32-bit app compatibility with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4

Olive Hawkins
April 12, 2018

Apple's intended transition from 32-bit to 64-bit is natural as 64-bit apps are more efficient in most cases. First, Apple notified developers, and then users, and stopped accepting app submissions to the App Store that were not 64-bit, before finally removing support entirely.

Starting with macOS 10.13.4, Mac users will receive a one-time alert when attempting to run a 32-bit app.

The 64-bit transition for macOS and macOS apps is still underway, so final transition dates have not yet been established.

Apple hasn't been quite that aggressive with the Mac yet, but the warning that the next major macOS version (presumably macOS 10.14) will not run 32-bit apps "without compromise" (like some sort of compatibility mode with limitations) still stands.

For developers, the lure to update their apps to 64-bit is obvious - if Apple stops letting them run, then that's an income stream gone, right there.

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Launching a 32-bit app will obviously trigger Apple's warning, but there's a much easier way to get a full list of all the 32-bit apps you have. Aside from the absence of support for 32-bit apps, the new Mac operating system is said to come with performance improvements, bug fixes and new features. Developers might still have a few months to work on their apps and transition into 64-bit, if they haven't already.

"The technologies that define today's Mac experience - such as Metal graphics acceleration - work only with 64-bit apps". This gives them time to prepare accordingly, though 32-bit apps will continue to run and function properly for the time being.

Below you will find more information about the alert and what the 64-bit transition means for you. It's part of an overall move to remove 32-bit application support from the operating system at some undetermined point in the future. "Yes" indicates 64-bit; "No" indicates 32-bit. "Using 32-bit software has no adverse effects on your data or your computer". Presently, the App Store does not accept submissions of 32-bit apps for macOS. The company introduced Power Mac G5, the PC with 64-bit PowerPC processors, about 15 years back. Since then, Apple has been working with developers to optimize apps for 64-bit computing. The bar on 32-bit iOS apps was one of the key reasons the number of iOS apps in the App Store fell previous year. Thereafter, the company made 64-bit mandatory with the iOS 11. In January, Apple mandated that all new apps submitted for review should be 64-bit compatible. The pop-up says that the app needs to be updated.

This break with compatibility for the very first version of watchOS is an indication that Apple intends to keep rushing forward with Apple Watch, and that watchOS 5 will be more than just a minor upgrade.

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