The App Store by numbers, and Wikipedia wherever you want

The word can’t doesn’t really apply very often, although finding the way can sometimes be elusive. Here are two potential solutions to problems which might at first have seemed insoluble.

Getting a better grip on the App Store

Finding things on the App Store can be a nightmare, which Apple reckons should be much improved with Mojave. But sometimes it gets into a real tangle, and there isn’t a great deal that its interface lets you do to help.

If you’re comfortable working at Terminal’s command line, then mas could be the answer. Designed for scripting and automation, it works directly with the store’s product identifier numbers. Once installed, ideally using Homebrew, although binaries are available too, you can list the product identifiers of all installed apps, install or update them by number – and, most importantly, you can perform selective updates. It doesn’t, though, allow you to purchase or install apps for the first time.

mas was created by @argon, and is available here.

Offline Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and more with Kiwix

If you’re going to take your Mac or iPad where internet connections are unusual or painfully slow, retaining access to reference sources like Wikipedia can seem impossible. If you’ve got the space for an offline version, the best solution is Kiwix, available here or in the App Store (as Kiwix Desktop) for macOS, and in the App Store for iOS.

Then, from the Kiwix page here, select the reference site that you want to keep accessible. The choice includes many different versions of Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikiversity, Wikivoyage, Wikispecies and more.

Downloads vary considerably in size. A full Wikipedia in English is around 83 GB, which can be streamed to you via BitTorrent if you prefer, but without pictures that can drop to 20 GB, and Wikivoyage is only 744 MB even with pictures. These come as compressed ZIM files all ready for use with the Kiwix reader app.

Kiwix and offline versions of Wikipedia products are all free, thanks to the Wikimedia Foundation, which supports the project. If you do use them, please consider donating to help pay for their cost.