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Mobile Apps

Get notified when an expensive app's price drops

Don't want to pay $9.99 for TuneIn Radio Pro or $19.99 for Scrivener? Here's how to find out when these and other pricey apps go on sale.

Last week, Literature & Latte released Scrivener for iOS, bringing the popular long-form writing tool to iPhones and iPads. The price: $19.99.

Ouch. I'm not saying the app isn't worth it, especially for anyone who's working on, say, a screenplay or dissertation. But if you can't afford it or don't think $20 is a fair price, you may prefer to wait for a sale.

Yep, apps go on sale. Happens all the time, in fact. The challenge is finding out when those sales happen, because although iTunes does let you create a wish list, it doesn't notify you of price drops for items on that list.

In other words, if you want to find out when an expensive app like Scrivener goes on sale, you'd have to keep checking the App Store -- hardly a productive use of your time.

Thankfully, there's another way: You can set up a wish list that includes price-monitoring. (Note that the following instructions are for iOS users. If you're an Android user, skip to the end for a similar option.)

Step 1: Head to AppShopper and register for an account. (It's free.)

Step 2: Check your user profile and make sure that Notify me of Wishlist price drops by email is checked.

Click Want to add an app to your wish list. AppShopper will notify you of price drops!

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step 3: Search for an app you want to track. A good example: Human Anatomy Atlas 2017 Edition, currently priced at $24.99. (If the app has been around awhile, you can check the App Activity sidebar to see what kind of price drops have happened in the past. A game like Bastion is a great example: It frequently goes on sale to 99 cents from its regular $4.99.)

Step 4: Click the Want button, which instantly adds the app to your wish list.

And that's it! Now, whenever that app's price drops, you'll get a notification. If you've found a faster/easier/better way to keep tabs on app prices, shout it out in the comments!

I'm embarrassed to say I originally didn't include an option for the Android crowd! For Android users, there's an app called AppSales. It's free, and it offers a watchlist that can notify you when an app's price drops. Definitely a must-have for anyone looking to track Android app prices!