Are you one of the 56% of Mac users who hasn't yet updated to Mojave? With Apple soon to announce the next version of macOS is it time to make the leap to Mojave, or are the issues that stopped you upgrading sooner still relevant? In this article we'll take a look at the apps that aren't compatible with Mojave and offer some fixes that could get those apps working for you.

Apple released Mojave in September 2018 so it's been available for download for a while.If you want to find out about the new features that Mojave offers, read our review of Mojave. We also have a comparison of Mojave and High Sierra. And if you are wondering if your Mac is compatible with Mojave, read this.

As we mentioned above, the latest (as of April 2019) figures suggest that 43.7% of Macs are running Mojave, while 23.6% are running High Sierra and 11.8% Sierra. You can see more of the Statcounter data in the below table. So, what's stopping people from updating?

Mac OS marketshare 2019

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - macOS Version Market Share

It may be that many Mac users are using older Macs that can't run Mojave. There were a number of Macs from around 2009 and 2010 that could be updated to High Sierra, but when it came to Mojave Macs from before 2012 were pretty much unsupported. That probably accounts for some failures to update but the other reason is likely to be the lack of support for some commonly used apps.

Unsupported or problematic apps include versions from developers like Adobe, Microsoft, Avid and even Apple itself. While it should be noted that the versions of these apps causing issues are generally older and therefore not supported by the developer there are many Mac users who are still running them (perhaps because they weren't keen to update to subscription versions of the apps).

Here at Macworld we are running old versions of Creative Suite and Microsoft Office, so we can  identify with this upgrade dilemma. For example, we had problems running Photoshop CS5, but we were able to solve the issue - find out how we were able to get it running again here: How to open apps that won't run in Mojave.

You won’t generally be able to run incompatible software on Mojave, though, some apps will be disabled when you upgrade to the new macOS. It is also possible that some apps will work, but they may be buggy or there may be some setting you need to change in order to get them to work.

Before updating it's a good idea to check if any of your apps may not run as well as they did in older versions of the Mac operating system - which is probably why you are here reading this. You may be hoping that the developers will issue an update your app to make them compatible but you will likely be disappointed - if there is a newer version of the app it's more likely that the developer will encourage you to upgrade to the newer version.

In this article we will describe an easy way to check compatibility with macOS Mojave, so you can be sure that the apps you use will work with Mojave. We will also run through those apps that are known not to be compatible with Mojave and offer solutions to those readers who need to run unsupported apps but don’t want to miss out on the new features in macOS Mojave.

Mojave compatibility

There are a few areas where there are likely to be compatibility issues with Mojave and certain apps. If your apps fit into one of the following categories it's likely that you will experience problems:

  • 32-bit apps
  • Old apps that are no longer supported by the developer
  • Apps that have their own implementation of new Mojave features like Dark Mode, or rely on features removed from Mojave
  • Peripherals that use drivers that haven't been updated

32-bit apps and Mojave

Apple indicated back in June 2017 that macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) would be the last Mac operating system to support 32-bit apps “without compromise”. Then in April 2018 Mac users running High Sierra started seeing warnings if they tried to open a 32-bit app stating that the app ‘is not optimised for your Mac’.

The warning indicated that: “This app needs to be updated by its developer to improve compatibility”.

Then in June 2018, while announcing macOS Mojave, Apple's vice president of software Sebastien Marineau stated that: "This year, we're announcing that macOS Mojave is the last release to support 32-bit, at all."

That doesn't necessarily mean that the app will run without issues. Apple indicated that 32-bit support in Mojave will be with compromises. So, if you are seeing a warning about an app it’s a good indication that the app you are using might encounter issues if you try to run it in Mojave.

Even if it does run in Mojave, the next version of macOS will not run 32-bit apps at all, so it's soon going to be time to upgrade to a newer version of your old app, or find an alternative.

Therefore the first thing to do is to check whether any of the apps you are currently using on your Mac are 32-bit and make plans to stop relying on them by September 2019 if you will want to update to the version of macOS that launches then.

In terms of the final deadline for moving into the 64-bit era - Apple will probably stop supporting Mojave in 2020 and since that's the last OS to support 32-bit, that's basically the end of any form of support for 32-bit apps on a Mac (unless you run an unsupported Mac OS that is, which you may well be doing if you have such ancient apps!)

