The 64-bit Mac app transition: What you need to know

The Mac has been shipping with 64-bit processors since before the Intel transition and macOS, née OS X, has supported 64-bit for years. Modern technologies, like Metal, require 64-bit. One day, macOS will as well. Apple hasn't said what day that will be, at least not yet, but it's continuing its long, slow march in that general direction.

At WWDC 2018, Apple noted that macOS Mojave will be the last Mac operating system to support 32-bit apps. By fall of 2019, and possibly sooner, any 32-bit apps still on your Mac will no longer work.

Apple has been notifying Mac users since April 2018. If you open an app on your Mac and get an alert that an app isn't optimized, there are a few things you can do.

What notification will Mac users see?

If you're running macOS 10.13.4 or later, starting April 12 at midnight local time, if and when you launch a 32-bit notification, you'll get a notification that says:

[App] is not optimized for your Mac.

This app needs to be updated by its developer to improve compatibility.

You'll only ever get the notification once — the first time you launch the 32-bit app, and only to let you know the app will, eventually, be outdated.

Will you still be able to run 32-bit apps on macOS?

Absolutely. For now — and until Apple officially announces and implements an end-of-support date or the next Mac operating system launches, whichever comes first.

Is there a way to see any and all 32-bit apps you might have installed on your Mac?

There is, but it's tedious.

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the Menubar.
  2. Click on About this Mac.
  3. Click on System Report.
  4. Click on Applications (under Software.)
  5. Click on an App.
  6. If the 64-bit (Intel) field says No, the app is 32-bit.

What do you do if you have 32-bit apps?

Check the Mac App Store or developer's webpage for an updated, 64-bit version of the app. If one's available, upgrade.

If there's no 64-bit version available, you can send the developer feedback, or you can look for a similar app that does support 64-bit.

When will the 32- to 64-bit transition be complete?

Apple hasn't set that date yet. Hopefully, the company is watching how fast developers are moving and users are updating and, when it does set a date, it'll be one that works for as many people as possible. The only thing we know so far is that Apple has confirmed that macOS 10.14 Mojave wil be the last macOS to support 32-bit apps.

For more information, keep an eye on Apple's knowledge base.

VECTOR | Rene Ritchie

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