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How to find out if your apps will be compatible with macOS Catalina



Before upgrading your Mac desktop or laptop computer to macOS Catalina, which comes later in 2019, something you should consider first: if you use 32-bit apps, they will not work on the new macOS update. When Catalina arrives later in 2019, it will exclusively support 64-bit apps, making macOS Mojave (version 10.13) the final major version that supports 32-bit apps.

Is this change guaranteed to affect you? No, especially if you mainly use Apple software. Apple wrote on a support page that it has been working to transfer its own apps to 64-bit over a decade. Whether you trust two apps or 200, it's important to know which ones can be affected. By using this process, I found that five of the hundred apps that I have installed need to be updated before macOS Catalina arrives. Although none of the five were important to me, the loss of a really important app could be a disruption to upgrading.

If you are using macOS Mojave and have used apps that will not be supported by the new operating system, you may have seen a pop-up alert from Apple saying the app is not optimized for future versions. (One appears every 30 days when you open the app.) Otherwise, you need to do some digging to see if your favorite pins are cut. Fortunately, it's easy to do.

How to see if your apps are 32-bit or 64-bit

I use a MacBook Air running macOS Sierra (version 1

0.12.6) to run through these steps, although the same method applies to desktop and laptops running macOS Mojave.

  • On your desktop, click the Apple logo at the top left of the screen, then select "About this Mac" from the

  • drop-down menu. and RAM, the serial number and more. What you want to focus on right now is the "System Report …" button near the bottom of the window. Click on it.

  • Doing so will open another window. The left side shows categories (hardware, network, software) and subcategories (ATA, audio, Bluetooth, camera, etc.) of the hardware and software that make up your system. The right side shows you the data that is relevant to that category. Scroll down to the “Software” tab and select “Programs.”

The right window may be blank for a few moments while it is filled with a list of installed apps. When the list appears, look for the column headed "64-bit (Intel)", which will be the fifth column from the left. All apps that are only 32-bit friendly will have "No" in that column.

To sort the list so that all 32-bit apps are together, click the "64-bit (Intel)" header.

What if my favorite tap is still 32-bit?

If any of your apps are 32-bit, they may not work when macOS Catalina is launched. However, there is hope. Apple says it works with developers to make it ready for the shift, but you can reach your app developer directly to make a point of it as well.

To find the best way to contact the developer (s) of an app:

  • Open the appropriate app
  • When it is running, click the app's name next to the Apple logo in the top left on the screen
  • In the drop-down menu, click "About [app name]." There is a good chance that the contact information will be there. If not, try searching for the information on the app's website.

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