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macOS 10.13.4 Warns Users about 32-Bit Apps

At last year’s WWDC, Apple warned that macOS 10.13 High Sierra would be the final version of macOS to run 32-bit apps “without compromise” (Marc Zeedar commented on this problem for both macOS and iOS in “The Problem With Abandoned Apps,” 17 July 2017).

Apple's warning about apps requiring 64-bit support going forward.

Apple is now taking the next step toward deprecating 32-bit apps, displaying a one-time warning when you first launch a 32-bit app in macOS 10.13.4.

A warning that Levelator is not 64-bit.

As Apple’s accompanying support article says, you can keep using your 32-bit apps for now, but you should expect problems come macOS 10.14, presumably arriving sometime in September or October of this year. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to run those older apps. In fact, Jason Snell of Six Colors says that you probably will be able to run those apps in macOS 10.14:

While Apple hasn’t detailed exactly what “without compromise” means, it’s my understanding that 32-bit apps will run on the successor to High Sierra due this fall… just with some sort of undefined compromise. (That could mean more aggressive alert dialog boxes or even a requirement that you set your Mac to run in a 32-bit compatibility mode complete with performance and feature penalties. Or something else. We just don’t know.)

Thankfully, it’s easy to see which of your apps are 32-bit:

  1. Click the Apple menu and choose About This Mac.
  2. In the Overview screen, click System Report to launch the System Information utility. About This Mac in High Sierra.
  3. In System Information’s sidebar, under Software, click Applications. It may take a minute for the list to populate with a list of apps installed on your Mac.
  4. Click the header of the rightmost column, labeled 64-Bit (Intel), so that entries marked as No are listed first (if it sorts the Yes entries first, click it a second time). A list of installed apps lacking 64-bit support.

You will likely have quite a few 32-bit apps, as I do, and they’ll fall into a few categories:

  • Extra copies of old apps for which you’ve already installed 64-bit versions. You may be surprised how many of these are on your drive, but you can likely delete them.
  • Apps that already have 64-bit updates available, but which you haven’t updated yet.
  • Apps under active development that don’t yet have 64-bit updates available, but almost certainly will before it’s a problem.
  • Older versions of apps that may have a 64-bit update that you don’t wish to install for other reasons.
  • Abandoned apps that will never receive a 64-bit update.

The last two categories are where you may run into trouble. It’s unimaginable that Apple would update Final Cut 7 and QuickTime Pro 7 to 64-bit, nor will Apple ever update iDVD. There are other apps with a questionable future where developers may do just enough work to keep the app functional. For instance, Levelator has long been abandoned, but the Conversions Network released a special update for it in 2015 to get it working in OS X 10.11 El Capitan (see “The Levelator 2.1.2 Works in El Capitan,” 1 December 2015).

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Comments About macOS 10.13.4 Warns Users about 32-Bit Apps

Notable Replies

  1. I upgraded to High Sierra 10.13.4 today and when I launched Word 2011 I got the alert that it needed to be upgraded for 32-bit compatibility, but to do so required me to enter my product code, which I did. But I got an error message saying it was an invalid code.

    I examined the sticker on the disc envelope carefully—the code was correct. Clicking the link for help got me only to a general search-for-help page. Nothing specific to this problem.

    Then further checking led me to a post that said Microsoft had ceased supporting updates for Office 2011 last fall.

    It seems to me that instead of giving the “invalid code” feedback, the error message should instead have read “this version no longer supported” or something like that.

    Anybody know a work-around?

    Paul Brians
    Bainbridge Island, wA

  2. I am running High Sierra 10.3.4 and Word for Mac 2011 version 14.7.3. I haven’t seen any warnings (which, frankly, surprises me).

  3. Comment 1. It took almost 3 minutes for my screen to populate with the “applications” that were seen. Probably partly due to the fact that I’ve “migrated” for over 10 years instead of doing a clean install. Hope to be brave enough to do with my planned new iMac

    Comment 2. It doesn’t seem possible to “delete” a 32 bit application from the system manager screen. But where are these “application” files stored so I could track them down to delete?

