On the weekend I upgraded my MacBook Pro to macOS Mojave. Things are mostly ok but I have some apps that no longer work. The one I’m most stressed about is Adobe Photoshop CS5. When I try to run it it refuses to open.

I've tried resetting NVRAM and running Disk Utility, but this didn’t resolve the issue.

Before I take the plunge to revert back to macOS High Sierra I thought I’d try my luck here.

Do any of you folks have any other suggestions for me to try first?

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    Welcome to Ask Different :) Can you check if Adobe Photoshop CS5 is listed under System Preferences app → Security & Privacy → Privacy?
    – Nimesh Neema
    Dec 4, 2018 at 10:00

4 Answers 4


The first thing I would try is changing the security and privacy settings in System Preferences. You can do this as follows:

  1. Go to Apple > System Preferences…
  2. Click on Security & Privacy
  3. Select the Privacy tab at top right
  4. In the lefthand pane select the Accessibility option
  5. At bottom left of the window make sure the padlock is unlocked (if not, select it and enter your password)
  6. In the list of apps on the right-hand side, make sure Photoshop and any of the other apps you’re having problems with are ticked
  7. OPTIONAL: If any apps you’re having problems with are not listed, click on the + button under the list and navigate to the apps to select and add them to your list. Once done, then repeat Step 6
  8. Make sure you lock the padlock again that you unlocked at Step 5
  9. Quit and restart any apps you’ve just allowed to control your Mac (i.e. if they were already open)

Now try running Photoshop etc again to see if they work.

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    You are freaking awesome! Adobe Photoshop CS5 now works, and so do the other two apps. I'm so happy I'm laughing!!! :-)
    – user312788
    Dec 4, 2018 at 14:01
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    Can you add an explanation for why changing the Accessibility settings for this app works? I'm baffled as to why going to the settings for helping users with disabilities would help a photo-editing app work. Dec 4, 2018 at 17:18
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    @user312788 Be advised, Mojave is the last version these apps will work in. 10.15 will completely remove 32 bit app support. When next year's major upgrade comes around, think carefully beforehand, and make a backup of the old OS. Dec 8, 2018 at 4:38
  • @Wowfunhappy Thanks for the reminder. :) This is good advice, although Adobe Photoshop CS5 can actually be installed as a 64-bit version. Regardless, I'm with you on this. Users going forward who don't want to opt-in to Adobe's subscription model will need to either not upgrade macOS, purchase Photoshop Elements (which for most users would probably suffice) or move to a non-Adobe product.
    – Monomeeth
    Dec 8, 2018 at 4:57
  • @Monomeeth Have you tested disabling 32bit execution by booting with the -no32exec boot flag? I don't have CS5, but I do have CS6, which is fully 64-bit except for some 32-bit helper applications. Presumably of these helpers, it won't work at all in -no32exec mode. It crashes instantly. :( Dec 8, 2018 at 20:30

Our go-to for preserving valuable but obsolete software is to put it inside a virtual machine using Oracle Virtualbox or VMWare, that way you can use it on any system forever without worrying about it being broken by OS upgrades / hardware failure etc.

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    I find this even more impractical than reverting back to High Sierra. Running two versions of macOS at the same time is wildly wasteful of system resources and will slow down performance noticeably. It is also rather inconvenient when switching between apps when some are running in a virtual machine and some are running on the host.
    – Fiksdal
    Dec 4, 2018 at 22:47
  • Modern VM's on modern hardware are pretty high performance, I a often working inside 2 or 3 VM's on my machine for things like CAD and IDE's and there's no noticeable loss in performance - and shared folders, network drives, git repos etc. work across the VM's. Having enough RAM definitely helps but if you're using something like Photoshop professionally you should already have jammed all the RAM in.
    – John U
    Dec 5, 2018 at 11:00
  • @JohnU Performance has improved, but you are absolutely still losing performance. If you have a powerful machine to begin with, you might not notice. However, if you have a slower machine, or if you're on a laptop and want your battery to last, you'll notice a hit. Dec 8, 2018 at 4:40
  • Undoubtedly there will always be some overhead, but it's surprisingly low these days, and given the benefits of being able to preserve expensive / incompatible packages. It can be worth buying a complete high-spec machine to run the VM on if the alternative is "buy the new version for 10k+" or "lose business".
    – John U
    Dec 9, 2018 at 15:58

Finally a solution is on the horizon...

I went through a crazy voyage with my CS5 Creative Suite PS Version, You have to consider serveral things that could be an issue

-> update to 12.0.4 or even 12.0.5 here you find a way to run "old" incompatible updater... be sure to run them with sudo https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2552114

-> Font Setting in PS, set preview to small, if this isn´t set, PS will crash on using font tool, by rendering the font preview box

-> This https://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/mac-software/open-apps-wont-work-mojave-photoshop-3684425/ was my second issue... and i ran into another version of it, from one day to the other, PS crashed when i tried to use for e.g. tools or move the image. I tried a lot of stuff. But i forgot to maybe consider to reimplement the security thing mentioned in linked article...

-> Another issue could be messed up fonts, use FontBook to scan your fonts, remove all which are marked RED

-> Sometimes Old Plugins could also crash PS... try to disable them with the Adobe Extension Manager, depending on your installation, you have to maybe run the Manager wih root, terminal: sudo (drag here the .dmg -> show package content -> Contents -> MacOS -> AdobePatchInstaller to insert the path in the terminal)

The only thing i could´nt get rid of is the crash message when i close PS

So i hope this helps


This is tested for photoshop CS5 on mac pro - mojave

Go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, Accessibility, and make sure the Photoshop CS5 box is checked.

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