The end to 32-bit macOS software is coming

32-bit app is not optimized warningAfter updating your Mac to macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, you may have noticed a new alert when launching older apps. When you launch one of these 32-bit applications, your system will warn you that it is “not optimized” for macOS. If you click Okay, the application will continue to run as normal – for now – but there might be issues in the future.

Apple was one of the first consumer computer companies to transition to 64-bit hardware over a decade ago. Apple’s PowerPC G5, announced in 2003, was the world’s first 64-bit personal computer. Using 64-bits allows the computer to utilize more RAM and handle more complex operations. While most of the Apple software has been ported over to support 64-bit architecture, some third-party software companies have been slow to make the switch and some of us have been too happy to keep using that one little app that should have been upgraded years ago. Apple announced at the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference that macOS High Sierra would be the last macOS to fully support 32-bit apps.

Getting up to date with 64-bit.

TextWranglers About WindowIf you have an app that gives you this alert, there are a few options. On campus, you can launch LANDesk to download latest versions of supported applications. If you have purchased from the App Store, you can launch the App Store and click on Updates to download the latest versions. For other software, you can check with the developer to see if there is a newer version. To find out the developer, you can click on the app’s name in the menu bar and choose “About…” In some cases, this will even include a link to the developer’s website.

When is the switch from 32-bit to 64-bit going to be finalized?

Apple has not announced when the migration to 64-bit will be complete, but it is coming. With the next Worldwide Developers Conference just over a month away, a timeline for the transition should be public soon. Until then, you can continue to use 32-bit apps with your Mac.

For more information about the 32-bit switch, please see the Apple support doc “32-bit app compatibility with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4.”

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Ian Aberle

Ian Aberle is the IT Communications Specialist and Trainer for the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at Southern Methodist University (SMU). He started at SMU in 1996 and for much of his career at the University had managed the SMU STAR Program before joining the Training & Communications Team in 2015. In his free time, Ian enjoys photography and road trips with his family. You can see examples of when the two collide at http://ianaberle.com.