    Jerry Naples

  4. That will help some, but not completely. I did do a clean reinstall around New Years, and although I’ve brought back only apps I’m actually using, the list of 32-bit apps contained a lot of things squirreled away in Application Support folders and the like. And Downloads folders can have a lot of junk in them too.

    A darn shame that you can’t delete or even reveal apps from here, isn’t it? The clumsy workaround is to click the app (or multiple ones) and look for the Location field in the description below. You can copy that string, switch to the Finder, press Command-Shift-G for Go To Folder, paste the string in, and press Return.

  5. Just to add to some of the confusion that this creates. Some applications that are 64 bit can be run in 32 bit mode from a checkbox in the get info window. A rather famous program that works this way is SheepShaver, the Classic MacOS emulator. When I checked my system profile, some interesting programs came in as 32 bit including some useful ones like Logitech mouse controllers.

  6. Hopeless that one cannot copy text in System Information or at least export it to Numbers/Excel - would be easier when talking about an issue like this … (but that holds true for much else like Contacts …).

    Really lots of applications I cannot easily substitute, even if I bought BBedit it will take me years to work with html in the same speed as in PageSpinner (no trace of the developer since 2012, Jerry and also from Sweden like me). StyleMaster is much easier than any other css editor for people not working daily with css - a little unstable in version 5 but still works great. No need to upgrade to MS Office 2016 if only working in Word & Excel … Adobe CS 5&6 mostly works fine still and costly to upgrade. Fetch (the obviously best ftp client :wink: - knows Adam disagrees) needs to be updated. XLD - indispensable for ripping/converting audio needs to be updated. I still manage to use Peak LE 6 (but it takes a bit too much trouble now, but still better in some ways than other audio editors, and DSP-Quattro that I got (much worse) also needs to be updated, but maybe Fission or Audacity would be good enough for me now). Apple iDVD & iWeb will be the end for too (but not sure if they do work now). Free ruler is also a nice program, but likely there are substitutes. (Even the peculiar sidenote still works …) Guess there are many other special programs in special fields that might not be upgraded too. Airy needs to be updated. Cisco Webex? Dymo drivers? Many still use FileMaker 11&12. Incscape & XQuartz? iVMS-4200? Marratech? SnapScan for my S500? SolidWorks eDrawing?

  7. Thanks Jerry for your message

    I have so many “no” apps (not counting the duPlacates caused by my clone backups that I can’t plan on addressing the 32 bit issue.

    I don’t expect any help from Apple :apple:. What is new?

    Jerry Naples.

    Jerry

  8. Still running 10.12.6 and tried to check for the 32 bit APS. After clicking on “Applications” and after a wait I get a message “The plug-in did not respond quickly enough while gathering this information.” Any suggestions what to do to show the list of applications?

  9. Jerry - I plan to run macOS in a VMware environment if possible. They make it really hard downloading the macOS of your choice these days too – spent some time figuring out how to download El Capitan today, despite having 50 Macs from the Classic onwards next to me I could not find one where I was allowed to download El Capitan, but got a hint by some comment on the web. My main troubleshooting external drive partition is running El Capitan (a pretty good idea) and if one boots from that one is allowed to download the El Cap installer (already have a clean clone of El Cap, but wanted the installer).

  10. Jerry - which OS are you running? I’m on Sierra.

    I love Fetch! I did use Text Wrangler for a while a few years back, but went back to Fetch.

    I also saw Word and Excel in my list - I am running 2011. Is there a newer version that uses the classic menus vs that damned ribbon?

    Illy CS 6 - I need to keep this forever as I do not agree with the subscription model. :frowning:

    Ascent is another huge one for me, I am pretty sure High Sierra breaks it completely. (I import my workouts into it)

    Diane

  11. You probably have at least 19 more months to plan. Every indication is that 10.14 will still be able to run 32 bit apps and that 10.15 (Sep/Oct 2019) will be 64 bit only.

