When it comes to Mac optimization, there are a lot of things to consider. Which is the best software for you? Which features do you need? How much are you willing to spend? But there’s one more problem, perhaps even the hardest question to answer: lifetime license or subscription service? Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is worth taking both into consideration when choosing the app(s) that will be servicing your Mac.
Pro: Forever Is a Tempting Idea
When you look at the different license types available, the “lifetime license” offer sounds the most attractive, of course. We all love the idea of our stuff being around forever, it’s natural; that's why you purchased your favorite band's album on CD, because you wanted to own it for a lifetime, rather than ‘borrow’ it from Spotify.
Con: Becomes Outdated Quickly
But things get complicated when you buy a computer. You want to have it around for a lifetime, which you can do, but if you don't upgrade that computer within a couple of years, it will become outdated and might not support the latest web browser or operating system, or perform as you'd expect.
It's like buying a house without spending money on renovations: you'll end up living under a leaking roof for many years. Metaphorically speaking this is what happens in the IT industry too, but at an accelerated pace. The more time passes, the more unlikely your purchased license will be worth keeping: it may be able to do the basic Mac optimization tasks like cleaning some junk files, but what about the rest? What about any new features that you might be missing out on? No one likes to eat from a half-clean dish.
Conversely, if you pay for a subscription to a Mac optimization solution then this isn’t something you’ll ever need to worry about. The main advantage of subscription-based Mac optimization software is that you can keep on enhancing your Mac and updating the operating software and still keep the third party app up to date. That is until you stop paying for it, anyway.
Pro: Version Upgrades Are Always Free
A ‘lifetime license’ doesn't accurately describe this license type, because if you want to update the app to the latest (and greatest) version of the Mac optimization software then you will need to pay for that extra step up in version number. Take CleanMyMac or MacBooster, for example: if you own a license for the third version, you don't need to pay for updates to v3.1 or v3.2 and so on, but the developers typically release a new version every year and migrating from any version 3 to version 4.0 will incur an extra cost. This is something you'll be doing every year – or at least each time a new version is released – if you’re hoping to keep your software up to date, which equates keeping your Mac running at its highest performance.
That’s why choosing subscription-based software can be beneficial, since the software is always the most up-to-date, and you won’t ever need to worry about not having access to the latest features, software improvements or your Mac’s capabilities falling behind due to an insufficient optimization program. Often the program will be automatically updated, too, so that’s one less issue to think about.
Con: The License Isn’t Yours
On the other hand, the disadvantage of a subscription is that the software is only yours to access for as long as you’re paying, and it isn’t yours permanently as it is with a lifetime license. When you ‘own’ a license it can be installed on as many computers as you like.
As soon as you stop making the monthly, semi-annual or annual payments, the Mac optimization software will become useless and will actually not be functional anymore due to the nature of software as a service or ‘SaaS’.
A paid-for license, however, might not be as up-to-date as a subscription based product, but the program you buy and use will always be available to you, regardless of whether you choose to upgrade to the latest version or not. Unless the developer dramatically changes its strategy and makes the software inaccessible (which is unlikely), the Mac optimization tool will never stop working.
Which Option Is Cheaper?
The flexibility of a subscription aligns with the fast developments we are seeing in the IT sector since you’re always getting new features and improvements to the software. But with that said, we can't say that subscription-based Mac optimization apps are cheaper compared to license-based ones. This is primarily because if you already own a license then the developers often offer a discount off the next version upgrade. Compare this to the subscription-based model, where you don’t get a discount for the regular updates and bigger version changes and instead pay the same price within the agreed time-frame.
Ultimately, the decision is yours, coming down to the decision of whether you’d prefer the most up-to-date features or the opportunity to pay a one-off fee to access the benefits of these programs for a longer period. The long-term ownership formula helps you to make an informed decision, especially if you include a slight annual increase in price. Of course, the preferred solution is the free one, but not all free apps incorporate the features you need for keeping your Mac at optimal performance.
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