macOS 10.15 will kill 32-bit apps: What you should do

Henry T. Casey for LAPTOP Magazine:

As we approach yet another major macOS update — macOS 10.15 is expected to arrive at WWDC 2019 — it appears that time’s running out on some of the apps we’ve collected over the years. Specifically, apps that trigger a warning that reads, “This app needs to be updated by its developer to improve compatibility,” upon opening.

Apps that set off this warning are stuck in the 32-bit past, and not the 64-bit present-day architecture. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith rang the alarm of 32-bit apps going away, tweeting, “Dashboard isn’t the only thing gone in 10.15 — so is 32-bit app & plugin support.”

…But what if you find out that an app you rely on is still 32 bit? Well, you’ve got two options: First, contact the app’s developer from their website and ask for it to be changed (they’ve known about this since 2017). Alternatively, you can find an alternative app that solves your need.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, if you’ve got any older 32-bit apps upon which you depend, there’s already a 64-bit version available or in development. As for the rest of the 32-bit stuff – frameworks, plugins, etc. – unfortunately that might take a bit longer to modernize.


  1. My old software is why I still use a Mac. If I’m forced to rebuild my whole workflow, why would I involve the company that keeps taking things away from me? Or the one that wants to charge me $20 a month for draw tools that haven’t changed since the 1990s?

    1. Hey there, fella. I’ve got a whiz bang solution for you that worked for your pa, your grandpa, and your granpa’s pa! This is what you do.

      Don’t upgrade.

      It’s what people who depend on legacy systems have been doing for years and it never fails! And it works with pretty much ANY computing platform! Banks that depend on an app that runs on Windows XP? They have computers STILL RUNNING WINDOWS XP? Say there’s some critical app that ONLY runs in OS9? Well, just keep that OS9 computer running OS9 and you’re good as gold! Mainframe still your main game? Keep it running, and it stays-same!

      Now, you’ll want to make sure you have a backup system and install discs because the more time passes, the more you’ll be on your own. But, hey, you’re a go-it-alone rebel to start with. Using old unsupported apps is your forté! This is right up your alley, champ!

      1. I know, I’m currently running Sierra. But I keep finding more and more things that stop being compatible. Apple mail isn’t compatible with my ISP now, somehow. It’s like Apple is slowly stealing my computer from me.

      2. FYI:
        Definition of forté (pronounced ‘for-tay’): means loud or louder in music
        Definition of forte (pronounced ‘fort’): means a skill at which one excels
        Definition of fort (pronounced ‘fort’): means a fortified structure
        Definition of tongue-in-cheeks (pronounced tung-in-cheeks): means sloppy flippancy

        1. Actually, the first two are the same Italian word ‘forte’ (no accent – it’s Italian, not French – but you’re right it’s pronounced for-tay) meaning strong, or strength. Strong music means loud music, and a skill in which you excel is a strength. They are the same word.

      3. Great except we don’t all live in a bubble that works fine for internal aspects but we operate online too and we all find the longer you don’t update your OS gradually the more online assets even browsers stop working as well and eventually at all. So a bit of a catch 22 (if you read my post above) for me that I hope will hit me a good bit further down the line than I fear.

      4. I am with you Wrong Again. Mostly. The thing is most of my old Mac’s (going back to a Ti-book) just start to fade away after a while. Some hypothetical old fart won’t be able to buy a Mac once their old laptop fries.

    2. Yeah I’m tied to old versions of Adobe software to avoid the rental overhead which is ludicrous for me as I head into semi retirement and they can no longer pay for themselves. So I am trying to test alternatives though sadly my experience with the Affinity photoshop alternative so far is more than disappointing. Just hoping my trial with Pixelmator goes better.

    1. There’s one really good reason. If it’s a given that they’re moving to A series processors in the future, those ONLY execute 64 bit commands. So, making the cut now prepares all the developers for a 64bit only world.

      1. Good point. Though it seems the modern Apple is less and less interested in legacy as we are seeing in iOS too of late. Cooks idea of improving income having little imagination at all, seems to revolve around the big squeeze. Whether that’s worth pissing off the loyal customer is debatable of course. Probably leaving that problem to his successor to solve.

  2. Parallels will virtualise older applications with many limitations. I know many people that still run Freehand under parallels because they can’t let go. Problem is that those old apps won’t work within the same operating system ‘infrastructure’ as the rest of the computer so apps that were integrated in to the o/s or weren’t ‘standalone’ will lose their benefit or functionality. Parallels etc will also not support access to the 3D hardware etc so things like call of duty 4 etc will be unplayable. (I have set up a seperate boot volume that will have 10.14 on it just so I can continue to play it).

    This whole scenario has played out over the years moving from 8-bit through to 64 bit systems. Comes a time one has to adapt to progress. It happens to more than just computers. Yes you can still drive that car from the 1950’s but getting parts becomes near impossible and you have to forego all the other benefits of modern vehicles.

    I have 3 or 4 old Macs that only support 10.11 or 10.13 and they will continue to do their jobs (file serving, backups etc) until such a time as later operating systems can’t talk to them or use them. When that point comes I am all ready to migrate because I am prepared.

    So folks, just stay on your 10.14 whilst it is still practical but plan your future. Maintaining support for programs from the 90’s has caused Windows to become a bloated mass of emulation layers that causes so many problems. Supporting and servicing Mac and PC’s over the decades I can tell you that you are better off keeping your systems as up to date as possible because nowadays, especially, all the other infrastructure around them (internet, phones, tablets etc) lose their functionality if you don’t. The world around computers continues to advance and change so if you want access to it all then embrace the change.

  3. My 2012 MacBook Pro is my “Legacy” device and my newer 12” Retina MacBook is my ”updated” device. So far, the new MacBook has been Adobe-Free. Affinity’s terrific software has afforded me the ability to do creatively what the maker of Flash had done. I’m happier because I’m not paying usurious “subscription” blackmail. If I need to use Adobe stuff, I can just go back to my Sierra-running MBP. It’s a compromise, I guess.

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