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Apple’s macOS Catalina Will Not Support 32-Bit Apps

Apple’s macOS Catalina Will Not Support 32-Bit Apps

When Apple released macOS High Sierra in June 2017, it warned its users for the first time that it would stop supporting 32-bit apps in its later versions. This warning gained momentum with the release of macOS Mojave. Last year, Sebastien Marineau declared at the Worldwide Developers Conference that Mojave would be the last software to support 32-bit apps. In the last decade, Apple has been scrapping off its support of 32-bit apps after High Sierra. The company also started showing pop-up alert notifications on apps that would not work on its latest macOS version, Catalina. Users who are currently running these apps on 32-bit will need to upgrade to 64-bit if they want to continue to use them.

mac os catalina

Apple Mac OS Catalina


What Are 32-Bit Apps?

All of Apple’s older macOS versions were operable with 32-bit apps. However, these apps have their limitations in terms of power, speed, and memory. In comparison, 64-bit apps are a lot faster and smoother, with better memory addressing. Apple has been seeking ways to completely convert macOS format to 64-bit so that they can spend their resources developing only those. Therefore, to get rid of all the outdated 32-bit applications, Apple has revised its system codes to prevent 32-bit apps from running on 64-bit systems, which has been happening since the launch of Snow Leopard in 2009. This is primarily to optimize the entire system of macOS and avoid using up the system’s resources unnecessarily.

The Difference Between 32-Bit and 64-Bit Apps

The most basic fundamental between 32-bit apps and 64-bit app processors is the processing capacity. The latter can handle more data at once with much better speed, security updates, and smarter memory use. A 32-bit processor is capable of handling up to 4GB of RAM. On the other hand, the 64-bit can achieve more and handle access to 4 billion times more physical memory than the 32-bit.

How to Find 32-Bit Apps on Your System

If you’re planning to upgrade to the latest version of macOS Catalina, it’s best to know which apps are compatible with the newer macOS beforehand. Many developers have developed 64-bit versions of their apps that can run on the newer versions of Apple macOS. To find out which apps are currently running on 32-bit versions, here’s what you need to do:

  1. On your Mac, access the Apple menu and find the ‘About This Mac’ option that tells you about the system’s current status of system and application updates.
  2. Select the ‘Legacy’ software option. Here you can find all the ‘old’ apps that are 32-bit.
  3. If you cannot access this option, go to the ‘Application’ setting in the sidebar. Go to the ’64-Bit (Intel)’ and look for the apps with a ‘No.’ These apps are currently 32-bit.


The next step is to find out which apps you absolutely need, including social media apps, entertainment and editing apps, MS Office applications, and others. If these apps are already 64-bit, then you do not need to worry about upgrading them. In case they’re not, then you can install their 64-bit versions from the Mac OS App Store. If you’re finding it difficult to get 64-bit upgrades for your apps, you can try contacting the app developer to find out how you can use these apps in your macOS Catalina upgrade. If your concerned app developer helps you out, then you’re good. In case you discover that their apps aren’t compatible with the new macOS or simply do not have a 64-bit version, then it’s best to look for alternate options.

Generally, the most popular apps are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions and can operate on either of the macOS versions. Some apps are still in the process of being converted to 64-bit by their respective developers. With the new update, however, most of these apps will stop working if you do not upgrade them. Another option is to not upgrade to the latest version of macOS. That way, you won’t have to upgrade or lose any 32-bit apps. On the downside, you’ll be deprived of the latest version of the macOS!

Analyzing The Apps That Do or Do Not have 64-bit support

To give you a clearer perspective of which apps you’d need to continue with and which ones are best left behind, you can use certain applications and websites to see which apps are compatible with macOS. Developers like Adobe Systems, Microsoft Office, Amazon, and other tech giants regularly keep their apps up to date. Microsoft has already introduced an MS Office 2016 version after Apple withdrew support from its previous 32-bit MS Office 2011 version. Amazon’s Kindle, the book reading app, Cisco’s AnyConnect VPN client, and Apple’s DVD Player also support 64-bit versions. To find the 64-bit version of your app, you can visit the Apple App Store and search it up!

Upgrading Apps from 32-bit to 64-bit

The final step before starting the upgrading process is to make sure that all your apps that aren’t supportive of 32-bit are out of the way. This is because when you install the new operating system, they’ll be essentially useless unless they’re upgraded too. Before you begin downloading the new update, you can try getting in touch with the developer to get information on upgrading your essential apps. For this purpose, you first need to select the app in Finder. Next, go to ‘File’ and then ‘Get Info.’ Read up the information regarding the app developer and get help with your upgrade.

By upgrading the current 32-bit apps, you can remove outdated and deprecated codes, address compiler warnings, get rid of annoying space issues, and manage memory problems. In a nutshell, the upgrade helps you run through all the codes to clear away any major as well as minor operating or administrative issues. Install Xcode, update the project settings, and modernize the app so it can run in the 64-bit environment of the system. Next, check the updated app on an actual 64-bit hardware device to test function-calling conventions and other factors to make sure the app is working well.

Installing the New Apple macOS Catalina 10.15

Lastly, here’s how you are supposed to install the latest macOS Catalina 10.15 on your device.

  1. Check Whether Your Device is Compatible

First, you have to check whether or not your device has a sufficient amount of storage left. You need 4 GB of memory (or 12.5 GB storage space if you have OS X Mavericks or later). With an OS X Yosemite or earlier, it is necessary that you have at least 18.5 GB storage space available. You can visit Apple’s developer site to get info on your specific model’s compatibility with Catalina.


  1. Back-Up Your Current Mac’s Data

Next, it’s a good idea to back up all your data to protect it in case the system update falters or crashes midway. Time Machine is a nice option to consider for this purpose.


  1. Check Your Internet Connection and Battery

The system update often takes pretty long to download. Make sure than your internet connection is strong, fast, and uninterrupted. If you have a notebook computer, it’s best to plug it into AC power.


  1. Download macOS Catalina

There are two ways that you can get the latest macOS Catalina. If you have a Mojave, you can get Catalina via Software Update. From the Apple Menu, go to System Preferences and get the software updated. You can also use the link from Apple’s website to gain access.


  1. Install the Operating System

The installer opens after you have downloaded the software. Click continue and follow the instructions that you get onscreen. It is best to start the installation at a time when you’re not likely to use the device for the next couple of hours. If you can get the installation started in the evening, you can get it completed overnight.


  1. Run the Final Steps

Get a helper tool to complete your installation process successfully. After you install the macOS Catalina, you should close the lid and allow your Mac to sleep so that it can refresh the system. Your Mac might restart a couple of times, show blank screens, and a progress bar while it runs through all the security tests and assembles data to start functioning. After the system had been installed, you can keep yourself up-to-date to check all the latest software updates of Catalina. You should also check up on the new media formats that the new macOS will support.


The newest version of macOS Catalina isn’t designed to support 32-bit outdated apps. However, it is a much stronger and powerful system that can help you have a better experience with all your apps, and with processing data.

Written by The Original PC Doctor on 03/01/2020.









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