One of the biggest news items in the personal finance software space for 2015 was the releasing a new version of Quicken for Mac. The last time there was a true update for Quicken for Mac was in 2007. Quicken Essentials for Mac was released after that, but no one really takes that app seriously.
For many Mac users who like using Quicken, it has been necessary to run VMware Fusion and use the Windows version. For the most part, when Intuit owned Quicken it was ignoring the Mac platform, and that resulted in problems for Mac users who want to use Quicken.
Now with the 2015 version under their belt, they just released the latest version — Quicken 2016 for Mac. Though this is the last version, at least with Intuit. It should be made known that Intuit has announced they have sold the Quicken product line to H.I.G. Capital.
Quicken for Mac Features
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Quicken 2016 for Mac New Features
- Bill Payment — You can make payments within the Quicken app.
- Ability to transfer money between bank accounts — If set up within Quicken, you can transfer monies between accounts.
- Free Phone Support — Phone support is available Monday to Friday, 5 AM to 5 PM PST, and you can use their online chat support 24/7.
In other words, this is a very minor update. The primary gripe from us previously was the lack of a bill payment feature. So the addition of this feature is welcome news and should motivate some users who dissed the 2015 version. You’ll need to be running OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or newer on your Macintosh to run Quicken 2016 for Mac.
As I mentioned in my Quicken 2016 for Windows review I find it odd that one of the primary features Quicken mentions is free customer support.
The Bill Pay section lacks the new functionality that the Windows 2016 counterpart has, specifically, the automatic download of your bills.
File Conversion Process
If you are currently running Quicken for Windows via VMWare Fusion, it might be possible to convert your setup to Quicken for Mac. One of the improvements in Quicken 2016 was the conversion of multiple older versions of Quicken.
Specifically, there is full support to move from Quicken for Windows (2010 or greater) or the 2007 version of Quicken for Mac. In my real world test, with over 70 accounts and over five years of transactions I was able to convert from my Windows data file without issue. I assume Quicken tested this feature quite a bit, since most users of their service are already using Quicken in some form. Unfortunately, passwords are not transferred and you must reenter them into Quicken for Mac. Otherwise the process was painless.
Be aware Quicken 2016 for Mac does not function exactly the same as its Windows counterpart. In some ways this is good, because Quicken can take advantage of features available only in Apple’s OS X operating system. On the other hand, Quicken for Mac operates slightly different than the Windows counterpart. For someone like me who’s very familiar with the Windows version, it was sometimes hard to find various features.
Features Missing Compared to Quicken for Windows
The Windows version is still Quicken’s primary platform and gets all of the functionality. The Macintosh version is missing features such as:
- Debt Reduction Planner
- Customizable Portfolio View
- Automatically Link Online Bills to Quicken to See the Current Due Date and Amount Due (New for Windows 2016 Version)
- Free Credit Report
- Portfolio X-Ray
For some users of Quicken, these missing features make Quicken for Mac a nonstarter. To see exactly what’s missing visit their web site.
One major sticking point with me is their investment reporting isn’t as flexible as the Windows version. For someone like me who likes to track my investments in detail, this is a deal breaker, though it’s slightly better than Banktivity‘s investment section. For some, the lack of investing functionality might not be a significant issue.
First of all, the fact that Intuit acquired Mint is somewhat evident in Quicken for Mac. This version incorporates the look that many Mac users have come to know and love about the design and interface. As a result, the redesign is sleek and attractive. It’s also easy to navigate, and the account setup process is fairly straightforward. Intuit supports over 14,500 financial institutions for downloading accounts and will remain available with the new owners of Quicken.
On top of that, there is mobile syncing, so you can sync up your information between your mobile device and your desktop. This is a convenient way to manage your finances if you use Quicken for Mac. This mobile app is free to download and is available for Apple’s iOS and Google Android devices.
Another new development when comparing to Quicken Essentials is the ability to track your investments. Although from our testing Personal Capital does it better.
In our testing, we did have an issue with trying to set up Betterment which at the time isn’t supported. It was frustrating, but probably not an issue for someone who already uses Personal Capital or a similar investment-tracking program and keeps the personal finance side of it separate.
The navigation is easy so you can easily add or delete transactions. It’s also got an easy-to-use reconcile function, much like what was available in earlier versions. Many people overlook the ability to reconcile your accounts, but we like it, because it reminds you to make sure that your records match what your bank has and helps you identify problems in reporting. Using the reconcile feature is a very important feature for anyone serious about managing their finances.
Another nice touch is that Quicken for Mac makes it easy to analyze your finances. The new interface means the display is easy to read and understand, and graphs and charts make it easy to see exactly what is happening with your money.
You can choose to look at it in terms of monthly, quarterly, year-to-date, or other time periods. One of the biggest issues I had when I imported my data from my bank was that a number of items were not categorized. So, I had to manually begin categorizing what wasn’t evident to the system. Actually getting the information into the program wasn’t that difficult. I had to download a file from my bank and then drop it into Quicken, but it was easy to do with drag and drop.
However, updating the uncategorized items can be tedious, and I’ve heard stories that other data imports didn’t go very well, so be prepared for that. As you can see, I didn’t finish changing all of my categories. But the quick overview of my spending was appreciated. I also like that it’s possible to see reports of cash flow, although I don’t like the layout as much as I like the way Moneydance presents the information.
It’s also possible to see your spending over time, and compare how you are doing in terms of cost cutting. You can also set up savings goals to follow, but it’s not possible to create long-term life goals. For me, this isn’t a big deal, since I don’t use such tools in my personal finance software. However, for those who like to use their personal finance software for long-term planning, Quicken 2016 for Mac may not be the best option.
Another issue is the lack of bill reminders in calendar form. You can set up a bill reminder, but you can’t view your upcoming bills in calendar format, which makes it harder for many to be interested in this application. It’s a small thing, but it’s convenient for many to be able to see things laid out in a calendar format.
Additionally, there is no paycheck tracking ability with the new Quicken for Mac, so if you have been using Quicken on Windows to track income, along with deductions, you might be disappointed. And even though the interface is sleek and easy to use, the reports and graphs aren’t as customizable, and there is some functionality lacking.
- Bill Payment — Now available in the Mac version.
- Native OS X App — Quicken for Mac is built from scratch for the Apple Macintosh which allows the software to fully utilitize the features within OS X.
- Good Conversion — If you are converting from other versions of Quicken the process is pretty painless.
- Unknown Future — Intuit sold Quicken and has a new owner. Though the new owner states they are commited to supporting the OS X platform.
- Missing Features — Mac version lacks some important features compared to its Windows sibling.
- Weak Budgeting Functionality - Budgeting is not as strong as the Windows counterpart.
- Expensive — It is expensive compared to other personal finance software available for Macintosh.
Quicken 2016 for Mac isn’t really that major of an upgrade. If you are currently using Quicken 2015 for Mac we recommend sticking with that version.
The primary motivator for using this version is the Bill Pay feature. It is great they added this feature, but it should have been in the 2015 version. Because of this new feature, we increased the score for this product ½ star from the previous version to the new ranking of 3½ stars.
During Intuit’s multi-year lapse of updates, many frustrated users switched to other alternatives to Quicken. The new owners of Quicken have stated they are committed to the Macintosh platform, so expect future updates and quicker bug fixes. If you have already converted to something else, like Banktivity or Moneydance, it might not be worth the hassle to switch back.
Quicken 2016 for Mac isn’t a bad choice for new users looking for a native and local OS X app. It does what it needs to do and will satisfy the needs of many users, though it’s still lacking some of the features many Quicken for Windows users are accustomed to.
Miranda Marquit contributed to the article.