Here you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the different licensing options we offer for BusyCal & BusyContacts on macOS. If you don't find your question answered below, feel free to contact us.
We have also provided a comparison of the various licensing models we support here.
- Is there a subscription fee?
- What is a Perpetual license?
- How long will my perpetual license remain valid?
- Why 18 months? Isn't 12 months the industry standard?
- I thought I was going to get free updates and support till the end of time?
- I don't remember signing up for a perpetual license, why do I have to pay for a renewal again?
- But a perpetual license sounds like a subscription?
- How much will a renewal cost?
- Why not do a paid upgrade instead for a major update?
- I've read everything and I am unhappy I won't get updates forever. I want a refund!
- What if I have multiple licenses for the same product?
- What if I own both BusyCal and BusyContacts?
- Do I need to download and install the app again after renewal?
- When it comes to renewal, will I have to renew all the licenses under the registration code or can I pick a quantity?
- What if I don't renew my license?
- Will I have to renew my license for all my devices?
- What about major app releases? Will I need to make further purchases?
- Why am I asked to renew my license? I just purchased it.
- I just updated the app from an older version and it tells me I'm not eligible and now need to downgrade? Why did it let me update to begin with?
- The app tells me that my license expires on the 1st of Jan, 2021. Why?
- I just updated to the latest version of the app and it tells me my license has expired
- Isn't this just like a yearly paid upgrade, then?
- What if I prefer the Mac App Store instead but strongly dislike subscriptions?
- I’ve already paid via the Mac App Store for a previous version of the app. Must I pay anything to continue using that version? If so, why?
- I'm subscribed to the subscription apps on the Mac App Store, but want to purchase a direct copy. Can I transfer my license?
- Will the App Store subscription support family sharing?
- Can I try before subscribing to the App Store version?
- I own a copy from App Store before a subscription version was made available. Can I transfer this license over to the direct version?
- I want to exchange my direct license for an App Store's subscription
- What's included in the Mac App Store subscription?
- Why does the app try and connect to BusyMac servers every now and then?
- I want to get a refund for a subscription I got charged by the App Store
No, not when you purchase directly from our online store. Our online store only sells you a non-expiring, non-recurring, perpetual license.
Starting Q3 2021, BusyCal and BusyContacts are available via subscription-only from the Mac App Store. Our apps are also part of Setapp, a cross-platform subscription service that offers you a curated collection of macOS apps under a single subscription.
When you purchase directly from our online store, which offers you the same secure-buying experience as the app store, you're paying for a perpetual license that is yours to keep, forever. You own the version of the app you paid for, including all the updates released after the time of purchase until the time free updates expire.
This also means that there is no looking out for a BusyCal 4 / 5 / 6 etc. There's a single version of BusyCal and BusyContacts that we will continue to update and improve - and your license entitles you to all updates, both major and minor, for 18 months.
There are no recurring payments and no subscriptions. Once you pay for the product, you're making a one-time purchase, not a recurring one. You own the right to continue using the purchased version forever.
You get a lifetime license that never expires, which means you own the version you paid for and can continue using it forever. However, your license is valid for 18 months of free updates starting from the date of purchase. This would include bug fixes, enhancements and new features - both major and minor. To continue to receive updates after 18 months, you will need to renew your license.
For instance, say you purchased BusyCal on the 1st of Jan 2020, when it was on version 3.6. You will be entitled to own all updates posted until July 2021. After the expiry date, you can continue using the last update that was released; say, version 3.24 - forever. If you then choose to renew your license, you will receive an additional 18 months of updates, starting from the date of renewal. This way, you can choose not to renew for six months, and renew only when an update we post interests you with a feature or enhancement you always wanted.
12 months is indeed the industry standard - however 12 months also sounds like a subscription. 12 months also seem to go by fairly quickly.
We wanted to go above and beyond the norm and offer a better deal, so we joined the Developers For a Fair Deal consortium (DFFD) to do just that (okay - this bit's made up; there's no such consortium). We believe 18 months is a sweet spot where as a user you get value for money and by posting regular, meaningful updates, we get an opportunity to win you over for potentially another 18 months after your license expires.
Starting with BusyCal 1 up to BusyCal 3, each has been a paid upgrade. The licensing model has been more or less the same; you pay for a version which you then get to keep forever. You get free updates for a certain number of months. A new paid upgrade is released, after which you stop receiving updates to the version you owned. Our new licensing model simply quantifies these otherwise arbitrary number of months to "18".
