Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves
Episode # 340
This column is about the transition to 64-bit only computing that comes with MacOS 10.15 Catalina this fall, and what that means to you. But first, here is my usual warning – DO NOT run a beta version system on any device you depend on.
What is beta software? According to Apple's FAQ, "The Apple Beta Software Program allows users to try out pre-release software. Please note that since the public beta software is not yet commercially released by Apple, it may contain errors or inaccuracies, and may not work as well as commercially released software. "
Unless you are willing to delete and restore your device regularly, I recommend not installing a beta on your everyday Mac or iDevice. I am running on spare parts ̵
Pre-warning is preceded.
Catalina Beta introduces a new Rynk
While this OS beta cycle happens every year, this year introduces a new wrinkle for macOS: Catalina is only 64-bit, so your 32-bit applications will stop working.
What does it mean? According to Apple, "The technologies that define today's Mac experience, such as metal graphics acceleration, work only with 64-bit apps. To ensure that the apps you buy are as advanced as the Mac you run them, all future Mac applications will eventually be imposed 64-bit. "
That time is coming soon. When you upgrade to Catalina, the 32-bit applications will stop your applications. Period.
If you are running macOS Mojave and you have seen a warning saying, "This app is not optimized for your Mac and needs updating. These are the apps you will lose under Catalina.
What to do
It's not too early to start thinking about which (if any) of your 32-bit apps are critical to your workflow, but of course you can use the System Report, but there's a big pain in the butt, especially If you have as many apps as I do
The easier way: Use Go64  I only have one thing to add, but the more apps you have (I have over 500), this one thing will make the transition to Catalina ever so much smoother.  That thing is a free app called Go64 from St Clair Software (maker of standard folder X of a handful of tools I hate be without). Like the system report shows Go64 a list of your apps and identifies who is 32-bit. But unlike the System Report, Go64 contains a link to the website of almost every 32-bit app, so it's easy (or at least easier) to find out if a 64-bit version is available and how much (if any) who upgrade will cost.
It also lets you record the price of each upgrade while maintaining a running sum. With the toolbar buttons to start, reveal or move the selected file to the trash, the Go64 process makes it easy.
Go64 has another trick you can't find in System Report: It identifies programs that are 64-bit, but contains some 32-bit code, namely plugins, frames or services, that may not run correctly in MacOS Catalina.
There is another option …
By the way, if you rely on 32-bit apps like older versions of Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite, or any other pricy old software, you have at least one other option: Not upgrade. You will miss Catalina's enhancements and new features, but your old apps will continue to work and you don't have to spend a penny on new software (at least not immediately).
It's not an ideal solution, but it's worth considering if the cost of upgrading your mission-critical apps is prohibitive.
Go64. St. Clair Software. Free. https://www.stclairsoft.com/Go64/
Apple Support article on 32/64-bit transition: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208436