Check for Incompatible Apps Before You Install macOS Catalina

Apple’s latest operating system update—released yesterday—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.

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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.

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.

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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.