No, you do not have to pay again. Renewing a license is completely optional. That is the whole point.
When you purchase BusyCal 3, for instance, there is always a chance of "BusyCal 4" releasing a few months down the line, as a separately paid upgrade. In that case, you're now stuck with an app you just paid $49.99 for and it already has begun to feel dated since it's no longer supported.
With our "18-months of updates included" license, everyone's treated equally, and you get far greater value for the money spent. There is no longer a BusyCal 4 / 5 / 6 but a single version that keeps improving - you enjoy 18-months of improvements (both minor and major), and when the time is up, you choose whether you wish to renew the license for another 18 months or stick with a "good enough" version you're currently content with.
If it were a subscription, you would be prevented from using the app unless you paid the renewal fee. This is not the case. You are entitled to use the app you paid for forever. Renewing your license is up to you.
Renewals can cost between 20%-40% off the original price (actual discount rate is subject to current promotional offerings at the time of renewal). Currently, renewal costs $29.99 (volume discounts apply) - entitling you to an exclusive 40% discount when renewing an existing license. This way, you pay the full price only once.
This is the pattern we've followed since BusyCal 1 → 2 → 3. More or less, every 12 to 18 months, we issued a new paid update to the app and abandoned supporting the previous version entirely, which meant that customers on existing versions had to pay to upgrade or stay on the version they're on (exactly how it works with a perpetual license).
So why did we change? Releasing a major upgrade means changing the app's internal app identifier, which means everything that works already perfectly breaks for the user. Users have to go through a proper migration of their database, during which there is a chance that something might go wrong and the user may lose actual data. Then one needs to deal with backups and restores. There's also having to deal with a proper uninstall of the previous version, getting rid of installed extensions and leaving unwanted app cruft behind. Users still at times get double alerts from BusyCal 2 and BusyCal 3 where the uninstall after an update did not go as planned. It's a nightmare. Not to mention lost customers on App Store due to app being released as a brand new app (as the identifier changed), re-marketing and re-branding it whilst forcibly making UI changes to justify the "major"-ness of the app - many times annoying our customers further with a steep new learning curve.
Secondly, everything around us has changed - literally. macOS updates have been a lot more regular and a lot more disruptive. iCloud / Google / Microsoft seem to be changing their service regularly. Something breaks, then we spend a month fixing it. Apple all of a sudden decides to break Reminders, and the burden is upon us to literally re-write a major portion of the app as a dot x.1 release only to fix this. For the user this is a minor bug fix while for us it's months of hard work, a major re-write and a lot of stress supporting this going forward (for months up to a year). Then iCloud decides to suddenly change something without notice, or introduce a new pressing change such as an app specific password requirement. It was Google last year, making sweeping changes and breaking many. Not to mention a myriad of CalDAV / CardDAV / Exchange flavors we have to deal with and support daily. A major part of our day outside of real development is spent looking at logs and network traces only to pinpoint bugs present in the CalDAV server our user is using. Suddenly last year, online meetings became a thing. All of a sudden all calendaring apps must provide some level of integration. We're quite literally providing a service on top of existing services that are constantly changing and evolving.
In short, the line that was previously drawn between bug fixes and major updates has almost diminished. It's become increasingly difficult to sustain without charging our customers monthly - like many companies now do; everything is a SAAS. Which is annoying.
So what do you do if you don't personally like Subscriptions and aren't getting paid at all for the work and support you've been doing for 5+ years with free updates? And making a new hire is impossible because they ask you for a fee that you no longer make as a company? You make it fair and begin charging for updates based on a set period - this way customers get big and small features irrespectively and we get paid for real work. The industry standard is 12 months. We switched to 18. We also kept renewals optional. Renew only if you find good value in our updates.
If you've purchased the app directly from us, you're entitled to a refund within 30 days of purchase, no questions asked. Please contact us so we may process this for you. If you've purchased the app from the Mac App Store instead, please reach out to Apple within 14 days of purchase.
Unfortunately we will not be able to refund an order if it was made outside of the refund window.
To keep it simple, the expiry date is tied to your registration code. Conversely, if you were to purchase 10 copies of BusyCal today, you will be issued a single registration code. All your devices using this registration code will share the same period of 18 months and expire at the same time.
You will have to renew both products separately. Each product renewal will be 20=40% off the original price separately (discount rate is subject to current promotional offerings), e.g. a renewal will cost you $29.99 after a 40% discount applied to $49.99 (original price).
No. Once you renew your license, you can continue using the version you have or update to a more recent version in case there is one available.
