Why We Charge for Upgrades

Twocanoes Software is a small software company that focuses on macOS software. We make software that does things that some people may not need but others need very much. We started selling software in 2012 and the landscape has changed pretty dramatically in the past 7 years. App Stores are now very common as well as software subscription services, where people pay a yearly fee to make sure they are currently on the most recent version. We are not able to put Winclone in the App Store because the app requires admin rights on the Mac. And subscription does not seem to be the correct model for Winclone, given how most people use it.

Apple has also started updating macOS on a yearly schedule. The changes that Apple has been making that affect our software require major updates and a wide range of QA testing. Some of the large changes that have affected Winclone:

  • Legacy to EFI Booting: Around the time Windows 8 was launched, Apple began migrating Macs to boot Windows via EFI versus the Master Boot Record.
  • HFS+ to APFS: Apple changed the boot file system on Macs.
  • System Integrity Protection (SIP): SIP helps prevent malware but also protects the Master Boot Record, which allows Legacy Booting.
  • Secure Boot: New Macs include the T2 co-processor, which completely changes how the Mac boots, and has an impact on Boot Camp and requires Boot Camp Windows drivers.
  • Privacy Protections: Documents stored on external drives, the Desktop, or the Documents folder could no longer be accessed by helper processes running as root.
  • Others: Core Storage, Fusion drives, specific Mac hardware issues

Most apps would be unaffected by these changes, but they dramatically affect Winclone and Boot Runner. All of these changes affect the core of what our utilities do. An app on the App Store may make changes to take advantage of new features available in macOS, but our apps would either stop working or could cause data loss if they were not updated and tested.

Apps that are tied to versions of macOS and Mac hardware require a large amount of QA testing. For each new version of Winclone, we test on a half-dozen Macs (Legacy Booting, EFI booting, Fusion drives, T2 co-processor) and repeat those same tests for the current and prior version of macOS. With a new version of macOS, the QA tests must be done each time an issue is identified or a new macOS beta is released. It is multiple months worth of work for QA testing for a new macOS release, especially when new betas are released and the QA tests must be repeated on them.

We love what we do and love that we have the opportunity to make software that people love. Since Twocanoes Software is a business, features involving significant development time and a lot of QA work must include an appropriate customer charge that makes them possible. MacOS upgrades require exactly that: a substantial block of work to make sure that Winclone and Boot Runner run great on the current and prior release of macOS and all the hardware that supports both those versions of macOS.

We appreciate the folks that purchase our software, and we give free upgrades to people who have purchased recently. We also understand frustration if you update macOS and find that Winclone is not working because you need to upgrade to the latest version. If you are just outside the free upgrade window or feel that you should get a free upgrade to the latest version for another reason, please drop us a line and we’ll make it right. We’d love to hear from you.