Family Tree Maker Finally Gets a Free Update: Here’s How to Find It

Family Tree Maker (FTM) has been through more than a few twists and turns over the last year. In Dec 2015, Ancestry announced that it would no longer sell or support its popular genealogy program and many thought FTM was done for.

Shortly after, however, it was announced that Software MacKiev, the maker of Family Tree Maker’s Mac version, would be taking over the program. At the time MacKiev promised that they would provide a free update to the software to those with current versions of the program (2014 on Windows and 3 on Mac). That was almost a year ago — and MacKiev has now made good on that promise.

This weekend, MacKiev sent out an email to current users (who are registered and subscribed to their updates list) letting them know that a stable, recommended update is now live (an earlier, less-than-fully-stable update was offered in late 2016). This update provides a new version of Family Tree Maker – 2014.1 or 3.1 depending on your system – and it looks like they’ve made some big improvements.

The new version promises to increase stability, security, speed and responsiveness and has, according to MacKiev, been extensively tested to work out the bugs. If you’ve been having issues with your copy of 2014 or 3, as many of us have, this update may be your solution.

Who qualifies for the update?

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According to MacKiev, the update is for users of FTM 2014 (or Mac 3) who registered their copy of the program. When following the link to receive the update you will be asked to enter information to verify your registration.

What if I never registered or don’t know what version I have?

If you never registered you can do so under the “Help” drop down (top left) in your software. This is also where you can find out what version of the program you have if you are unsure (click on “About” under the “Help” drop down). Once registered, you can sign up for updates from MacKiev here. Click on the green circle in the upper left.

What if I have an older version of the program?

A discounted offer to upgrade is being offered. You can find this offer in the email they sent to registered owners and here.

Will TreeSync still work in the new version?

According to the update email, TreeSync® will continue to work after the update. MacKiev will be retiring the current version of TreeSync® eventually, but will replace it with a new version before they do. This a big relief since many of us count on that feature for a seamless integration between devices and to more easily back up our ancestry records.

Should I update to the new Family Tree Maker?

The decision about whether or not to update is yours, but given the ongoing issues many have been having with FTM 2014 and older versions, this update seems like a great idea. It promises to provide much-needed stability and speed, and will no doubt be required for any future updates or upgrades. There may be some issues, as there usually are with updates, but MacKeiv’s release of an earlier version of this update likely helped them solve many of these bugs before offering the new, stable version.

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So, how do I update?

If you received the update email from Software MacKiev read it carefully and follow the instructions. If you did not get the email you can find a link to the update page below.

A few important words of caution, as provided by MacKiev, before you update.

Make sure you have your version installed. The update will look for an installed version to update. If you deleted your copy at some point you can get a free replacement here.

Do a manual backup of your tree with media. This is always a good idea every time you update. To do this, simply select “Backup” under the “File” menu link in the upper left hand corner of FTM. Make sure you give your file a new name, such as YourTreeBackup0117 and don’t forget to make sure the media checkbox is selected. This only takes a moment.

Don’t unlink your tree from Ancestry. The update will move your link to the new version.

The update process is fairly simple. Follow this link to the update page, verify your registration and then follow the ordering steps provided by MacKiev. They will ask you to fill out an order form for your free update, will present you with some addon items to consider before completing your “purchase,” and then provide you with a download link.

Once you have downloaded the new update make sure your copy of FTM is closed and run the provided installer. An install wizard will walk you through the needed steps. We had no issues updating our copy.

You might also enjoy:

Stop ‘Saving’ Records to Your Ancestry Tree Until You Read This – information on the importance of backing up each media file in your tree so you don’t lose access and how to do it with FTM

Are You Still Using Family Tree Maker? If So, Read This – includes alternatives to Family Tree Maker

37 thoughts on “Family Tree Maker Finally Gets a Free Update: Here’s How to Find It”

  1. I have version 16 but have new pc with windows 11, which did not accept FTM right away, I fiddled with different things and can use the program but Im interested in upgrading, will my info install in new upgrade?

  2. The latest version in this machine is FTM 2019. How can I update this to 2020.

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