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Catalina Compatibility Check

By Tristan Hough

With the introduction of macOS Catalina 10.15, Apple will no longer support 32-bit applications. Moving forward, Apple will only support 64-bit applications on their macOS platform. 

That’s great but what does it mean for me?

Well, the short answer is that because of this change, there are now several applications or programs which will not work on the new platform. For example, your old install of Microsoft Office, or your favourite video editing application will no longer work. In fact, these applications will not even open on the new OS version. 

But I paid a lot of money for those apps, how do I check to see if they will work?

To see if those apps will still work you will need to follow the 5 steps below:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen.
  2. Select About This Mac. 
  3. Click System Report.
  4. Scroll down to the Software section and click Applications.
  5. On the right, you'll see a list of apps and a column labelled 64-Bit (Intel). 

If any of those apps have a No in that column, it means they're not 64-bit apps, so you'll need to update them, or find a replacement before you get the MacOS Catalina update.

There are some developers that are working on updating their software to be compatible with the new OS, so you may be able to check with the manufacturer to see if it’s in their development pipeline. Microsoft will not be updating Office 2011 for Mac to support Catalina, and Office 2016 for Mac (Although currently compatible with Catalina if you are on v15.35 or higher) will stop receiving updates in October 2020.

If you are intending on upgrading to Catalina, and are a Microsoft Office user, your best bet would be to upgrade to Office 2019 for Mac, or Office 365. For the balance of applications not supported on Catalina, you may need to (unfortunately) find suitable alternatives.


Tristan Hough

Managing Director

With over ten years professional experience in both private and public organisations, Tristan provides consulting, project management and strategic planning services to a broad range of industries including financial, healthcare and legal.

Tristan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (IT Major) degree from Southern Cross University, as well as IT industry qualifications including MCSE, MCDBA and CCNA certifications.