How to Get iWork for Free on Older Macs

Apple announced yesterday that its iWork suite of apps, which consist of Keynote, Pages and Numbers, would come free with any new Mac that you buy. Previously, these apps were $20 a piece. However, current Mac users with older Macs aren’t able to take advantage of that deal, seeing as how the company is only making iWork free for new Macs bought after yesterday.

However, there’s a clever loophole that a Redditor discovered that allows older Macs to get the iWork suite of apps for free. It does require a little bit of elbow grease — certainly more effort than just downloading and installing the apps, but it may be worth it for some users who have been wanting the apps for some time.

UPDATE: For clarification, iWork is free for users who purchased a new Mac computer on or after October 1, 2013 or a new iOS device on or after September 1, 2013.

Screenshot 2013-10-23 12.07.56

Getting iWork for Free on Older Macs

To get iWork on older Macs that previously don’t have iWork installed, follow the simple steps below. However, before you begin, make sure that app installation permissions are properly set: Go to System Preferences > Security > General and allow apps downloaded from Everywhere.

  1. Screenshot 2013-10-23 12.04.56Visit this Softpedia link to download a free trial of iWork ’09.
  2. Click Download, and then click External Mirror 1.
  3. Double-click on the downloaded file. This will open up a window with a couple of files inside.
  4. Double-click Install iWork ’09 Trial and follow the installation instructions.
  5. After installation, close out the install windows and wait a few minutes for your Mac to recognize the newly-installed apps.
  6. Next, open up the App Store app and click on the Updates tab at the top. You should see updates for Pages, Numbers and Keynote.
  7. If you don’t see updates for these apps yet, close out of the App Store and wait a few minutes before opening it back up.

Once you see updates for these three apps appear, simply just click Update next to each one to download the latest versions. After that’s done, you’ll have the new version of iWork installed on your older Mac without spending a dime.

Better yet, you don’t need OS X Mavericks in order to take advantage of this loophole. Enjoy!



    • WORKS! – probably most of you fail at opening the installer. Go to System Preferences>Security&Privacy and allow “Anywhere” as source. After you installed the trial DO NOT START it, first upgrade following the instructions in this post. Tested Jun 25, 2014 Mavericks.

  1. Yeah, sounds good in theory, but I’ve tried it on a couple macs now, all on ML and it doesn’t work. Okay, one was on Lion.

  2. Security–privacy –>allow apps downloaded from any where and run the pkg of trial
    it worked with out any issues

  3. Well it seems to have worked…downloaded the trail and was given option to purchase licence or 30 day trial…all three have updated as stated in the above article and all three are working without any purchase or trial screens…we will see in 30 days if they are still running… Mac Mini 2013 with Maverick OS

  4. As soon as iWork 09 installed I saw the update screens in the store. I have a Mid-2013 Macbook Air I bought before these announcements and it asked me to pay beforehand. This seems to have worked. All the apps are updated to the newest one and I do not see any mention of a trial or anything.

    Thanks a lot!

    • According to users on reddit, you need to set your system language to English before the updates will show up. I don’t know if this applies to you, but worth a mention!

  5. not work for me…. from Mexico…. I installed them yesterday and still today they don’t show in the update window from apps

  6. This works, I have a 2012 MBPro, 13 inch, non-super-duper-display. I updated to Mavericks, I installed iWork ’09 trial (I had no iWork apps on my computer at all before this), and then waited a few minutes, went to the app store, and the iWork apps tabs just said “update” instead of “$19.99″ like they were before I installed iWork ’09 trial. Now I have all three iWork apps on my mac and they all seem to be iworking.

    Keep trying, it should work, until Apple figures out how to fix this blessed loophole.

    I bought my computer only a few months ago, so I did not like how Apple made it free only for new purchases.

    • Also, since the new iWork apps seem to be working, I uninstalled all the iWork ’09 trial files. Everything seems to be working fine. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

  7. Worked on my MBA 13″ and on my mother’s 11″ (both mid-2012 models). I actually opened one app at random (keynote on mine, pages on hers) and selected Trial, let the app register me, and then when it went to open it immediately alerted me that an update was available and directed me to the App Store.

    Note that both Macs are running Mavericks, and that on both I had to ctrl-click to install the trials.