If you want to get ready for the transition to 64-bit apps, you can check to see if any of your apps are 32-bit now. Here’s how to use MacOS to identify 32-bit apps:

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the left corner of your Mac screen.
  2. Choose About This Mac.
  3. Click on System Report.
  4. Now click on Software > Applications.
  5. Look to see whether the apps you use are listed as 64-bit application in the final column.
  6. Any apps that are listed as 32-bit may stop working if you update to macOS 10.14 when it launches in September 2018.
  7. Click on the column that’s headed ’64-Bit’ to see which apps aren’t ready for the transition.

If you want to read more about Apple's 'Not Optimized for your Mac' warning we have more information here.

Which Mac apps are 32-bit?

Here are some other non-64-bit applications that may be a cause for concern, we address these and others below:

  • Adobe Illustrator CS5
  • Abobe InDesign CS5
  • Microsoft Excel 2011
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2011
  • Microsoft Outlook 2011
  • Microsoft Word 2011

All these apps have newer versions available that do support 64-bit, and the developers would encourage you to update.

Apple isn’t ending support for these 32-bit apps just to spite you. The company has a webpag dedicated to explaining its reasons to stop support for 32-bit apps on the Mac. Essentially, Apple believes these legacy apps won’t offer a good user experience because they slow down your Mac.

The company explains that 64-bit apps can access more memory and therefore you can expect faster system performance.

This isn’t the first time Apple has ended support for 32-bit apps - in 2017 the company ended support for 32-bit apps in iOS 11.

Many of the developers who don’t yet have 64-bit versions of their apps are already making the transition from 32-bit. If they aren't then it’s probably time to consider switching to a more modern app.

Which Apple apps won’t work in Mojave?

It’s not only third-party developers whose apps are still stuck in 32-bit though. Even Apple has a collection of older apps that will be compromised - so if you are still using them it might be time to update to a newer version, or to switch to something else.

Aperture

If you have Aperture 3 (which was released in 2010) it is 64-bit, so you might be thinking it will still run. However, Apple announced that it was ending development and support for the photography product back in 2014 and now the company's support page indicates that Aperture won't work in the version of macOS that will launch in September 2019.

Planning to run Aperture on Mojave. It may run, but don’t expect it to be issue free, especially since Apple no longer supports the photography application.

Apple recommends you move to Photos.

iWork

If you are using an older version of Apple’s iWork apps - that’s Pages, Keynote and Numbers, you may need to upgrade.

All of the iWork '09 applications (from 2009) are 32-bit. This could be an issue to those Mac users who prefer these legacy apps to the modern versions.

The first 64-bit iWork applications arrived with iWork 2013.

Final Cut Pro & Logic Studio

Apple used to bundle a number of apps with Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio.

Both of these apps have were discontinued and replaced by Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X in 2011, however, there are still people running them.

If you are running an older versions Final Cut Studio, note that DVD Studio Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Colour and Cinema Tools will not run (nor did they work in High Sierra).

  • Final Cut Pro X 10.3.4 - Update to the latest version of Final Cut Pro here
  • Motion 5.3.2 - Update to the latest version of Motion here
  • Compressor 4.3.2 - Update to the latest version of Compression here
  • Logic Pro X 10.3.1 - Update to the latest version of Logic here
  • MainStage 3.3 - Update to the latest version of MainStage here

Older versions of Apple's DVD Player won't work - but that app is getting an update to 64-bit in macOS Mojave.

Which Microsoft apps won’t work in Mojave?

If you are still running the Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 apps (that’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook 2011) you might want to upgrade.

The 2011 versions are all 32-bit apps and Microsoft dropped support for the 2011 suite back in October 2017.

  • Word 2011
  • Excel 2011
  • PowerPoint 2011
  • Outlook 2011

Perhaps it’s time to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Office - read about the latest version of Office for Mac here, and buy it here.

The Office 2016 apps received 64-bit update in version 15.25 which arrived in August 2016. If you had Office 20916 and an Office 365 subscription you would have received the update. If you didn’t receive the update you may be able to download it here.

Which Adobe apps won’t work in Mojave?

We have already encountered an issue when Photoshop CS5 stopped working as soon as we installed Mojave. Luckily we were able to find a way to get it working again that we outline here: How to open apps that won’t work in Mojave - including Photoshop. It's not clear if the issue was related to Apple's 64-bit strategy or something related to accessibility.

