Quicken 2016 for Mac worth the Upgrade?

Last updated on Aug 27, 2017

In the past few years, Intuit has done an incredibly awful job positioning Quicken, its personal finance software, on the Mac. Despite my experience with Quicken Essentials and Quicken 2015, I decided to upgrade to Quicken 2016. In this post I’ll share my first impression of the latest version and tell you if the upgrade was worth it.

Quicken: A Brief History

Intuit used to have a fairly decent personal finance software called Quicken for Mac 2007. It was a PowerPC application that stopped working when Apple switched to the Intel (x86) processor architecture and deprecated Rosetta in OS X 10.7 Lion.

As a result, Intuit had to rebuild Quicken for x86. Instead of taking the time and doing it right, they released Quicken Essentials for Mac. Unfortunately, Quicken Essentials was a huge disappointment and made many longtime Quicken users really angry. In retrospect, they took their sweet time but just developed sub par software.

Intuit promised to fix the problems and they released Quicken for Mac. Unfortunately, the new version wasn’t much better. I purchased Quicken 2015 and had nothing but issues. It lacked major features, was super buggy and Intuit’s (outsourced) technical support gave me an anger stroke on more than once occasion.

Last year I decided to reduce my financial planning requirements to the bare minimum that Quicken would be able to properly handle. That is, managing and categorizing bank and credit card transactions. I stopped trying to make budgeting work and I removed all investment accounts from my Quicken file because they would regularly show wrong balances.

But even then, Quicken managed to bug the heck out of me with asking to sign in multiple times every time I launched the application. Plus, the app would show an annoying “Upgrade to Quicken 2016” screen that could not be permanently dismissed. I was not amused and started looking for alternatives, such as Banktivity (formerly known as iBank). Unfortunately, Banktivity doesn’t support “Tags” that I have used extensively in Quicken. As a result, I took another look at Quicken 2016 and decided to give it a try.

Quicken 2016 – What’s New

With Quicken 2015, I couldn’t  create annual budgets or keep an eye on cashflow. Instead, I just used it to categorize and tag transactions. I would export all transactions into Excel once a week where I sliced and diced the data using Pivot tables. But with the last update to Quicken 2016, Intuit finally added the ability to create 12-months budgets. They also added the ability to export Category Summary and Tax reports. Those were the two features that pushed me over the fence to upgrade.

12-Months Budget

Quicken 2016 Features

  • Pay your bills from right within Quicken
  • 12-month budget
  • Portfolio time machine
  • Single-click upgrade from Quicken Windows to Quicken Mac
  • Export Category Summary and Tax Summary reports to a csv file
  • Free phone support
  • Ability to transfer money between different accounts within your bank
Export Category Summary and Tax Report

First Impression

Quicken 2016 seems to be the first usable version of Quicken since Quicken for Mac 2007. Budgeting finally works and I can export certain reports that are needed during tax season. With Quicken 2015 I had to send screenshots of certain reports to my CPA. Also, the mobile app finally seems to be working reliably. It used to be a total mess with earlier versions that would lead manually entered transaction categories being overwritten by what the software thought was the correct category.

12-months budgets and the ability to export Category Summary reports made Quicken 2016 a worthy upgrade for me.

I also noticed that they fixed a couple of bugs, including the multiple login screens and mobile sync. I still haven’t added my investment accounts back in and I didn’t try their phone support yet. Fortunately, I don’t need either one as long as basic transaction management, budgeting and export functions are working.


Quicken 2016 is what Quicken Essentials should have been. Instead, it took Intuit solid 9 years to finally come up with usable software. Even worse, they had the cojones to charge $75 for every unusable release in between. If it wasn’t for my existing Quicken file and my reliance on transaction tags, I would have probably switched to Banktivity. In my situation, Quicken 2016 was the more convenient choice and so far I haven’t regretted my decision.

Quicken Comparison Chart

If you recently switched from Windows to Mac, you will find that Quicken still lacks a significant number of features that have been available on Windows for a long time. But knowing Intuit, I’m sure they’ll add those in over the next couple of years, charging $75 for every upgrade. You can purchase the latest version of Quicken in the Mac App Store or directly on quicken.com.

Michael Kummer

Atlanta | Austrian | Blogger | Father of a preemie | Paleo fan | Traveler | Amateur photographer | CrossFit
4 Responses to "Quicken 2016 for Mac worth the Upgrade?"
  1. I lived through what you lived through, but reached a different conclusion. I grew so tired of Intuit’s failure to deliver on their oft-repeated promises for a decent OS X version of Quicken, that I put it on my ‘never buy’ list.

    There’s an old adage that says, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Meaning: The shame for that first lie falls on the liar. The shame for believing subsequent lies falls on the believer. Intuit is way beyond that second attempt to fool.

    My suspicion is that Intuit kept promising but not delivering to keep a Mac competitor from entering or succeeding in that market. What they weren’t doing, they wanted no one to do, leaving Mac owners out in the cold.

    Even now, their interest in the Mac market seems half-hearted. It wouldn’t have been that hard to make a Mac version fully feature-compatible with the Windows version. As you note, they’ll only do that if they can dribble the new features out in expensive upgrades.

  2. Have you considered upgrading to 2017?

    The new owners of Quicken just released 2017 for Mac. About 15 years ago I started using Quicken for Windows and loved it, then moved to Microsoft Money and liked it even more. But then eventually switched to Linux, and could never find a decent alternative for personal finance app. I tried GnuCash, which basically requires a CPA license to use. Also tried MoneyDance. I eventually just didn’t use anything, since my needs are simple bank transaction review.

    But just last weekend I spent hours trying to get MoneyDance working, and also trying Banktivity. Neither worked with my relatively straightforward finances (a 401k, a few bank accounts, etc.). All balances were way off. So I googled Quicken again and, to my surprise, Quicken 2017 for Mac was released THAT DAY. Although I was skeptical, I took a chance given the new ownership. So far so good. It’s still not as nice as the Windows version (circa 2006), but it seems to work so far.

    • Hi Mark,

      I just upgraded to Quicken for Mac 2016 and I’m not sure if I want to spend the money to upgrade again. The custom reports in Quicken 2017 seem intriguing but I’ll probably wait until tax season to see how far I get with the existing reports before pulling the trigger to upgrade.



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