    Really pleased with this loophole, as when I saw the initial announcement that iWorks would be free for anyone who bought a new device, I for some reason assumed it meant on iOS AND OS X (I bought a 5S when they came out). I was quite disappointed to realize it would only apply to iOS, but now I have iWorks on my phone and Mac and couldn’t be happier. :)

    • It also alerted me about the update and directed me to App Store, but App Store tells me “No Updates Available”.

  8. Also, it would probably be helpful if people mentioned their model and what OS they were running, rather than just “it worked” or “it didn’t work”… Anyway, thanks for the trial link, GBM!

  9. It worked for me but only after I changed the system language back to English (I had it set to Greek). If OS X is set to any language other than English, go to System Preferences, Language & Region, and drag English to the top of the list. I’m running Mavericks on a MBP mid 2009.

  10. Update**** You MUST have mavericks installed to make this work on older macs. Also, Apple announced today that they are completely fine with this and it’s ok to update like this from the trial version or even pirated copies!! They are currently more concerned about putting everyone on the latest version of the software. This also applies to iLife and Aperture!!

  11. The final solution who couldn’t update; if you use OSX in an other language than English, is to change the language to English and restart your Mac.

  12. For those of you who couldn’t get this to work, heres what I did and it worked. I downloaded the iWork 09 trial. It created a folder within applications. I then downloaded iWork 9.3 update dmg from apple. Then moved the files from the iWork’s 09 folder straight to the applications directory. once done the mac store instantly recognized, and updated iWork.

  13. Followed all the steps,tried everything, updated Pages and Keynote but when I launch them I have an error that says thaI should check with the developper to make sure Keynote works with this version, or try to reinstal it.
    Macbook Air 13-inch, Mid 2011, OSX 10.9 and set to english.??????????????

    • Fianlly it worked, but only over Maverick, trying to do it in Leopard (yes leopard) but it doesnt go…Leopard is so stable that I really would like to keep on it, but…

      • Did you re-install over Mavericks? Or you just upgraded then the updates already appeared on Mac App Store? Thanks

  14. I have an MBA 2013 with Mountain Lion and I followed all the steps here except for upgrading to Mavericks. Now I am planning to Upgrade to Mavericks. Do I need to uninstall iWork before upgrading? Then re-install after the upgrade. Or it will work even if I don’t re-install? Thanks!

  15. id gotten mavericks yesterday and this didn’t show up when i was running regular updates due to the new OS only an update for Garageband. But today i randomly checked out my updates to find updates to all my iWork apps, iPhoto, AND aperture, weird thing about all this is my garageband installed itself as a new copy leaving the old one where it was, and so far since i am updating the others as i type this, pages does the same thing as well as keynote. check my blog for updates on the rest. I’m gonna reinstall Final Cut Pro too and see if this works, I’ve been hoping to be able to get app store updates for all those apps cuz i got em all before their app store debut. before i was having to go to the support downloads for updates to these. also I have full version working DMGs of all of these which i will upload and post the links to on my blog for anyone who wants to try this.

  16. It does look like it isn’t possible to get it to work if you don’t have 10.9, as implied in the Macrumors article. All the stages described above worked for me except that I, on 10.8.5, am left with just the trial version.

  17. Software Update

    Use this method if you originally purchased iWork in a box or downloaded and then activated a trial version of iWork.

    Choose Software Update from the Apple () menu to automatically check for the latest Apple software, including this update. (Software Update might have linked you to this article to learn more about the update.) If your computer is not up-to-date, other software updates available for your computer may appear. Note that an update’s size may vary from computer to computer when installed using Software Update, since it automatically selects the best update for your computer. Also, some updates must be installed prior to others, so you should run Software Update more than once to make sure you have all of the available updates. OS X Lion v10.7.4 or later is required to run this update.

    // use this method if u download this trial.

  18. I got it to work. Hooked up an older version of my SL 10.6.8 HD via USB, booted from that, updated it to Mavericks, ran the trial installers for both iwork and aperture (using a found serial from I think 3.0) and once I opened app store, boom all the items were there. Clicked to download all, and associated with my itunes account, and then hopped back over to my rMBP running ML and boom, they were all there waiting for me to download from the app store.
    Nice find all, and nice that apple makes it all easy peasy!

