Keeping Track of Software Licenses


CoolOSXApps posted SerialSticker, which is an application for storing all your software licenses. I don’t know how it works, as I haven’t tried it. But it got me wondering how everyone manages the multitudes of software they accumulate on their systems (assuming it’s legit…).

I know there are a handful – if not several – dedicated applications to this end. There are even other catch-all programs such as Yojimbo that have been mentioned for this sort of usage. Heck, you can even eliminate another software license and just use OS X’s built-in Keychain to store that information.

While all of these are terrific, they ultimately boil down to the need to backup those apps/databases. If you’re not diligent about that, then it’s likely not going to help you much. So my personal method is to keep a draft in my web-based email account with all that information in one place. It nicely eliminates searching multiple emails for all the serials I need, and it’s readily available from my internet connection should I be rebuilding a machine from scratch.

So that’s how I roll. How about you? Have you found a dedicated app that you swear by, or maybe something that you’ve shoe-horned into that role? Do tell. Need more ideas, our Community covered it somewhat over here.




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Cameron M.

I keep an RTF text file in a Knox vault. I like the FileVault in OS X but really don’t need it for my entire system.

Nic Waller

I store a bunch of text files in an encrypted DMG, and I have the DMG accessible via LaunchBar. It keeps my passwords close at hand, but at the same time highly secure. I back up the encrypted DMG (and other important files) to a backup harddrive and two offsite locations.


I’m with Guthrie on this. A special app isn’t needed as it just seems time consuming. I use my IMAP mailbox with a sub folder called serial and have a text file that I will be moving to DTPro. 99% of the time, I search and find the serial I need.


I keep a text file in DevonThink and a folder in Mail that I have backed up. Usually I just search my mailbox, I don’t really see the need for a dedicated app for this.


I used to use mail to store all my serials, because it was relatively easy to search for the product name, and vendors usually email the serial anyway… however, I learned a tough lesson when Mail (to be fair, somewhere in the 10.2 OS) started randomly discarding old messages.
I lost a bunch of serials that way – fortunately I was also a luddite and had printed the emails and kept them in a folder (in a drawer in my desk!). So, in the end – paper saved the day.

For now, I’m using an excel file.



I have a little system I have been using for about the last two years, it works pretty well. I simply GMail myself the following…

subject: Software License | Name of Software
body: whatever the serial number is and any notes, etc

Then I tag it “Software License” and archive it. That way it is searchable, or I can just look at all the Software License codes. Also its nice because you can find a serial number if you are not at your home computer.


I’ve been using SplashID on my Palm. It comes with a Mac version that can read the same database. The backup is my Palm (or vice versa).


I also roll with the email approach. I have a special label in gmail called “accounts” and put everything in there. Simple and I don’t have to back it up.

Darren Squashic

After using Keychain for a few months I had enough, so I bought Wallet for storing all of my passwords and serial numbers. So far it’s great.


I used to have a custom Filemaker Pro database for this, but recently I just moved everything into a Google Apps spreadsheet. It’s not very sophisticated – I just keep the app name and serial number (and the location of the original serial #, eg. email, CD case, Paypal, etc.). I don’t bother with the home page of the app or anything else because I figure I can just Google it.

I like that I can keep it online *and* download a backup to my Mac (as a .xls file or other format) for safe keeping.

Scott Gant

I second Yojimbo. While I don’t have it running all the time, I do store all my serial numbers and my TextMate key on it.

I don’t have .mac yet as I’m waiting to see if the recent alliance of Google and Apple will change the way .mac is run. It may not have any impact at all, but I’m still taking a “wait & see” approach.


Yojimbo all the way. It’s worth the money just for the serial number storage. I’m not fond of the keychain as it doesn’t take much for it to become corrupt or broken.

Yojimbo works with .Mac so my iMac and MacBook all have the same info anywhere. Good stuff.

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