Apple released a beta version of MacOS Mojave at the beginning of June 2018 and soon the final version will be available for download. When the final version of Mojave arrives before downloading it would be wise to confirm that the apps you use from developers like Adobe, Microsoft, Avid and even Apple itself, will work with the new operating system.
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. You may be hoping that the developers will issue an update your app to make them compatible (if for example you are running an old version of Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite) 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 If there is a newer version of the app it's more likely that the developer will encourage you to upgrade to the newer version.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 MacS Mojave.
How to find apps that won’t work with 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."
It does seem a bit like Apple has gone back on it's threat that it would outlaw 32-bit apps in the 2018 macOS release, which may be good news for developers and those people running 32-bit apps on their Mac. But it doesn't necessarily mean that the app will run without issues.
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 and run it in Mojave.
MacOS High Sierra and Mojave users will still be able able to open and use these 32-bit apps, but in Mojave they will be compromised.
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!)
How to check for 32-bit apps on a Mac
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:
- Click on the Apple logo in the left corner of your Mac screen.
- Choose About This Mac.
- Click on System Report.
- Now click on Software > Applications.
- Look to see whether the apps you use are listed as 64-bit application in the final column.
- Any apps that are listed as 32-bit may stop working if you update to macOS 10.14 when it launches in September 2018.
- Click on the column that’s headed ’64-Bit’ to see which apps aren’t ready for the transition.
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 availabe 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 who’s 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 3, released in 2010, was the first 64-bit version of Aperture, and the last version of Aperture.
If you have an older version of Apple’s pro photo solution that it discontinued back in 2014, it may not run in Mojave. If you have Aperture 3, it may run, but don’t expect it to be issue free, especially since Apple no longer supports the photography application.
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 geting 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
The Office 2016 apps received 64-bit update in version 15.25 which arrived in August 2016. If you had Office 20916 and a Office 365 subscription you would have received the update. If you didn’t receive the update you may be able to download it here.
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.
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”.
What if you are running older versions of the Adobe apps (as some people who weren’t keen on updating to the Creative Cloud versions are). If that’s you it may be time to consider updating…
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.
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 Mojav. 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.
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.
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 definately won't work in the future.
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.
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.
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.
After Effects has been 64-bit since the CS5 version that arrived in 2010.
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 - the version of the MacOS that will follow High Sierra.
- 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.