  19. It worked! I upgraded to Mavericks and then finally the app store allowed me to update my trial version of iWork ;)


  21. Worked perfect the first time for me on my late 07 iMac running Mavericks. Make sure sec pref set to allow from anywhere.

  22. Not only works for iWork, but for some reason iPhoto and iMovie changed from “buy” to “update”! Love it! updating right now.

  23. I don’t think it works anymore. I’ve been trying for the last hour. The updates for iLife and Aperture (besides an update for a new RAW format) do not show up in the App Store.

  24. it worked for me last night! macbook pro mid 2012 mavericks, I install iwork and aperture trial (with out open it), change language to english, restart and open app store.

  25. It worked on maverick. But you HAVE to change the language to english, restart and go to the App Store.

  26. Yeah if you expand the package and get all the way down to “archive.tar.gz,” you can get the apps, drag into the apps folder – wait and then open App store. Don’t try to open the old apps as they won’t work.

  27. Worked fine for me but I wanted iWork’s 09 that is better than the last version, and I’d still need to buy it. Thanx for the tip

  28. Follow the instructions and it will work fine. You will get the latest updates from the App Store and they will not be trials. Keep in mind to delete the iWork ’09 from your applications folder after the update is done, since the update will not replace the trial copies you installed at first.

  29. Thanks! Kinda lame they’re not offering iWork for free for old Mac users especially since I barely got my Mac eleven months ago. At least Mavericks was free though. Anyway, this worked out great for me thanks!

  30. It works!!! Imac purchased in 2011… installed free trial, changed language from Spanish to English, went to updates, click Update all, asked me for my app store id. and worked perfectly. Thank you very much.

  31. Got it! is it possible to install iWork on my iPad after installing on mac? iWork is still shown as paid if checking appstore from my iPad.

  32. Worked for me! I had already purchased Pages a few years ago so I had those updates. Now I have Keynote and Numbers which I will probably use as much as Pages (never). I also have the full 2011 Microsoft Office I bought last year which is much better. It’s nice to be able to have it if it were needed one day though.

  33. doesnt work on hackintosh?

    This update is not available for this Apple ID either because it was bought by a different user or the item was refunded or cancelled.

  34. Hi everyone. This worked perfectly up to step #5, but then I got stumped on step #6. How do I “open Apple App Store app” on my 2007 Macbook with OS X 10.6.8? Is it possible? I’ve surfed all over the Web for the last hour and found a webpage stating that the apple app store app was “released starting with OS X 10.6.8″ (great!), but where is it? I looked in the iTunes store, but I just see my ipad and iphone apps, no programs from my Macbook. Also, I tried — random idea!– downloading the “apple store” app (with the apple logo in a shopping cart) onto my iPhone (don’t see a way to get it onto the Macbook), but that does nothing. Any ideas? It seems so silly to be stuck on step #6. Thank you for your support and any suggestions!! :)

  35. As “we” mentioned, the trick is to change Language to English, after that immediately the Appstore showed up the updates.

  36. Worked great, though the Download time was long. I’m on Mountain Lion and don’t want to/can’t yet move up to Mavericks due to music software that isn’t optimized for the latest Mac OS.

  37. Well… I have been trying to get these apps for free FOR SOOOOO LONG TIME with this method… And all time without result. I felt very sad, because I’ve been doing everything right, but still couldn’t get these apps.
    But today I turned on Spotlight indexing (I turned it down long time ago) and EVERYTHING WORKED BY ITSELF!
    So if you’re doing everything right, but the apps does not appear in the Updates section, check if you have the Spotlight indexing turned off, and then turn it on with this command in Terminal:
    sudo mdutil -a -i on

  38. Worked like a charm for me! Running Mavericks on the late 2012 iMac. I didn’t even open the App Store after installing…I opened the ’09 version of Pages just to check it out, and after clicking on “Trial”, a window popped up saying there was an update available for this application, which subsequently opened the App Store and from there it showed 3 updates available for Keynote, Pages, and Numbers!

  39. I’m still running Lion, and needed to update through Software Update instead of in the App Store. Seems to be working perfectly though!

