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Why are some Mac apps crossed out?



Dashed Mac application icons

If you see application icons on your Mac with a crossed symbol on top of them, it means that macOS cannot run the program. Although there may be several reasons, it is most likely that you have recently upgraded macOS and it no longer supports 32-bit applications. Here̵

7;s why – and what you can do about it.

First: The other reasons why an app will not run

Basically, an crossed-out application icon means that something is preventing macOS from running the program. There can be several reasons for this, including that the app package is damaged or invalid, that the app was written for another architecture (for example, a PowerPC app on an Intel Mac), or that the app is unreliable and has not yet been allowed to run .

In these cases, it is best to make sure that you are running the latest version of the app (check the developer’s website for updates), and you may want to try reinstalling the app from a clean source if it was damaged. But these are generally rare cases.

The latest issue: Apple stopped supporting 32-bit Mac software

As of macOS 10.15 Catalina (released October 2019), macOS no longer supports running 32-bit apps. If you have a 32-bit application on your Mac in Catalina or later, you’ll see a crossed-out icon above its icon in the Finder, Launchpad, and Dock.

An example of 32-bit Mac apps that are crossed in Launchpad on macOS.

If you try to run one of these crossover apps, you will see a message warning you that it needs updating.

A 32-bit app alert in macOS 10.15 Catalina

But why? And what does “32-bit application” mean anyway?

It is difficult to summarize the meaning of the terms “32-bit app” or “64-bit app” without writing a technical research paper, but if you boil it down, both terms refer to how much memory (RAM) and computing power an application can use. A 64-bit application can use dramatically more memory (so that larger files can be loaded) and theoretically perform much more complex tasks than a 32-bit program.

Because Macs have supported 64-bit applications for over a decade, Apple believes that 32-bit applications are older software that should be upgraded to take full advantage of the latest computer hardware. In Catalina, Apple decided to force the issue by not allowing 32-bit software altogether.

Will I ever be able to use my crossover Mac apps again?

Because Apple wants to drive technology forward, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to run 32-bit Mac software on newer versions of macOS again. So if you are facing crossover apps, here are some strategies for dealing with it.

  • Check for a 64-bit app update: If you have a favorite 32-bit app that no longer works, visit the developer’s website to see if a 64-bit version of the app is available. Alternatively, you can search for a newer version in the Mac App Store.
  • Find and alternative application: If a 32-bit app has not been updated by the developer, you can try to find a newer app that does the same thing. A good place to start is the Mac App Store.
  • Use an older Mac: If you have an extra older Mac still running a version of macOS before Catalina, you can use that machine to run older 32-bit apps and never update macOS, but this comes with some security risks. At some point, security issues will no longer be corrected in older apps or operating systems, making the machine a mature target for malware in the future.
  • Run an older version of macOS on a virtual machine: Thanks to virtualization software, such as Parallels Lite, it is possible to run an older version of macOS practically inside the latest version of macOS. That way, you can use your older 32-bit apps well into the future – as long as you have a virtual machine that supports them.
  • Downgrade to macOS 10.14 Mojave: As a last resort, it is possible to reinstall an earlier version of macOS like Mojave, the latest version that supported 32-bit apps, if you completely trust your 32-bit apps to get the job done and have no one else Mac. . However, it is a risky process, so back up your Mac first.

Still, it is best to update or move on

Just as we have already said goodbye to 16-bit applications a long time ago, finally, time is marching on and leaving some technologies. This is actually good, because newer apps can take advantage of more powerful computers and better development techniques. You should also constantly update your software whenever possible for security reasons. Good luck!




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