Mac App Vs Ios App

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There are apps, and there are apps. Every once in a while, an app appears that’s so beautiful, so technical, and so completely exploits the Apple iDevice that it takes one’s breath away. This is one of those.

Theodolite from Hunter Research & Technology is an app that pulls together many of the iDevice’s capabilities in order to create the ultimate navigational tool for the outdoorsman. The display of, say, the iPhone becomes a viewfinder on which is overlaid GPS data (coordinates and elevation), compass heading, attitude and time data. You can e-mail the data to someone, and you can easily take a screen shot that captures all that data.

Here’s the full technical description from the author’s website: “Ability to take geo-stamped and geo-tagged photos and screenshots from the app, with 2X and 4X zoom, buffered background image saves, plus an option to write custom notes on photos. Integrated map with standard, satellite, and hybrid views, compass rose, and bearings. Ability to manage location markers on the map. Optical-mechanical gyro/accelerometer calibration. Zero angle reference mode. A-B survey calculator for height, distance, heading, position, and angles. Data logging. E-mail data export with KML. Clipboard integration. Percent Grade. Optical rangefinders. Mils. Night vision lens filters. MGRS, UTM, and four lat/lon formats.”

And it looks great too.


The app is available in several versions. There is Theodolite Free for the iPhone which has ads. You can buy the Theodolite Pro for the iPhone, which is ad free, for US$3.99. That’s a downright steal. And there’s a Theodolite HD for the iPad, which is identical and doesn’t suffer too much from the mediocre camera system in the iPad 2. This review is based on the Pro version, and I can confidently suggest that you can just skip the ad supported version and go right to the paid ones.

The app is compatible with any iPhone, the iPod touch (4G) or any iPad 2. Compass use requires iPhone 3GS, 4, or 4S. iPhone 4 or 4S, or iPod Touch 4 required for gyro and Retina Display support. the app requires at least iOS 4.1.

Practical Uses

The app is useful for a wide variety of outdoor activities, more than you may have thought of at first. The obvious ones are backcountry, skiing, fishing or boating navigation plus search and rescue. But the range finder can be used for golf. And other uses include surveying, landscaping, tracking the trajectory of objects, triangulating on wildfires, accident investigations, real estate and a lot more.


The app is nicely documented, both inside the app and on the author’s website. Each function is well explained, although, for the sake of form, and for newbies, it would be a plus to have a graphic documenting each of the items in the display with callouts.

The documentation includes a nice FAQ that covers some if the nuances of the app, interpreting the display, and trouble shooting.


I found the app to be a joy to use, especially after I diagnosed one peculiarity. Back in 2011, I turned off the Compass Calibration in my iPhone 4S when we all thought that might be the source of some unwanted battery drain. I don’t think that’s an issue anymore, but if you turned that off, you’ll have several symptoms. First, the iPhone’s Compass app cannot be set to true north, only magnetic north. Second, the azimuth display in Theodolite will be very, very wrong.

The way to fix this is: Settings -> Location Services -> scroll to Bottom -> System Services -> Compass Calibration -> On.

The author provided more details in an e-mail:

Roughly 3-4 people have contacted me about this problem. It had me scratching my head for a while, but some other developers on the Apple developer forums were reporting the same issue, and eventually we all got to the bottom of it. Given the small number of users this affects, it was a bit hard to work out. But in the end, an obscure and forgotten system setting change fits the pattern perfectly.

Long term, I will implement a change in the app and have it turn the compass indicator red when the GPS hardware isn’t reporting back a valid magnetic declination. Normally that condition would be lumped under the GPS position indicator going red, but with the new iOS 5 settings, it’s now possible to have good position data but invalid magnetic declination.”

I was particularly delighted to note that while images taken with the camera icon and saved to to the photo album contain EXIF data, images exported via the e-mail function do not. That way, you have better control, if necessary, of your privacy. Or not — when needed — for things like search and rescue. I verified that with a photo sent to myself and inspection with the Graphic Converter app that can reveal the EXIF data.

Having an astronomy background, I was particularly pleased with all the different formats available for position measure; D.X, DMS, UTM and others. And of course, distances can be viewed in meters for feet. There are some very nice options for determining how photos/screenshots are taken. Both these option pages provide evidence that the developer is very technical and addresses the needs of different kinds of users.

Camera/Photo/Screenshot Settings

The optical range finder depends on a single lens technique of using a reticle to estimate distance. That’s not quite as elegant as a dual lens, binocular technique, but that’s the best one can do with a single lens system. You have to roughly know the size of a distant object. Then angular data allows you to converts that to a distance. There is also a 2x and 4x digital zoom, so the app also can serve as a modest, low power monocular. There are some filter settings that can be set to, say, red to preserve your night vision or other colors to improve the usability in low light. (Not available in the free version.)

Range Finder

A particularly helpful function is the status display of the sensors and the estimated accuracy. Measurement without sanity checks and estimated accuracy is for amateurs, and this function is further evidence of the technical expertise of the developer.

Sensor status and accuracy estimates

All in all, I would say that given the variety of uses for this app, linked to above, just about any iPhone user would consider it a must-have. For four bucks, it’s a steal.


This app is similar in some ways to Spyglass, reviewed earlier. Spyglass is a sextant app that can also show the calculated position of the sun and moon. This app is a pure theodolite, but also can be used for some astronomy applications, such as finding angles.

