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Home / Tips and Tricks / Why macOS Catalina breaks down so many apps and what you can do about it

Why macOS Catalina breaks down so many apps and what you can do about it



Apple's latest Mac update, macOS Catalina, was released earlier this week and brought with it a series of complications, both smaller and larger.

First, this update is the first Apple has released 32-bit application support. This causes headaches for users of smaller apps, plug-ins, and other software that may not have been updated for a long time, or a company that no longer exists. There are also a number of other problems with Catalina, such as: For example, problems with Adobe software incompatibility and unforeseen hurdles when removing iTunes.

This leads us to a number of important questions for Mac users who are at risk of disrupting important Catalina workflows. What exactly could go wrong when upgrading? Should you upgrade now and what should you do before you pull the trigger? Or should you hold back for now, and if so, how can you best do that and monitor when the jump is safe?


Screenshot by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

What's wrong with Catalina so far?

Apple announced for the first time to definitively discontinue support for 32-bit apps over a year and a half ago when it began to notify MacOS High Sierra users that 32-bit software is "not supported" was working, but when Catalina's official unveiling at WWDC took place in June, Apple made the final setting official. With the launch of Catalina 32-bit apps no longer work.

This has led to understandably messy problems. For example, older versions of Adobe products, such as Photoshop, use some 32-bit licensing components and installers. This means that they will not work after the upgrade. Not even the uninstaller from Adobe works after the Catalina upgrade because it's a 32-bit component as well.


Screenshot by Dami Lee / The Verge

Adobe recommends that you do not upgrade your Mac if you are based on this older version, before the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop or Lightroom. Even if you are upgrading, you should probably uninstall this software first. Otherwise, it will be difficult to remove as soon as it is no longer functional.

Other popular software products affected by this 32-bit to 64-bit migration include older versions of Microsoft Office, many older versions of Mac apps such as GarageBand, and obsolete apps like iPhoto. For those who play games on a Mac, there are probably quite a few 32-bit games, and there is no way to save them after upgrading to Catalina.

At The Tape Drive Apple blogger Steve Moser has compiled a list of 235 apps that are not supported in Catalina. These include some versions of Transmit, 1Password, QuickBooks, VMWare Fusion, and Parallels.

The problems, however, are beyond the loss of 32-bit app support. Due to incompatibility issues, newer versions of Photoshop installed and managed with Creative Cloud have problems naming files, checking plug-ins, and rendering videos. The Adobe support page states that Droplets, ExtendScript Toolkit, and Lens Profile Creator can not run.

Since Catalina marks the official end of iTunes as a stand-alone app, there are also issues with third-party apps that use iTunes as a repository for music files and the features offered to link to other software. This mainly affected DJ apps like Rekordbox and Traktor, which offer the ability to synchronize iTunes generated XML files. This removes the link between DJs' software and music libraries, which is crucial for live performances. For those who rely on this software, Apple advises not to upgrade to Catalina.

The more users upgrade to Catalina and encounter new, unforeseen problems, the more problems arise. If any of the above software components are critical to your work or everyday computer use, it's probably a good idea to stop updating.

Should you upgrade now?

If you want to upgrade, there are a few simple ways to find out if your computer will be severely affected by the loss of 32-bit support. Apple has made every effort to ensure that when you install the new operating system, you are alerted to the software installed on your computer that is no longer supported after the update.

However, if you want to do this before downloading Catalina and getting to the final stage of the installation process, you can open the System Information tool with Spotlight Search on your Mac. From there, scroll down to "Software" and click on "Legacy Software". At the top of the window you will find all the software that can not be used after installing Catalina. On my work machine it was just an app – an old software for recording Skype calls. But on my home computer, a year-long Mac mini, I have a lot of older software.


Screenshot by Nick Statt / The Verge

I have an old version of Microsoft Office on this computer, a 32-bit version of Valve's Steam Launcher that I have never uninstalled, and seemingly old versions of iMovie and earlier versions. Creative Cloud Adobe Apps. I am using my Creative Cloud subscription on this computer so I can uninstall this Adobe software. However, if I had ignored the warning from Adobe before Catalina, I would have had to resort to the manual cleanup tool, which can be annoying during troubleshooting and time consuming to run.

The question of whether you should upgrade depends largely on whether you run the risk that some apps may stop working, or you might encounter problems that you will not encounter, even with supported 64-bit software knew.

If you're like me, do not use highly specialized apps, not a four- or five-year-old Mac. You use your new laptop or desktop mainly for surfing the Internet, for general productivity tasks (calendars, notes, file management, etc.), for creating Light Media, and for editing and writing. In this scenario, upgrading to Catalina makes sense and probably does not cause too much trouble.


Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Why should you hold back?

There are many reasons not to upgrade to Catalina. According to Apple, the operating system will run on computers as early as 2012, but of course that means you may have tons of 32-bit software that you use from time to time without realizing it.

Dropping these apps, just to use Catalina, is not worth it, in my opinion, if the upgrades you receive focus mainly on new devices. For example, you can not use the new sidecar mirroring feature without a Skylake Mac and a newer iPad.

Another reason you might want to interrupt the upgrade is if you're a creative professional, use Photoshop, or any of the above-mentioned music software affected by iTunes removal. It's always safer to work on a machine that's built into your existing workflow, rather than taking the risk of damaging something and finding a roadblock for a project with a due date.

Like Dieter Bohn of The Verge in an article with the apt title " You do not need to update your operating system immediately. "Consumers and especially Apple fans have been led to a sense of complacency over software updates given the stability of the mobile variant. He calls it a low-risk, high-reward decision to update a new app or switch to the latest version of iOS, because you'll come across an error here or there, but access cool new features, nice wallpapers, and im General quick adoption of new features by third-party apps.

The same is not true for the Mac, which, as a much more open platform, can bring more complications and more risk if there is a fatal error or incompatibility problem. "You probably rely on your Mac or PC to do" real work, "and a first-day update could jeopardize this real work-and literally jeopardize your livelihood," writes Bohn. "It's better to wait and see how things evolve, convince others of problems, and report them."

If you end up, you should do one thing: fly over. Under Settings, click Software -Update "and deselect the" Keep my Mac up-to-date automatically "check box. This will ensure that your Mac does not try to install the update on your behalf. For most Mac users, this check box is selected by default. You must therefore disable the setting manually to avoid a forced installation of Catalina.


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