Adobe has published a blog where it discussed 64-bit compatibility for its apps here. In the blog, Adobe noted that "Adobe applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere Pro have moved their core codes to 64-bit starting in 2008.”

It goes on to confirm: “We are working to update shared components, including our application licensing technology.”

Adobe’s advice is to “install all Adobe-provided updates”.

Adobe has also published a separate blog listing all the known issues with it's products and Mojave. You can read that here

If you are still running older versions of the Adobe apps - perhaps you never upgraded from CS to CC - then you are likely to encounter some issues if you upgrade to macOS Mojave. You can update to the latest version of the Adobe suite here.

Photoshop

We thought that as Photoshop CS5 is a 64-bit app (it was the first Adobe app to go 64-bit) it should work in Mojave. Unfortunately, we did encountered an issue when Photoshop CS5 stopped working as soon as we installed Mojave. Luckily we were able to find a way to get it working again that we outline here: How to open apps that won’t work in Mojave - including Photoshop. It's not clear if the issue was related to Apple's 64-bit strategy.

That's not the only version of Photoshop having issues though. There are compatibility issues with Photoshop 2018 and earlier versions. Adobe recommends that customers update to Photoshop CC 2019.

The company warns that the older versions of Photoshop that pre-date Creative Cloud haven't been tested for Mojave compatibility.

Many of the issues seem to be related to accessibility issues, with the dialog: "Photoshop CC 2018 would like to control your computer using accessibility features" being a common occurrence. In that case it's necessary to visit the accessibility settings in System Preferences to confirm that Photoshop can control your Mac.

There are also issues caused by Adobe's implementation of Dark Mode not being compatible with Apple's Dark Mode. This means that the settings need to be tweaked and the Dark Theme implemented if you want a full dark mode in the app.

Illustrator

Illustrator CS5 is 32-bit so it may not work in Mojave. The CS6 version of Illustrator in 2012 added 64-bit support, so if you are using a Illustrator CS6 or newer, you should be ok.

However, even newer versions of Illustrator users are experiencing problems. One of the most common complaints is that the apps GPU Sniffer and Safe Mode are appearing in the Dock when Illustrator is used. This is confusing if you aren't aware of their existance, but Adobe bundles them with Illustrator and the reason they appear is Apple's new feature of showing recent applications in the Dock. If you don't want recent applications to appear in the Dock read this.

InDesign

InDesign CS5 (still lucking on our Mac from the days of print) is another 32-bit app that we were concerned would stop working in Mojave.

Funny enough, it did work for us, sort of. We wouldn't want to rely on it, and we did see an error message after we closed the program.

Unfortunately InDesign didn’t get updated to 64-bit until CC arrived, so that means if you are still using the CS6 version then you are out of luck as that’s 32-bit so it definitely won't work when Apple announces the new version of macOS in September 2019.

AS for the current version of InDesign, there are some issues with Mojave: like Illustrator it seems to suffer from Dark Mode issues but also cursor-related bugs.

Acrobat Pro

Acrobat Pro 9.5.5 is another 32-bit app. There are known compatibility issues with Acrobat DC and Acrobat Reader DC and High Sierra “due to some 32-bit components that Adobe is working to address in the future,” says the company on a webpage regarding the issues.

Even newer versions of Acrobat have problems with printing and creating and converting PDFs in Mojave.

Lightroom

Lightroom has been 64-bit since Lightroom 2 arrived in 2008. Since Lightroom 6 arrived in 2015 the software has only run on 64-bit operating systems.

However, there is a known problem where Lightroom can crash when switching to Dark Mode while the application is running.

Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro moved to 64-bit back in 2008. That was Premiere Pro CS4, so chances are you are using a newer version than that. However, there are still some compatibility issues with newer versions of Premiere Pro and other Adobe video apps, including issues accessing the microphone and camera and problems with the eye dropper not functioning correctly. There's also a problem with Dark Mode.

After Effects

After Effects has been 64-bit since the CS5 version that arrived in 2010. The problems listed for Premiere Pro may apply here too.

What can I do to make sure my apps continue to work?

?Wondering what you can do to make sure that your apps don’t stop working in 2019? Here are our tips:

  • Contact the app developer.
  • Don’t update to macOS 10.14 Mojave.
  • Keep running an older version of MacOS alongside the new version so that you can switch operating systems when necessary.
  • Consider transitioning to a different app, or upgrading to a newer version.