When it comes to renewal, will I have to renew all the licenses under the registration code or can I pick a quantity?
If you originally purchased 10 licenses and your 18 month period of free updates is over, you will normally only be able to renew all of these licenses at the same time, since the renewal is tied to your registration code instead of individual device activations.
If you only wish to receive new updates for a subset of macs, the easiest thing would be to make a new purchase. Since you are an existing customer, you can use the "Sidegrades and Upgrades for Existing Customers" option to purchase an upgrade instead. The only thing to note is that you will have to use the newly generated registration code against this new purchase in order to utilize the 18 months of free updates.
If you don't want to renew your license after the 18-month period, you can continue to use the version of the app that you have, for as long as you want, but you won't be able to receive any further updates, this includes critical bug fixes. To receive new updates with new features, enhancements and bug fixes, a renewed license will be required, entitling you to own another 18 months of updates.
In most cases, not renewing a license will not affect you in any way or form, however this isn't guaranteed. At times a new version of macOS can deprecate certain features or remove support for them entirely, prompting app developers to make changes to fix crashes or fulfill additional requirements. An example is the shift from 32-bit to 64-bit, or more recently the shift from Intel to Apple Silicon, which required a lot of work to ensure compatibility. In recent months iCloud also made unannounced changes that broke Reminders and to-do sync for a majority of our users, for which we had to swiftly add native Reminders sync support. Similarly, other 3rd party services the app relies upon (such as Weather) may discontinue, prompting us to switch to a new service. Older copies of the app will unfortunately stop connecting to such services and will require renewal.
You can always change your mind at any time. Not renewing a license does not prevent you from using the app and it's core functions. You simply miss out on updates that are rolled out with new improvements. You can keep using the app for months / years / decades before you decide to renew your license and get back onto the latest version. The choice is entirely yours.
When you renew your license, you're renewing the license tied to a serial code for all your macs. If you own multiple macs and use the same serial number on all of these, you only need to renew your license once and continue using it on all your personal devices. The only time we ask users to buy and renew additional licenses is when these are used on non-personal, work machines.
No. Instead of developing a major paid update and timing it with the release of the new version of macOS each year, we have instead decided to make it simpler for ourselves and our users. Instead of marketing BusyCal as "version 4" and trying to sell it as a paid upgrade, there will only ever be a single version of BusyCal that you renew a license for, in case you wish to see an additional 18 months of innovation. Users will continue to receive meaningful updates, including major new features, critical fixes, performance improvements and enhancements as part of their renewal.
As explained in this question, you are entitled to 18 months of free updates, starting from the date of purchase.
You do not have to renew the license if you do not wish to do so. This will simply mean that you will have to download and install the last eligible update covered by your license, as explained here.
If you have installed a more recent update not covered by your license, you will automatically be directed to the last eligible version. Simply follow the instructions on screen when prompted.
I just updated the app from an older version and it tells me I'm not eligible and now need to downgrade? Why did it let me update to begin with?
Our shift to the new licensing model means that users updating BusyCal or BusyContacts from an older version to a new version would be met with an unfriendly prompt, informing them that they're not eligible to use this particular update and that they need to downgrade. We're sorry. There's no easy way around this.
Older versions of our app did not contain the required code to perform license eligibility checks. Also, in case you download the latest version of the app from the website, you may find that your license does not permit you to use this particular version and that you need to downgrade.
You will need to downgrade to a version that your license covers and continue using that forever, unless you wish to instead renew your license and receive an additional 18 months of updates.
You can download an older version from here:
You can renew your license from here.
Users that purchased the app between 2016 and 2021 had their licenses expired 18 months starting from the date of purchase.
If you had bought BusyCal or BusyContacts in 2016, for instance, your license in fact was originally entitled to updates till around the begining of 2018. However, we decided to not charge anyone till the begining of 2021 and extended all previously expired licenses to the 1st Jan, 2021 (i.e. we postponed our plans of releasing a new paid upgrade at the time). During this time, you continued to receive all updates for free.
You can choose to renew the license and continue receiving updates for another 18 months if you wish from here:
As explained here, we extended all expired licenses to last up to the 1st of January 2021 irrespective of when these expired (since 2016). In case you've just downloaded an update and are being informed that you're not eligible to use the update, you may downgrade to an earlier version that was released before the 1st of January 2021, or renew your license to own another 18 months of updates.
To install a previous version of the app you're still entitled to, please click on the relevant link:
From this page, click on the Download this version link against an update that was released before your license expiry date.
