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FileMaker announces plans to drop Bento

updated 10:42 am EDT, Wed July 31, 2013

Software likely defeated by other notetaking, calendar, contacts apps

Apple-owned FileMaker has announced plans to discontinue Bento, its personal database software for OS X and iOS. The final release, Bento 4, will remain at the FileMaker Store and the Mac and iOS App Stores until the end of September. People wanting to continue using FileMaker software can upgrade to FileMaker Pro for $120.

Bento was first launched in 2008, and cracked over 1 million sales by January 2013. The software may be increasingly redundant however, since Bento is aimed at storing personal information such as notes, contacts, recipes, and exercise routines. Many cheap or free apps now fulfill similar tasks, such as Evernote, or apps linked to cloud services like Google or iCloud.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    with the demise of rosetta, applworks, iweb and now bento I am increasingly hesitant to invest in any appleware - bento for one integrates graphics files with the database - unique and very different than filemaker...

    without virtualization of rosetta there is no option to access legacy data or workflows that are set in place and I am rather ironically finding moving everything to xp in virtualbox is the best way to access historical files

    additionally many technical applications with significant programming investments function very well on xp - they do not BENEFIT from an upgraded os Apple churning more and more for the sake of churn ? I am both a long time user and a shareholder and am increasingly discouraged in adoption of appleware - are Pages, Numbers, iLife and iBooks Author even worth learning let alone depending upon...?

    I understand xp is supported out to 2020 in W7 and is looking better and better...

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    ... does it make sense to futureproof all files from pages, numbers and keynote to open source software such as openoffice or libreoffice?

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    from the filemaker website:

    "there are Bento functions that are not features of FileMaker Pro including:
    Integration with the OSX Contacts, iCal, and iPhoto applications
    Field types supported in Bento but not FileMaker: Rating, Encrypted, Simple List, File List and Message List
    Collections and Smart Collections (In FileMaker you set up relationships and finds to accomplish the same tasks)
    Bento provides Wi-Fi sync with Bento iPad and iPhone. FileMaker allows you to copying your complete database to the free FileMaker Go apps for iPad and iPhone. You can also make modifications and copy the database back. But you can't sync.
    Finally, FileMaker Pro takes more work to set up than Bento."

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    I feel your frustration, bobolicious! I, for one, was glad that Bento came along as a low level replacement for FileMaker. It offered an easy setup without all the excessive features of FileMaker Pro, especially on mobile devices. Now, like FileMaker Mobile, we're left hanging in the wind with a solution that will quickly grow obsolete, especially in the iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks environments.

    However, I feel this policy is more in line with FileMaker's usual strategy rather than Apple's; it often abandons solutions or features with future developments. Although Apple owns FileMaker, it's a subsidiary and runs its operations pretty much independently of Apple. I believe that's one reason we've not seen better integration with Apple's products (iCloud, Calendar, iOS)...some of which is probably the result of having Windows solutions too and wishing to maintain feature parity.

    Still, Bento works fine now and provides me the benefits of an easy-to-use database program for storing simple data. But how long I continue to use it looks to be mere weeks now instead of years. Guess I'll soon enough be migrating this information to Evernote.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 09-17-99

    Not enough people bought Bento. It's that simple. Don't take it personally.

    And it doesn't appear Bento is going to stop working in the near future. Keep using it, and keep an eye out for a replacement in the meantime.

  1. daqman

    Junior Member

    Joined: 09-15-00

    "Keep using it, and keep an eye out for a replacement in the meantime."

    Well that's the issue really. To replace Bento you have to get the data out of it in a format that can be imported into the replacement. With development of Bento ended export options are limited to what already exists. Similarly bugs will never be fixed and missing features remain missing. Better to ditch Bento a.s.a.p.!

  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 03-22-04

    I been a Filemaker user/developer since the earliest Macs and frankly was a bit pissed when Bento was released, since it was in direct competition with those of us building DBs for clients using FMP Advanced. And it seemed like a bad idea fro FM anyway, because FM has always been great at building DB utility but the alleged plug-and-play templates they released were never well-done turnkey solutions; awful in fact.

    So I am sorry some users are being burned (like so many of us were scr*wed when Apple killed MobileMe) but I am not surprised that Bento failed for Filemaker because it played to something FM never did well: understanding the minutiae of exactly what consumers need to do with a DB - - as opposed to building a lower-level DB core, which they excel at.

    Bento was a mistake and now it will be gone. A good thing IMO.

    Filemaker Pro is truly excellent database software and FM does offer a more than half-off deal to Bento users. Smart users will take the deal.

    FM offers a migration utility for Bento database info that I would expect will deal with most data. Or of course one could just keep using Bento, presumably for years; FM is not Adobe where if one fails to pay a subscription payment one's work product becomes no longer manipulable.

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    hardware sales would seem to have some relation to ease of migration. at last check perhaps 1/3 of the installed base had not spent the modest update fee to move past snow, and there are many online articles calling snow the equivalent of xp because of the need for legacy support on workflow investment.

    would simply updating/changing the apple eula to allow snow virtualization offer a workable future proofing solution for the loyal long time mac user base?

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    The reason I bought Bento because for home use, not for business usage. Also there's a huge different in price tag: $30 vs. $300. I want something user friendly and easy setup without going through manual. Bento fits the bill. At this point, I am looking for a replacement and no thank you FileMaker. I thought Evernote is just a copy writing tool, not a database software. How can Evernote be a replacement?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by boboliciousView Post

    hardware sales would seem to have some relation to ease of migration. at last check perhaps 1/3 of the installed base had not spent the modest update fee to move past snow, and there are many online articles calling snow the equivalent of xp because of the need for legacy support on workflow investment.

    I dunno about the XP comparison:

    According to the most recent WEB usage stats I could find in a quick google,

    XP is still used by some 40% of Windows users, twelve years after it was released, and more than six years after a successor was released.

    10.6 is used by about 30% of OS X users, four years after it was released, and two years after a successor was released.

    Windows 8 install base surpasses Vista, still trails all Mac OS X installs

    It's also worth pointing out that most people don't actually upgrade unless there's something that requires the newer OS. So having 30% of users on Snow Leopard is more likely a result of a) people having no compelling reason to upgrade, and b) 10.6 not missing anything vital to them, rather than users clinging to Rosetta.

  1. Lynn_Fredricks

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Don't bother porting to Filemaker which has very non portable binary elements - its like making the same mistake twice. Get a full on RAD tool like LiveCode or Xojo, plus a powerful database engine.

  1. rldillon

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-24-01

    Apple should make Bento the database component of iWork - long overdue...

  1. Waragainstsleep

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 03-20-04

    What Apple should do is build Filemaker Go into iOS.

    They give it away anyway, integrating it would mean that any iOS device could easily parse FM URLs and let people make all sorts of custom DB apps without having to muck around helping end users to get them working. I think it would be a pretty compelling enterprise feature, should sell a few extra FMP licenses and would be something Google couldn't easily copy in Android.

  1. ClickSpace

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-23-99

    Tap Forms ( ) is an alternative to Bento.

  1. jeffvw53

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-16-13

    Dabitat ( is also a great alternative. Cloud based, no sync'ing and collaborative.

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