package, at a heavily discounted price. (Check out the latest Nova Development bundle for Mac – to see what I mean).

This is a great way for people like you and me – to try out some new programs.

But the thing is – it is not quite as effortless as purchasing through the Mac App Store.

When you purchase a bundle – the company that is running the bundle will send you an email or display a page confirming your purchase. This page usually contains links for where you can download the software and a list of your serial numbers.

Once you download the software, you usually will have to input these serial numbers into the software before you can run the program. This is your proof of purchase.

Serial Numbers Are Important

But what happens if you get a new computer? Or your hard drive crashes? Or you need to re-download and install the app?

You will obviously need to re-input your serial number, once again.

So, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you keep track of your serial numbers.

If you buy just one bundle – then it should be a relatively easy task.

But if you become addicted, er, buy several different Mac bundles then you can quickly become disorganized.

Managing Serial Numbers

There are several different ways to keep track of the serial numbers for your Mac Software.

The important thing is to have a method and do it consistently.

This is what I do -

First, I have a folder in my “File Cabinet” folder on my Mac called “Software”.

Whenever I purchase new Mac software outside of the App Store – I print the confirmation page that shows the download links and the serial numbers to a PDF and file it in this folder.

Second, I create a folder in my email account called “Software”. When I get the confirmation email from the developer or the bundle company – I file it in here in Apple Mail (which also gets filed into a folder on my gmail account).

Finally, I use the 1Password app to keep track of my serial numbers.

You probably knew that 1Password was good for keeping track of, well, passwords. But you might not know that it also has a section for managing software serial numbers.

Very handy.

By having my information in these three locations – I am confident that I will have those serial numbers available to me when I need them.

(And don’t forget to back up your hard drive with Time Machine, Carbonite, Dropbox – or some other method, in case it fails.)

Image by yshwer.

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