How to install macOS on a VM to run your 32-bit apps

“Back in April of 2018 and depending upon the software you run, you may have noticed a message pop up that informs you that the application you are using is not optimized for your Mac,” Anthony Casella writes for iMore. “This message pops up when you run a 32 bit application on macOS High Sierra.”

“Typically, 32 bit applications tend to be older, legacy apps that may not have newer 64 bit versions,” Casella writes. “Although the application will run fine, Apple is likely gearing up to no longer support these 32 bit applications in a future version of macOS.”

“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will keep on updating the software to run on future OS updates, but what if you have a very specific program that is no longer maintained?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 to great a cost?” Casella writes. “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.”

“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,” Casella writes. “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.”

How to install macOS on a VM to run your 32-bit apps here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a good solution, and portable, too, for keeping your 32-bit legacy apps alive!

How to find which apps on your Mac are 32-bit – April 13, 2018
Mac users will start getting 32-bit app warnings today – April 12, 2018
Apple: High Sierra will be last macOS release to support 32-bit apps ‘without compromise’ – June 29, 2017


  1. Or you could keep the last MacOS that supports 32-bit apps, on a small external drive with your 32-bit apps. Boot it when you need to use those apps.

    I have dual drives in my 2011 Mac Mini. I added an SSD to the original HD. I run the latest MacOS on my SSD for speed, and I run the latest, most compatible MacOS on my HD. If and when I’m satisfied that the newest MacOS plays nice, then I upgrade the MacOS on the HD, too.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.