New macOS alert notifies users Apple will soon end 32-bit app support

in macOS edited April 2018
Starting Thursday, Apple's macOS will begin to display alert boxes when a 32-bit app is opened, warning users that the operating system will soon end support for the legacy technology.

According to Apple, warning messages like the one above will appear in macOS 10.13.4, the latest Mac operating system version that saw release last month. The alert pops up once per app and serves as notification of Apple's pending transition to 64-bit technology.

Clicking on "Learn More" takes users to a support document detailing the long process of shifting away from 32-bit to the more efficient 64-bit. As noted by Apple, 64-bit apps are able to access more memory and harness the power of newer technologies like Metal graphics acceleration.

The transition began almost 15 years ago with the introduction of Power Mac G5, which boasted 64-bit PowerPC processors. Since then, the company has worked with developers to optimize their apps for 64-bit compatibility.

Apple initially announced plans to kill off support for legacy 32-bit apps in macOS during last year's Worldwide Developers Conference. At the time, the company said it planned to transition its desktop OS to 64-bit just as it did iOS with iOS 11, noting macOS High Sierra would be the last macOS version to run 32-bit apps "without compromise."

A reminder was posted to Apple's developer portal in January, urging developers to update existing App Store titles. Apple mandated all new apps submitted for review be 64-bit compatible starting January 2018, a requirement that will extend to app updates in June.


  • Reply 1 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,484member
    Time marches on. I remember when Apple was trashed (go figure) over not moving to 64 bit fast enough. Now Apple will be trashed for “abandoning” its users by deprecating 32 bit. Trashing Apple is a bonafide cottage industry. I should be listed on the NYSE.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,151member
    I thought the new handshake security icon to show when personal data is being accessed was more interesting.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    ivanhivanh Posts: 404member
    Install Oracle VirtualBox and run older macOS which supports 32-bit apps. But don’t delay to upgrade macOS, for security reason.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    I just remembered that I haven't even upgraded to High Sierra still! I'd better get down to it tonight.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    There are still a number of companies including Drobo and Adobe who don't have fully 64 bit software.
    Adobe uses the Alkami loader for updates and other 32bit apps in the Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC packages.

    Then, the latest Drobo dashboard for example
    whome$ ps -ef | grep DDS
        0    98     1   0  7:02am ??         0:02.44 /Library/Application Support/Data Robotics/Drobo Dashboard/DDService64d
        0   103     1   0  7:02am ??         0:00.15 /Library/Application Support/Data Robotics/Drobo Dashboard/DDServiced

    DDServiced is a 32bit application.

    edited April 2018
  • Reply 6 of 12
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,706member
    Summary: Apple has been running 64-bit for years. Last year (almost exactly a year ago), it warned developers that it was going to enforce 64-bit only in the near future. It reminded them again in January, and now its taking the next step and warning users, who will undoubtedly contact devs about this warning. We can reasonably expect the announcement that macOS 10.14 will not support 32-bit apps at WWDC, to be enforced when 10.14 comes out.

    I could be glib and say "this is news?" but for many non-power users, it is. That game you bought 10 years ago and still play will not run forever, and this will come as a shock and disappointment to many. But blame at this point rests very squarely with the developer: barring some exceptions (like Dropbox's app), if the dev hasn't updated to 64-bit by now, they're most likely not going to.

    It's annoying when a dev doesn't do this relatively minor update to keep their app working, but ... now I know who not to buy from again going forward, don't I? Sad to say goodbye to a few old games and suchlike, but that also happened with iOS 11. If this move leads to a purge of abandonware apps from the Mac and iOS App Stores, it will have all been worth it IMO.

    As others mentioned above, it is possible to run older macOS versions in emulation. Now's the time to start planning that, not after you've upgraded, if there's some app you really seriously can't live without that's now (or likely to become) abandonware.
    edited April 2018 jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    OldenMacuserOldenMacuser Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Watch Apple face another frivolous lawsuit about not supporting 32 bit apps.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    vulpine said:
    Is there any way for me to proactively get a list of all the apps on my computer that aren't 64-bit (as I can on iOS), rather than not knowing until I actually launch each app?
    Apple Menu > About This Mac > System Report > Software > Applications

    Check the 64-bit column to see if it says Yes or No.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 5,008administrator
    vulpine said:
    Is there any way for me to proactively get a list of all the apps on my computer that aren't 64-bit (as I can on iOS), rather than not knowing until I actually launch each app?
  • Reply 10 of 12
    mariomario Posts: 346member
    Is this for App Store apps only? I have tried launching a few 32 bit apps, and did not see any notifications on my macOS 10.13.4.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 422member
    That notice will mean nothing to the average user. “not optimized”? How about “This app will stop working in the future.”?
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