With the arrival of macOS Catalina, Apple's transition towards 64-bit technology is complete. Starting with macOS Catalina, 32-bit apps no work on your computer. With that being said, there are some workarounds to consider if you happen to have older software that's essential for work or play. Think VM!
And, in my (albeit limited) testing, most if not all of the 32-bit apps that worked in High Sierra (10.13) continued to work in macOS Mojave (10.14). The bad news is that will cease working next. With the release of macOS 10.13.4 High Sierra, the company started the process of phasing out 32-bit apps and gave developers ample time to update their apps with 64-bit code. It is possible that the initial release of macOS Mojave will have 32-bit app support but Apple might drop it altogether in a future point release of the OS.
MacOS 10.14 Mojave, the version of the Mac operating system before the new macOS Catalina, is the last version that supports 32-bit software. With Catalina, only 64-bit software will be supported. Jul 12, 2020 The warnings continued in macOS 10.14 (Mojave). Starting with macOS 10.15 ( Catalina), 32-bit applications will cease working altogether. Bit applications on Macs – St. Ignatius College Prep Tech Bit Apps in macOS Catalina; Bit Apps 'Not Optimized for Your Mac' No Longer Working on; bit app compatibility with macOS High Sierra 10. Step 1: Identify your 32-bit Apps. To identify your 32-bit apps, choose About This Mac in the Apple menu and then click the System Report button. Oct 24, 2019 One possible solution to the 32-bit application dilemma is to run a version of the latest macOS that fully supports your app in a virtual machine. A virtual machine, or VM, is an emulated computer running on top of your current OS installation as a program. Jan 30, 2019 To assist with automating this task, a script is available which uses the /usr/sbin/systemprofiler command line tool to detect all 32-bit apps installed in /Applications, /Library or /usr/local and output the list to a logfile stored in /var/log. For more details, please see below the jump. The script does the following: 1.
Do this first
Before doing anything else, you should check with the app developer to see if a 64-bit version of your software title is available. The transition to 64-bit technology was a lengthy one for Apple and the odds are high that your developer did make the switch.
Do you have 32-bit apps installed on your system?
Moving on, you can confirm whether you have 32-bit apps on your Mac by:
- Choose the Apple icon on the Mac toolbar.
- Click About This Mac.
- Select System Report.
Select Legacy Software in the sidebar. All legacy software is 32-bit.
Use virtualization to run your old apps
Here's a look at the best ways to run older software on your Mac.
Running older software
The issue with running old versions of software is that it can eventually 'break' and not function on a future version of the OS you are running it on. You can hope that the vendor of your application will keep on updating the software to run on future OS updates, but what if you have a very specific program that is no longer maintained? Or perhaps you have a software license for your current version of an application but upgrading to a more modern version introduces too great a cost?
Running a virtual machine
One possible solution to the 32-bit application dilemma is to run a version of the latest macOS that fully supports your app in a virtual machine. A virtual machine, or VM, is an emulated computer running on top of your current OS installation as a program. The VM takes resources from your actual computer and uses them to run itself in a contained environment as a separate system altogether. Think of it like the Matrix where the real world is your physical computer and the 'dream' world in the VM.
Benefits of a VM
Since you needn't buy new hardware, you can simply run an instance of the macOS version that will run your application without issue regardless of that app being 32 bit or 64 bit for as long as you keep your VM. If you upgrade the macOS on your physical Mac, the VM version is completely separate from that process so you'll still be able to keep the 'old' macOS on the VM and run the 'new' macOS for all of your other up-to-date programs. You'll be able to have your proverbial cake and eat it too.
Setting up a VM
There are a few options for VM software solutions for you to choose from. You can run Virtualbox, VMware, QEMU, and Parallels. All of the non-open source VM managers have free 'lighter' versions that will serve our purpose but you can get their full fledge versions that provide various features that are beyond the scope of this article.