  12. Yes, same here with Mac OS 10.13.3. Timeout with the same error message. Couldn’t get it to work!

  13. Thanks for this helpful article. I just checked my one year old MacBook Pro and only found a few 32 Bit apps. The only one that amazes me is Compressor (latest version) made by Apple. This is a pro app. Surely it is 64 Bit? If it is, any idea why it is incorrectly labelled?

  14. Rogue Amoeba announced a few weeks ago, that their Nicecast (32-bit) will not be supported after the end of 2018. The numbers of users is not enough for them to rebuild a 64-bit version from scratch.

  15. Apple provides the link to download El Capitain on this support page:

    The link is:

    https://itunes.apple.com/app/os-x-el-capitan/id1147835434?mt=12

  16. Thanks for all y’all’s info on this topic

    re: Jerry’s “Hopeless that one cannot copy text in System Information or at least export it to Numbers/Excel”
    You can print the SysInfo>Applications list (e.g., to a pdf) but, lord only knows how the sort order is determined; certainly there’s no relation to any of the sorting options displayed in the SysInfo window…
    … knowing it isn’t as useful as a .csv, etc, but at least you don’t have to wait for the apps list to generate @ SysInfo…

    re: link to OS X El Capitan installer. Thank you very much - been meaning to track that down for my aging MacBook Pro 17 (mid/late 2007)

    … limping along w/ 10.11.6 w/ numerous “issues” I’ve been trying to resolve and hoping reinstalling the OS might help… to keep me afloat until I can get a new Mac…
    … one such “issue” is being unable to boot to Recovery Partition or the Command-Option-R to boot into [macOS Recovery] --> Panic

  17. Jolin: That won’t help you much unless booted from El Capitan or having a computer that cannot be upgraded to High Sierra, but that can be upgraded to El Capitan … (and that is only a select few between 2007-2009 (who often have High Sierra presented as a possible upgrade to those computers too and one first realizes that it will not be installed when trying to install it)).

  18. Diane: 10.13.3 (I’m waiting to update my Carbon Copy Cloner clone before applying the 10.13.4) (High Sierra on the first Touch bar MBP 13"). It was long since I tested Ascent, but the other programs still runs fine and might well do so on the next system release too. Saw someone speculate that maybe 32-bit apps will only be problematic to run on new computers with new processors that does not support 32-bit … but in any case my guess is that Apple has simply not yet decided to which degree to support 32-bit apps on the next system. For now they only want to push as many of the current active developers as possible to upgrade their apps apparently.

  19. I agree it’s not easy, but with the installer downloaded, it should be possible to make an El Capitan boot disk (e.g. on a USB stick), boot off that, and install El Capitan on the computer. Would definitely be a faff, but doable. There are articles about downgrading to El Capitan once you have the installer, if one does a search. I realise you’ve solved your issue for now, so this is by way of information for others.

    Also, I was responding to your need for an installer to install El Capitan into a virtual machine. Wouldn’t it work for that?

  20. No, the problem I brought up was that even if you have the link you mention, you normally cannot use that link to download the installer! What I told there was how to circumvent that to give a tip to others who might have the same problem of downloading the installer in your link.

  21. A lot of the ‘apps’ I have that are 32-bit are AppleScript’s I’ve written and saved as apps. I’ve not yet updated to 10.13, but will Script Editor there re-save them as 64-bit apps?

  22. I’m glad that I will have at least another year for my Quicken 2007 app to still work. I know I will be forced to upgrade eventually, but right now the newer versions have really inferior reports which makes it hard to give my tax info to my tax preparer.

  23. Also, I am not seeing any warnings about 32 bit software. I have both Quicken 2007 and Magic Number Machine (a calculator), and no matter how many times I launch either one, I am not getting any kind of 32 bit warning. And that is true for both of my Macs.

  24. Curious. You’ll get the warning only once per app, regardless, but I don’t know why you’re not getting them at all.

  25. Are you up-to-date with 10.13.4?

  26. Yeah, really strange. And I stated in my original post, I did a clean, fresh installation of OS 10.13.4 on both of my Macs. I then, via Migration Assistant, “migrated”/copied needed “stuff” from my just completed SuperDuper! Backup

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