Sort of - but it's not yearly. It's every 18 months.
Just as users of BusyCal 1 upgraded to v2, and then from v2 to v3. The only difference being that BusyCal 3 has offered around 4 years of free updates. With macOS receiving yearly updates, many times breaking existing features offered by our apps or increasing the overall burden of providing support for newer system-wide features, it makes a lot more sense to charge for updates spanning over a number of months, instead of trying to win a race against time and re-marketing the same app in dubious new ways, usually offering minimal value for money.
We get it. Subscriptions aren't for everyone.
Part of the reason why we did not push for a paid upgrade for over 4 years (that's 4 years+ of continuous development & support) was because deep down we felt Apple may offer developers with another licensing option, one where we're able to offer free trials to our users and have the flexibility of distributing optional paid upgrades. After years of waiting, it's now clear that Apple sees the App Store suited particularly well for subscriptions instead.
Since we are looking for a sustainable future in building and supporting our complex applications, we decided the only way forward is to offer an optionally renewable, perpetual license directly via our store (something Apple does not plan to offer), while offering a subscription on the Mac App Store. A win-win.
I’ve already paid via the Mac App Store for a previous version of the app. Must I pay anything to continue using that version? If so, why?
As explained here, the Mac App Store version only offers a subscription moving forward. If you continue to use the app you had already purchased, updating to the latest version on the App Store will prompt you to pay a monthly or a yearly subscription. Your only option is to switch to our direct, non-subscription model in case you don't want to pay a subscription fee, however you will will have to pay a one-off upgrade fee in order to download and use the current version. This will cover you for 18 months of free updates.
I'm subscribed to the subscription apps on the Mac App Store, but want to purchase a direct copy. Can I transfer my license?
It is not possible to transfer your subscription based license from the App Store directly. As the App Store uses a subscription model with very different pricing compared to what is offered directly by busymac.com, and is managed by Apple directly, you would need to first cancel your subscription from the App Store, then purchase a copy from our online store. Users can manage App Store subscriptions via the following link: https://support.apple.com/HT202039
Unfortunately, Apple provides us no way to refund subscriptions in any way. If you’re looking for a subscription refund, we recommend reaching out to Apple support.
Yes it does. A single subscription covers all the macs in your family.
Yes! You get 14 days of free trial.
I own a copy from App Store before a subscription version was made available. Can I transfer this license over to the direct version?
The old version of BusyCal 3 and BusyContacts on the App Store have been discontinued. Instead, new versions have been introduced under the subscription model on the App Store. These apps and versions are not interchangeable and so it is not possible to switch to the direct copy from the App Store copy unless:
1) You migrated your app-store copy to the direct version before the 15th of July 2021 and were issued a serial number from our store. In that case, you may download the Trial version and use the serial number issued to you during the registration step.
2) You signed up to the mailing list before 1st Jan 2021 during the initial setting up process (from within App Store copy). Doing so would have auto-assigned you a serial number. Please check your email and use that serial number after downloading the direct Trial version.
If you believe you owned a copy before 1st Jan 2021 and do not wish to utilize the subscription-only version on the App Store, please contact us.
In any case, your direct license covers you for 18 months of updates. You may need to renew your license, at a 20-40% discount (discount rate is subject to current promotional offerings), in case it no longer covers the most recent update.
However, if you wish to switch to the last released version of BusyCal 3 and do not wish to pay a subscription OR obtain a direct license, you can do so for free by following these steps:
1) First, make sure you have the existing App Store version of the app installed. Even if you updated to a new version, that is okay. In case you don't have it already installed, you can download it from your purchased history as explained here: https://support.apple.com/en-ae/guide/app-store/fir0fb69db23/mac
If it's BusyCal you're downloading from the app store, make sure it is version 3. For version 2, you will need to make a separate upgrade from here.
2) Next, simply download our trial version and install it over the app store version. Here are the links:
3) Launch the app and click on the app's name in the top menu bar and then on "Register..."
4) This will switch your license over to our direct, perpetual license
After you have installed these versions, you will be prompted automatically if your license needs to be registered or renewed in case you purchased the copy 18 months ago. In case you do not wish to renew the license, you will be given the option to download the last update you were entitled to download for free. You can see a listing of all the released versions here.
In case you have not yet registered your copy after installing the direct version, you may see a prompt requesting you to register your copy. This is required to validate and assign a license (serial number) against the installed copy. As an exclusive offer for our App Store users, your newly registered copy will be eligible for 18 months of free updates without paying the renewal fee.