We will be using Parallels Lite that is freely downloadable from the App Store. We chose Parallels Lite due to their ease of setup and ability to function on top of a macOS host passing system information that is needed for the guest macOS to properly install. Note that if one day you'd want to change your Mac's operating system to Windows or Linux then you'd might want to install one of the other mentioned VM managers since those can run on those host OSs albeit with a much more involved setup.
We will also be using macOS High Sierra as the installed OS. You can use these instructions for older versions as well. Credit to Howtogeek.com for the command line bits to make a disk image to install macOS High Sierra from their Virtualbox install instructions on Windows 10.
- Download Parallels Lite from the App Store.
Download (but do not install) macOS High Sierra.
We need to create the install image so we need to start Terminal.
- In Terminal in your home directory type or copy and paste line by line the following:
- hdiutil create -o HighSierra.cdr -size 7316m -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J
- hdiutil attach HighSierra.cdr.dmg -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/install_build
- asr restore -source /Applications/Install macOS High Sierra.app/Contents/SharedSupport/BaseSystem.dmg -target /Volumes/install_build -noprompt -noverify -erase
- hdiutil detach /Volumes/OS X Base System
- hdiutil convert HighSierra.cdr.dmg -format UDTO -o HighSierra.iso
- mv HighSierra.iso.cdr HighSierra.iso
- Start Parallels Lite.
- Select Linux only.
- Click Continue.
- Select Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file.
- Select Image File.
- Click Select a file.
- Navigate to your home directory and select the HighSierra.iso file we created in terminal.
- Click Open.
- Click Continue.
- Select macOS as the operating system type.
- Navigate to the folder to house the VM.
- Click Select.
Name your VM and click Create.
- You can optionally set up any VM options you desire such as (note that these can be changed later too):
- Startup and sharing settings in the Options tab.
- Choose CPU, memory and graphic options in the Hardware tab.
- Still under the Hardware Tab select the CD/DVD sub-option.
- Click the dropdown arrow for Source.
- Select Chose an Image File.
- Navigate to your home folder and select the HighSierra.iso file we created in terminal.
- Select Open.
- Select Continue.
- You can now Start the VM.
- Install macOS like you would normally do on any real system
Once you have a completed install, you'll want to install the Parallels Tools program in your VM macOS. This will allow you to be able to seamlessly use your mouse between your real desktop and your VM desktop as well as resize your VM screen on the fly with proper display attributes.
- Click the highlighted yellow exclamation point over your VM window.
- Click Continue.
On your VM, double-click the Parallels Tools installer that opens.
- Complete the installation and reboot your VM.
You now have a full-fledged macOS installation that you can keep for your older 32-bit applications once macOS decides to give them the boot. You'll be able to make snapshots of the VM to have different save states. You'll be able to run all native macOS applications you normally do. The drawback will be the speed of execution and disk speed but if you have a powerful Mac, you may not notice too much of a difference depending on the application. Does this solution work for you? Tell us what you'd rather see happen for 32-bit applications on macOS in the comments!
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In early October 2019, Apple released macOS 10.15 Catalina, a major update to the Mac operating system. It allows Macs to run modified versions of iPad apps, adds new features like the Apple Arcade gaming subscription service and the Apple TV app, and makes useful (if minor) improvements to Photos, Notes, Reminders, and many of Apple’s other apps. And like all macOS updates of the past few years, it’s available for free for all of the Macs that can run it.
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As with most macOS releases, it’s not a bad idea to wait until Apple releases Catalina’s 10.15.1 or 10.15.2 updates to fix the bugs that come with any major operating system upgrade. But as you may have heard, Catalina—unlike most macOS releases—breaks a lot of apps, especially older productivity software and games. And not just in the “some things don’t work right but they can still run” sense, but in the “it’s not possible to run the apps at all anymore” sense. Here’s why Catalina does this, how you can tell whether your apps will be affected, and what you can do about it.
Why won’t my apps run?
Catalina requires all software to be 64-bit—not just apps, but also all plugins and other code associated with those apps. For the past year or so, macOS 10.13 High Sierra and 10.14 Mojave have displayed warnings when running 32-bit apps, even though that software would continue to run normally otherwise. Catalina won’t run them at all.
