Catalina claims a victim. Please pour one out for DragThing

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

What you need to know

  • DragThing has been around since 1995.
  • It was a 32-bit app that isn't being updated.
  • People can still use it on macOS Mojave.

If you're a Mac user from the bad old days, you'll probably be very aware of DragThing. Created by TLA Systems – founded by James Thomson – DragThing arrived in 1995 and was the Mac community's answer to the need for a Dock long before Apple made one of its own.

The app hasn't been updated in years but it continued to work with each and every macOS update. Until now.

With the arrival of macOS Catalina Apple has closed the door on 32-bit apps for good. If an app isn't updated, it simply won't run on Catalina. And DragThings falls into that category.

DragThing is written using the 32-bit Carbon APIs that Apple have now removed in macOS 10.15 Catalina. It will no longer run if you update to Catalina, and there are no plans to make a new version that will.We are sorry to say, DragThing has launched its last app.

Ultimately, the work required to make DragThing a 64-bit app just isn't worth it. TLA Systems says it would take at least a year to achieve, and that's just not going to happen.

64-bit support would require completely rewriting the code from the ground up, a process which would take us at least a year to complete, with no guarantees we could re-implement all the existing functionality, or how much of a future it would have if we did.

DragThings was much loved by the community and John Gruber even says he thinks the app "was a much better launcher than Apple's own system Dock ever has been." That's quite the compliment, especially consdiering Thomson also worked on Apple's Dock for a time.

Now if you'll all gather around, take a moment, and pour one out for a deal friend. We'll miss you, DragThing.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Longtime fan of DragThing. Its impending end--and not finding a replacement I like--is yet another nail in the coffin of my 6 year old MacBook Pro.
  • There are lots of other Dock apps, but most likely if there's enough fans of it, someone will make a replacement now that it doesn't work on Catalina
  • I have found a very different app, Alfred, has taken over a lot of the functionality of DragThing even though it is very different. Kinda compared to Spotlight like Dragthing is to the Dock, but does similar things in the end.
  • There's a replacement -of sorts- available on the Mac App Store called iCollections - there's a free (called iCollections Lite) version to try and a paid version for all the bells and whistles. There's still no actual replacement for all the things that DragThing could do - including a login and logoff sound that I utilised more than once because I felt like it. DragThing didn't keep up with hi-dpi displays and so I didn't use it much after switching over to a Retina display. Although I did fight my way through it all. I live a real tough life as you can tell.
  • Never heard of it. So instead of pouring one out, I'll just P one out.