You can register your copy by clicking on the app's main menu item, which would be BusyCal or BusyContacts, and then on Register.... You will need to enter your iCloud email address in order to receive a new license key.
This is unfortunately not possible. As the App Store uses a subscription model with very different pricing compared to what is offered directly by busymac.com, and is managed by Apple directly, you would need to subscribe to the App Store separately. If your direct purchase was in the last 30 days, you would be entitled for a refund. Please contact us so we may refund your copy. If your purchase is older than 30 days, we will not be able to process a refund.
BusyCal and BusyContacts are sold separately on the App Store, and so you will need to subscribe to the products separately. (Note: BusyContacts is not available on the App Store at the moment).
Also note that BusyCal iOS is not part of a subscription. It is sold separately on the iOS app store for a one-time fee.
No. While the apps won't function without an active subscription, your data will remain saved on disk - unless of course you manually delete files stored under ~/Library, or use a 3rd party Uninstaller to uninstall BusyCal. Any data synced to a CalDAV / Exchange service prior to the subscription's expiry will remain synced to your online accounts. BusyCal does not remove / modify / alter any data.
Apple gives us no control over refunds in any way whatsoever. You will need to submit a request to Apple for a refund for any App Store app, including BusyCal and BusyContacts. This can be done by signing into reportaproblem.apple.com with your Apple ID.
Weather provided by BusyCal is a value-added service and is in fact offered by a 3rd party weather-provider. Weather Services charge a monthly subscription fee that we solely bear (i.e. our customers are not separately charged). However, if and when we need to switch to a new weather provider, older copies of the app will stop showing weather. In the past BusyCal received updates from Weather Underground, which shutdown and so we switched to Dark Sky. Recently Dark Sky shutdown and we've had to switch again. Each time we switch, existing versions connecting to an older service will no longer display weather. The only way to receive weather updates is to ensure you update to the latest version of BusyCal.
BusyCal and BusyContacts on macOS need to regularly connect to our servers to perform a license check. If you selectively block this connection via a 3rd party firewall software, the apps may refuse to work.
License validity checks are performed primarily to validate "license count / license key utilization" as well as to thwart:
- Piracy, app-cracking
- Unauthorized usage of a license key (after the order has been refunded)
- Cracked or invalid license keys (such as a license key issued to a different user / device)
These checks are applicable to all users - irrespective of whether they paid for an updated license or not. Without these checks, the app is unable to determine if the license key you're using is valid to begin with.
BusyCal and BusyContacts on macOS is available via our online store as well as via a subscription from the Mac App Store. Since we've answered some of the most common questions already, below is a concrete comparison between the different licensing models to find out which one's better for you. Please note, due the differences in licensing and terms between App Store / Setapp and our Direct store, products purchased or subscribed from one store cannot be replaced or interchanged on another.
One-time purchase of a perpetual license you own for $49.99 USD (further discounts when purchasing both BusyCal and BusyContacts).
You can use the app on all of your Macs, including on that of your family members.
Pay once and own the product
Get updates a lot earlier
Get exclusive access to beta versions
- Your purchase comes with free updates for 18 months (requires optional renewal at 20-40% off (actual discount rate is subject to current promotional offerings) in order to receive another 18 months of updates).
Subscription pricing $33.99 USD/year or $3.99 USD/month. You save ~29% on a yearly subscription.
You can use the app on all of your Macs (i.e. it supports Family Sharing).
View and mange your subscriptions: https://support.apple.com/HT202039
Subscribe once and never worry about updates or upgrades. You're always on the latest version.
Auto-renewals managed by App Store, which means easy install, easy updates, easy renewals, easy cancellation and refunds managed by Apple.
Supports family sharing. A single subscription covers the whole family.
Supports flexible monthly billing. Cancel at any time.
Requires an active subscription. No longer functions if your subscription expires.
BusyCal does not support the current date in the dock when not running.
Subscription pricing ~$107.99 USD/year, for dozens of apps.
View and mange your subscription via Setapp directly.
A collection of hand-picked, glorious apps for a fixed subscription fee.
Subscribe once and never worry about updates or upgrades. You're always on the latest version.
Purchase managed by Setapp, which means easy install, easy updates, easy cancellation and refunds managed by Setapp.
No longer functions if your subscription expires
We receive a very small share of the subscription fee.
licensing, license, update, upgrade, paid update, paid upgrade, buy copy, subscription, subscribe, app store