Macs Now Issuing Warnings About 32-Bit Apps: What You Need to Know

Apple is moving on from 32-bit Mac apps, and it wants its developers to as well.

The tech giant this week will begin warning Mac users that 32-bit applications are not desirable. It's part of an overall move to remove 32-bit application support from the operating system at some undetermined point in the future.

When you download macOS 10.13.4 and open a 32-bit app, you'll receive a notification that tells you the software is "not optimized" for the Mac. The information will be displayed only once and won't include any mention of if or when exactly Apple will nix 32-bit application support from its operating system, according to Computerworld.

Apple has made clear for years now that its future fits squarely in the 64-bit realm. The company has already stopped accepting any new apps that use 32-bit technology into its Mac App Store. But for those who have been using Macs for years, download software from outside the Mac App Store, or perhaps have built their own apps, there's a chance that at least some of the programs on their computers are running in 32-bit.

To be clear, this is just a warning and doesn't necessarily mean anything will change in your computing experience. As Apple says on a support page, "you may continue to use 32-bit apps with your Mac today. Using 32-bit software has no adverse effects on your data or your computer."

Apple is ostensibly hoping that by warning its users, it will prompt developers that know they have 32-bit apps running on Macs to update them and deliver 64-bit integration. It's also worth noting that 32-bit apps will continue to work in at least the next macOS version the company will unveil this year, macOS 10.14.

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That said, Apple's move to alert users is another step towards the point when it eliminates 32-bit app support altogether. The same support page linked to above states that "all future Mac software will eventually be required to be 64-bit." And until then, there's a chance that the 32-bit apps will not work as well as their 64-bit counterparts as Apple optimizes its operating system updates for 64-bit processing.

If you're concerned about all this and want to know exactly which apps you're running now deliver 64-bit support, the folks over at AppleMust have made a handy guide to find out. 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. The list might surprise you.

For now, though, rest assured that your Mac will keep running all of those apps. Apple has yet to announce a timeline for eliminating 32-bit app support, but with Worldwide Developers Conference right around the corner, the company might make an announcement soon.