Macos Mojave Run 32 Bit Apps
Among other things, 64-bit operating systems and apps can make use of more memory than older, 32-bit software; 64-bit software can also sometimes run a bit faster and take advantage of newer security features. Moving to 64-bit software is generally a good thing. But for compatibility’s sake, versions of macOS and Windows have (until now) allowed you to run 32-bit apps alongside 64-bit apps. But maintaining that capability takes time and money, and Apple believes that the resources spent keeping 32-bit support around could be better spent on other, more forward-looking features.
32-bit Vs 64-bit
Although most common programs have been 64-bit for many years now—including modern web browsers, and more recent versions of apps like Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop—older apps, independently developed apps, and many games are still 32-bit and may not ever be updated.
This is most likely to affect older versions of paid apps released before the mid-2010s or so, including Microsoft Office 2011 and earlier, Adobe Photoshop CS6 and earlier (as well as other Adobe CS6 applications), Quicken for Mac 2007, and old versions of Apple apps like iPhoto, QuickTime 7, and GarageBand. Newer versions of the Steam game store are 64-bit, though you may need to delete the 32-bit version and reinstall Steam first. But many of the games themselves aren’t 64-bit and never will be, since there’s little incentive for their developers to issue such a major update for old titles that don’t make much money.
The 64-bit transition may also affect older hardware peripherals that require 32-bit apps or drivers to run; pro audio tools seem to be disproportionately affected. Sweetwater has a comprehensive rundown.
What can I do about it?
The Catalina installer will display a list of 32-bit apps on your system and warn you before you actually upgrade the operating system. But you can also view a complete list of 32-bit software on your Mojave or High Sierra Mac by opening the System Information tool and scrolling down to the “Legacy Software” section. Open System Information from the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder, or by clicking the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen, clicking About This Mac, and clicking System Report.
The easiest way to fix old 32-bit apps is to replace them with newer, 64-bit versions, though in the case of Office and the Adobe apps, that means spending money on new versions of the software or buying an ongoing software subscription. If you’re still happy with the old versions of these apps, it may be a good time to see whether an inexpensive or free replacement could do what you need. Word and Excel could potentially be replaced by Apple’s own Pages and Numbers apps or the LibreOffice suite. Photoshop could be replaced by Acorn or Affinity Photo. It’s as good a time as any to make sure your software is meeting your needs, and it’s usually possible to find good replacements for any budget.
Another solution for some apps is just to wait. The longer Catalina is out, the more time developers will have to release updated versions of their software. That won’t help you much if you’re running old, abandoned software from 15 years ago. But if you’ve got the latest version of an app and the developer is still releasing updates, odds are good that they’ll have 64-bit support sorted out within the next few months. And running an older version of macOS in the meantime should be safe to do.
Can I keep running an older version of macOS?
Macos Mojave 32 Bit Apps Finden
Apple doesn’t have an official policy about this, but it generally releases security updates and Safari browser updates for older macOS versions for about two years after they’re replaced. macOS 10.13 High Sierra, released in 2017, should receive security patches until roughly fall 2020; 2018’s Mojave should continue to be updated until fall 2021.
Third-party app developers usually support older versions of macOS for a while, too. The newest version of Microsoft Office for Mac supports version 10.13 and newer. Adobe Photoshop supports version 10.12 and newer. Google Chrome runs on versions of macOS going all the way back to 10.10. Support for multiple older versions of macOS is typical, so you shouldn’t have problems with most apps not running.
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The only problem you might run into, and one that could get worse when the next versions of macOS come out next year, is iCloud sync issues with any iPhones or iPads you may have. For example, iOS 13 and Catalina make changes to the Reminders app that require you to “upgrade” your lists of reminders, in a way that might break compatibility with older versions of the software. When things like this happen, you can sometimes get around them by using the icloud.com web interface, in a pinch.
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