Tinderbox v9 Icon

Licence & Registration

Tinderbox offers a number of method to buy and update Tinderbox.

Normal licence

One year from first registering, the right to use new major and minor versions Tinderbox ceases unless you purchase an upgrade licence. for those needing volume license see 'Multi-user (Group) licences' below.

Upgrade licence

These are for existing licensed Tinderbox that is out of its free update period of 1 year. This licence essentially re-enables access to new releases and full support. As Tinderbox is under continuous development, the main gain is access to fresh releases and the new features (and fixes) they bring.

Not all users need all features so some users may care to wait longer between upgrades—upgrades are significantly cheaper than buying a new licence. Unlike many apps, a user can purchase an upgrade for any existing 'lapsed' licence and jump to using the current app. For those on a budget, or whose Tinderbox use has fallen off, it is simple way to return the app to full support.

Thus, once initially licensed, Eastgate offers a simply way to refresh an old licence, as well as to support regular users.

Subscription licence

For those using Tinderbox regularly, i.e. with a real need to keep their installation up to date, a subscription method is offered. Here, an annual subscription licence is issued/billed automatically by Eastgate. (N.B. this does require them—or their fulfilment house—hold user payment details.)

'Fest' sales

For those on a tight budget, such as students and unfunded researchers, Tinderbox has historically been part of the bi-annual festival sale of—mainly macOS—artisanal software: 'WinterFest' (late December) and 'SummerFest' (late June). During the Fest sales discounts of c25% can be obtained on new (individual only) licences, and sometimes on upgrades as well.

The sales should still be of interest to those with existing Tinderbox licences and other Fest offerings include applications that many use alongside Tinderbox: Bookends (reference manager) , DEVONthink (a powerful 'everything bucket') , BBEdit (an excellent general text-based file editor), … etc. Successive Fests can be a useful budget-conscious way to build out a library of good macOS tools.

'Backstage' Early Access Program

For those wanting access to the very latest features, or even just the ability to see what's going on, Eastgate offers a further subscriber-only service (in addition to the normal licensing) called the Backstage. The linked page described the details. The program gives access to interim pre-release (beta) builds and so use of features weeks or months before public release. Suffice it to say, most of aTbRef since c. version 5 has been written in the current beta rather than the current public release: Eastgate's betas are remarkably well-behaved.


Prices will vary over the years so are not recorded here, but can be checked on the Eastgate's Order page. Note that upgrades are are significantly cheaper than original purchase price, and subscriptions are slightly cheaper than upgrades.

Multi-user (Group) licences

Tinderbox is a powerful tool for workgroups, classrooms, and laboratories, for whom multi-user licences may make more sense. To multiple options can be purchased directly from the Eastgate website:

Further detail on licencing