I have a great fondness for apps that integrate all the sensors available in the iPhone and iPad. Apps like this bring out the best in those products. Not only does it make for a terrific technical tool, but it also makes you feel as if you’re Captain Kirk.

Product:Theodolite 2.6.1

Company:Hunter Research and Technology

List Price: US$3.99 (Pro and HD versions)


Goegeous display, integration of iPhone sensors, log and e-mail functions, great documentation, terrific price.

When macOS Mojave was announced, Apple warned that it would be the last version of macOS that would support older 32-bit apps. Apple has been phasing out 32-bit apps for the last 10 years and is now ready to take the final step, even if Mac users may not be ready to lose access to older apps.

With the release of macOS Catalina, 32-bit app support is no longer available, which means many of your older apps will no longer work if they haven't been updated to 64-bit.

32-bit vs. 64-bit

32-bit apps date back to a time when there were 32-bit processors and 32-bit operating systems, but are now outdated. Apple has long since transitioned to 64-bit processors and macOS has been 64-bit since the launch of Snow Leopard in 2009.

Compared to 32-bit apps, 64-bit apps can take advantage of more memory and offer faster system performance. Apple technologies like Metal only work with 64-bit apps, and for Apple to ensure that Mac apps include all of the latest advancements and optimizations, support for 32-bit needs to end. In the simplest terms, 32-bit apps are inefficient.

32-bit apps can run on a 64-bit system as they've been doing for years, but Apple wants to get rid of outdated apps to make sure everything that runs on the Mac is properly optimized and isn't an unnecessary drain on system resources.

Previous Warnings

Apple started warning Mac users about plans to end support for 32-bit apps back with macOS High Sierra. In High Sierra, users started getting warnings about a 32-bit app's future incompatibility with macOS.

A similar message was available in macOS Mojave, and if you opened up a 32-bit app while running Mojave, you saw an alert letting you know a specific app wouldn't work with future versions of macOS unless it was updated.

Alerts re-appeared every 30 days when launching an app, with Apple aiming to make sure customers would not be caught unaware when a 32-bit app stopped working in the future, so you should already know if one of your frequently used apps hasn't been upgraded to 64-bit.

Upon updating to ‌macOS Catalina‌, you'll be shown a list of 32-bit apps that no longer work on your system.

How to Check if an App is 32-Bit or 64-Bit in macOS Mojave

To determine whether an app is 64-bit or 32-bit and to see if there are 32-bit apps installed on your machine before upgrading to ‌macOS Catalina‌, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple symbol () in the menu bar on your Mac's desktop.
  2. Click on About This Mac.
  3. Choose 'System Report' at the bottom of the window.
  4. Scroll down to the Software list on the sidebar.
  5. Select Legacy Software.'

Anything in the list of Legacy Software applications is a 32-bit app and will not work when upgrading to ‌macOS Catalina‌.

If Legacy Software isn't an option in the sidebar, select the Applications option and then check the list of apps at the right. The column that's labeled 64-bit will show a 'No' listing for apps that are 32-bit.

How to Prepare to Update to ‌macOS Catalina‌

The first step is to make sure there aren't already available updates for apps that you have on your system, which you can generally do by updating through the Mac App Store for ‌Mac App Store‌ apps.

Apps outside of the ‌Mac App Store‌ use other update methods that can vary by app, but for many, you can click on the app's name in the menu bar and choose the 'Check for Updates' option. Some other apps have more hidden update methods, so if you do have a 32-bit app, make sure to Google how to update it to be sure there's not already new software available.

After ensuring you've updated everything you're able to update, you can contact developers and ask them to update their apps, but if that doesn't pan out, the only other solution is to start the search for an alternative app if you're committed to upgrading to ‌macOS Catalina‌ or have already done so.

32-Bit App Warnings When Installing Catalina

When upgrading to ‌macOS Catalina‌, the installer will show a list of recently used apps that are 32-bit so you know what to expect before installing.

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After viewing this list, you can choose to either cancel or continue with the installation.

‌macOS Catalina‌ also shows a stop symbol over the icon of 32-bit apps in the Finder, so you know that the app isn't going to open.


With the release of ‌macOS Catalina‌, Aperture is going to stop working. Apple warned Aperture users in April 2019 that the software won't run in future versions of macOS, starting with ‌macOS Catalina‌.

If you're an Aperture user, you'll have to transition to alternate photo editing and management software, such as Adobe's Lightroom. Aperture is not 32-bit, but Apple is phasing it out all the same.


Mac App Store App Download

Affected Media Formats

Certain media files that use older formats and codecs are also not compatible with macOS after macOS Mojave due to the 64-bit transition, and you will need to convert some iMovie and Final Cut Pro X libraries. Incompatible media files were created using codecs that rely on QuickTime 7, and while macOS Mojave has QuickTime 7 frameworks, future versions of macOS will not.

Apple has a full list of media formats that are going to be affected by the transition available in a support document.

Continuing to Use 32-Bit Apps

In macOS Mojave and earlier versions of macOS like High Sierra, you can continue to use your 32-bit apps. If you have a 32-bit app that you absolutely depend on, you're going to want to think twice before upgrading to ‌macOS Catalina‌.

Mac App Vs Ios App Download

Guide Feedback

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