  40. I’ve done all the steps, and installed the updates but when I open one of the apps I still get the window asking if I want to buy it or use the thirty day trial. Have they closed the loophole?

      • @Steve Ford Where was the updates located? I’ve done the installed and update but the icons inside of the iworks09 folder still state buy now or 30 day trial.

  41. Older Mac ? Uhh ! I guess mine is prehistoric : Powerbook G4 PPC Leopard, don’t even have access to AppStore.

  42. Worked! Restarted after the install and opened keynote did the little setup it had and right after the setup in keynote it notified me that there was a new update for Keynote. Opened the App Store still didn’t see the update closed it for a minute and opened the App Store again and all the updates for iWork was ready to be updated. And this was on a 2012 Mac Mini.

  43. Lost my apps for IWork when i took it to repair, but now it works…. Thanks for this! Saved my life [Macbook Pro 13 in. bought Mid 2010 with Mavericks] NEED MAVERICKS for this to work

  44. Seems to have worked for me. MBA 05/2012. Thanks for the clear instructions. It all went like clockwork.

  45. I downloaded the trial prior to downloading Maverick. Once Maverick was installed, the updates for all of the iwork products showed up in the update folder, so I updated. However, although I can open each program and work in it, I am unable to save or export because I get the pop up window telling me I can’t save, print, or export documents until the iwork ’09 trial has been activated. I don’t know what to do here. When I click on the about button in each program, I see ’09 version 2.3 – but it does not say trial. What do I do now? I am a bit crazy with this!

  46. Trisa- the updated versions are in the Application folder, not in the iWork folder. You’re still using the old trial versions.

  47. Apta – I loaded updates from the Applications folder. I still am unable to use any of the programs from iwork without that window appearing. Now I have NONE of the programs available for use. What do I do now? I originally removed 3 of the plist files and was able to use numbers, but none of the others. I received msg. that required files were missing – so I returned them and have found myself back to the same window. Please help me!

    • Trisa- It’s difficult for me to say what’s going on without further information. It could be that the ’09 apps had an update themselves in which case you would indeed see the notice to activate the trial versions.

      The UPGRADE notification to the new iWork apps would show up in the App Store application.
      Also, other postings indicate that the ’09 apps must be in the Applications folder itself, not in the iWork ’09 subfolder. You need to move them out of that one.

  48. I keep getting “This update is not available for this Apple ID either because it was bought by a different user or the item was refunded or cancelled.”

  49. Hi , I installed it on my maverick and it’s working well.
    Just wanted to know that is it for 30 days only as mentioned trial version OR will work after completing trial period also .. People please reply who have installed it earlier .

    • Its only a 30 day trial. To make it permanent you will need to install the update (as the article above states). According to the article, the update will show up in your App Store under “updates”. However, for some people including myself, it wasn’t there. So I just downloaded the update directly from Apple (free) here:

  50. I could not get the update to show up in my App Store, however…
    I downloaded the update directly from Apple and it worked!

    After downloading, you will need to wait a few minutes or restart your computer. After this was able to launch iWorks without getting the “Buy or Try” window.

  51. IT WORKS! – probably most of you fail at opening the installer. Go to System Preferences>Security&Privacy and allow “Anywhere” as source. After you installed the trial DO NOT START it, first upgrade following the instructions in this post. Tested Jun 25, 2014 Mavericks.

  52. Worked! Macbook bought May 2012 which was upgraded to OS X Maverick. Just follow the tips about security and updates instructions.

  53. Has anyone tried this on Yosemite? I did everything as stated and when i click up date i get:

    “This update is not available for this Apple ID either because it was bought by a different user or the item was refunded or cancelled.”

    Did they fix this loophole?

  54. Just did this after upgrading to Yosemite, and it worked!!! Note that it will make you verify eligibility on the App store (several times) by typing your password when attempting to download updates, so I thought it wasn’t going to let me do it, but after hitting the update button a few times and typing my password voila! I got all three apps to work!

  55. Mine wont update. It tells me its not form a recognized Apple ID. Can someone tell me how they got around this?

  56. After updates, it still showed trial version.

    I did open and close the app before the updates. Any suggestions?
    I am running Mavericks on 2010 mbp. Thanks.

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