Check For Incompatible Apps Before You Install MacOS Catalina

Apple’s latest operating system update — released Tuesday — comes with plenty of new and exciting features. However, macOS Catalina also comes with one big drawback: Apple won’t let you run 32-bit apps anymore. If that’s a big issue for you, or you’re concerned that critical apps you need won’t be supported in the latest OS, you have a few easy ways to check.

First, click on the Apple logo in the upper-left corner of your screen and select “About This Mac.” Click on “System Report,” and scroll down the sidebar a bit until you see “Legacy Software.” Any apps in this section are 32-bit apps and won’t work on macOS Catalina.

If you don’t see any apps at all, try clicking on “Applications” in the sidebar. There should be a column that says “64-Bit (Intel),” and any apps listed with “no” are 32-bit, not 64-bit.

Screenshot: Go64

You can also use a third-party app like Go64 to find 32-bit apps on your system, which takes also into account whether 64-bit apps “contain 32-bit plugins, frameworks or services.” (These also might cause complications if you upgrade to macOS Catalina.)

If you find that some of the apps you use are 32-bit, you’re low on options. You can contact the developer to see what their plans are, if any, for making a 64-bit version. You can also hunt down a similar app that is 64-bit. Worst case scenario, you can simply not update to macOS Catalina, though Mojave — the last macOS operating system that supports 32-bit apps — should stop receiving support from Apple in 2020.

I wouldn’t recommend using an older OS (especially one that isn’t receiving any more patches or security updates), but I totally understand if some critical apps force you to do so. In that case, perhaps having a copy of Mojave for a handful of apps and a copy of Catalina for everyday use might be your best option.


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