It's long been telegraphed that 32-bit apps will no longer work in upcoming versions of macOS. This is rather annoying, because my go-to games when I want to waste 15 minutes are all 32-bit from companies that no longer exist.

Does anyone have any ideas whether there will be any way to run these apps, perhaps in a wrapper? No, booting another OS is not a solution. Is there any info on this issue at all?

  • 4
    You could use a virtual machine running an old version of macos
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 13:22

2 Answers 2


You can use either Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion to run older macOS versions. The virtualization runs on top of Catalina so there won‘t be a need to reboot. And unless your games are very GPU-intensive you should get decent performance as well.


1) My plan is to simply run old versions of the operating system, supported by disk clones made using tools like Carbon Copy Cloner. I currently keep an os 10.9 system running this way, and a 10.14 system in a dual boot capability presently. Perhaps in future I will have a triple boot setup, not looking forward to that.

2) Time machine does not like to restore to an older os version so I use both Time Machine in conjunction with a hot-spare disk clone. Rsync is also able to maintain the freshness of these backups if Carbon Copy Cloner not suitable.

3) I can't see why it wouldn't be possible to convert 32-bit x86 machine code into super ugly 64-bit x86 machine code. After all, doesn't the x64 support 32-bit multiply? Sure it does! A processor supporting x86-64 still powers on in real mode for full backward compatibility, as x86 processors have done since the 80286. x86_64 introduces two new modes of operation, 64-bit mode and compatibility mode, along with a new 4-level paging mode. A chip series called Itanium was invented to attempt at a pure 64 bit architecture. In January 2019, Intel announced that Itanium 3 would be discontinued, with a last order date of January 2020.

  • 1
    32bit vs 64bit involves much more than multiplications, even on CPU level. And Apple dropped support for several frameworks/libraries with Catalina so even if you could get the code to run as such you still would lack the environment to run it in.
    – nohillside
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 17:08
  • The OP states "No, booting another OS is not a solution.", which means he is currently looking for a way to run 32-bit apps on macOS Catalina not boot another OS as you point 1 suggests. What's 2 got to do with the question asked? 3 is covered in the other comment. Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 17:14

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