macOS Mojave will be the last macOS to support 32-bit apps. 64-bit Intel has been inside the Mac for more than a decade and it’s taken that long for Apple to get everything positioned to jettison 32-bit and fully embrace the future, with the present. What’s the problem?
Goodbye, Old Friend
My Mac, or, rather, our Macs, are home to a couple of hundred apps; many from Apple, of course, but most are third-party apps, and some of them have been in use on Miller Time Macs since before Mac360 started in mid-2004; pre-iPhone, pre-Intel Inside.
That means we have more than a few 32-bit apps and when macOS Catalina ships in a few weeks, those apps will cease to run. Already macOS Mojave pops up a warning every time I fire up a 32-bit app.
That coming situation led me to a few steps to ward off a potential catastrophe.
First, I did a survey of my main Mac’s apps and marked all the 32-bit apps that won’t run on macOS Catalina. Then, I prioritized those apps; which were must-have, and which could die a quick death and be replaced with a current 64-bit Mac app. As it turned out, there are only three apps that have no upgrade. Yet.
Second, I took a look at all the alternative 64-bit apps that could replace the three I flagged. Consider that an ongoing project. I found alternatives, but none as good as the apps they would replace.
Third, I decided to hedge my bets and look around for, 1) an old Mac that I could still run macOS Mojave’s 32-bit apps on, or, 2) a way to run macOS Catalina with the 64-bit restriction, but keep those three 32-bit apps around for a while longer.
For option #2, two of my three 32-bit apps are critical to my workflow. One is Adobe’s discontinued Fireworks vector graphics app; I use that to build many of the graphic components for Mac360 and other Villagers websites. The second is CSSEdit, a CSS editor, again, with no 64-bit counterpart that works as well.
That situation took me to #3 where I found what could be a good solution from Glenn Fleishman on TidBITS. Use Parallels to keep 32-bit apps going while running macOS Catalina. It’s called virtualization and it works pretty well; even better than multiple partitions with different macOS versions and having to switch between them.
All you have to do is run Mojave in a virtual machine to keep your older software functioning. It makes sense to use Mojave, rather than an earlier macOS release, because Mojave will receive security updates longer than older versions of the operating system.
That method will buy me some time to find a replacement to Fireworks and CSSEdit. Fleishman even gives you the step-by-step to find 32-bit apps on your Mac. In the meantime, if any Mac360 reader has a suitable option for Fireworks or CSSEdit, let me know.