4 alert signals end of 32-bit app support


It's not clear when exactly Apple will phase out support completely, but in the meantime, users can expect to see one-time alerts when firing up a 32-bit app, starting with macOS High Sierra 10.13.4.

Starting on April 12, users will be given one notification per affected 32-bit app that the developer needs to create an update.

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Apple hasn't been quite that aggressive with the Mac yet, but the warning that the next major macOS version (presumably macOS 10.14) will not run 32-bit apps "without compromise" (like some sort of compatibility mode with limitations) still stands.

All modern Macs include powerful 64-bit processors, and macOS runs advanced 64-bit apps, which can access dramatically more memory and enable faster system performance. The notice will read that the app is "not optimised" for Apple's platform, but it will still run. Also, even Apple hasn't moved all its apps to 64-bit. Click it, then choose "About this Mac".

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The alerts appear only when a 32-bit app launches, and will have a Learn More button that takes users to an Apple KnowledgeBase article that explains the transition. The steps, which will take some time, require that you get into your System Report pane and look to see whether apps support 64-bit. So, it's 64-bit or bust going forward (at some point, anyway). The same support page linked to above states that "all future Mac software will eventually be required to be 64-bit". First, Apple notified developers, and then users, and stopped accepting app submissions to the App Store that were not 64-bit, before finally removing support entirely. That, together with security concerns, are the two most likely reasons for cutting off support for apps made to run on an operating system only a few years old. In January, Apple mandated that all new apps submitted for review should be 64-bit compatible. If an app shows "No", that means it's 32-bit and needs to be updated. For business users, the Blue Jeans and Cisco WebEx teleconferencing clients are still only available as 32-bit apps.

Apple started that process in 2013 with its first 64-bit mobile processor, the A7.

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For now, the iPhone maker is just giving out warnings, and it has given no specific dates when the OS will totally stop supporting the 32-bit apps.