I've been unable to update any of my Apple applications through the App Store. Other applications update just fine. I noticed this when I tried to update Xcode yesterday. Upon clicking the update button, it greys out without ever beginning the update process. This has left me unable to update.
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32-bit apps can run on a 64-bit system as they've been doing for years, but Apple wants to get rid of outdated apps to make sure everything that runs on the Mac is properly optimized and isn't an unnecessary drain on system resources.
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:
- Click the Apple symbol () in the menu bar on your Mac's desktop.
- Click on About This Mac.
- Choose 'System Report' at the bottom of the window.
- Scroll down to the Software list on the sidebar.
- 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.
How To Update Mac Ios
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.
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.
Unable To Update Mac Apps
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 Store Unable To Update Apps
Have questions about the end of support for 32-bit apps or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.
Update Mac Os
Several users have stated that they were unable to update certain Apple apps in the Mac App Store. From the users’ reports, it seems that attempting to update Keynote, Pages, iMovie, GarageBand, and Numbers may cause this problem. Users get this message:
Unable to update “Pages” To update this app, you need to accept it on the Account page in the App Store.
This problem can be very annoying as it may prevent you from updating and using some of your apps. If you are having this problem, here is how you can resolve it:
macOS app update problem?
Please follow the steps below:
- Open the Mac Store app from the Dock or Finder on your Mac.
- Now click your name (or Sign In and then sign in to the App Store) at the bottom-left corner. This is your Mac Store account page.
- This page will show the affected apps. You may see an ‘Accept’ button next to the apps that need to be accepted in order to updated with the Mac. Click Accept. This means that you are accepting the terms and conditions of the App Store. Now try again updating your app(s). If you are still unable to do so or if you do not see the Accept button, keep following the steps below. And it seems that a low of users do not see this button.
- Now open Launchpad Mac by clicking the Launchpad icon on your Dock.
- Find the affected apps. We will remove these apps.
- Click and hold on the app’s icon until it jiggles.
- You will see the X icon in the upper-left corner of the apps. Click the X.
- Click Delete.
- Now quit Launchpad.
- Wait a few minutes to make sure that the deleted app removed completely.
- Now open the App Store again.
- Go to the Account page again (step #1-2).
- Find the affected app(s).
- Click Update (or the cloud download icon).
- The app(s) should now install without any problems.
This problem occurs because Apple made some of its apps free to macOS users. And it is possible that you may have paid some of these apps to buy in the past. You may also experience this problem if you are using multiple Apple IDs. (see: How to delete Apple ID)
See also: An Error Occurred During Purchase