64 bit applications

As of January 2018, Apple Will Stop Allowing 32-Bit macOS Apps

mac_os_store

We have known for awhile that Apple is phasing out the use of 32-bit apps, but we didn’t know when that was going to happen.  Until now.  Apple’s developer site has reminded developers that as of January 1, 2018, 32-bit apps will no longer be accepted.  This timeline is specifically for macOS apps, which means existing apps must be updated to 64-bit by June 2018.  Apple recommends that if you distribute your app outside of the Mac App Store, you should update your app to run 64-bit as well.  This is due to the fact that macOS High Sierra will be the last macOS release to support 32-bit architecture.

This is what you see if you open the Apple Developer webpage:

As a reminder, new apps submitted to the Mac App Store must support 64-bit starting January 2018, and Mac app updates and existing apps must support 64-bit starting June 2018. If you distribute your apps outside the Mac App Store, we highly recommend distributing 64-bit binaries to make sure your users can continue to run your apps on future versions of macOS. The last macOS release to support 32-bit apps without compromise is macOS High Sierra.

macos_high_sierra

If you’re unsure which apps are running the 32-bit version, you can easily check it out.  Here’s how:

  • On the desktop, click on the Apple logo at the upper left of the screen.
  • Click About This Mac.
  • In the window that pops up, click System Report.
  • Next, in the System Information app that this brings up, find Applications under Software in the left menu.
  • Click on Applications, and your Mac will take a few seconds to compile the list.
  • Once it’s finished, scroll sideways to the right until you see the header 64-bit (Intel).

64_bit_app_list

Apps will have a Yes/No designation to determine whether they are 32-bit apps or not.  Yes means they are 64-bit and No means they are 32-bit.  Which is pretty simple.

We hear more about these updates from an iOS perspective and maybe that’s because Apple started ensuring iOS app updates were in the 64-bit architecture back in 2015.  Which means, if there are apps in the App Store that are 32-bit, they haven’t been updated in at least 2 years.  But, 32-bit Apps on the iPhone wouldn’t work since Apple released iOS 11.  What’s really interesting about this though, is that revenue from 32-bit apps amounted to less than 1% of Apple’s total portion of App Store revenue.  The older apps made approximately $37.5 million worldwide in the last quarter, and Apple’s cut from that was about $11.3 million – or a mere 0.41% of its total revenue.

Why am I mentioning this?  I think that we assume that this will be a big hardship for developers, when in fact they have probably been preparing themselves for this for quite some time.  If not, they haven’t been planning well.  From a consumer perspective, this doesn’t really make that much of a difference unless you have a ton of 32-bit applications.  But that doesn’t mean that the developer isn’t working on an update.  You could always check on their website or check with them directly if you’re unsure.