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After I had a disturbing discussion with an Apple engineer I realized that Catalina is heading at us like a freight train right now - and not necessarily in a good way, but acceptation is going to be mandatory by Apple. In my case and revelation, I've been having some troubles with macOS over the last several months with performance on Mojave and it appears that these issues have been resolved in Catalina, but we're not going to see a "back port" of these fixes in Mojave. This is a double edged sword for some of us who need to run 32-bit programs still!

So this leads me to the question: what realistic options are we looking at for being able to run 32-bit apps when we must to step into Catalina?

Thus far the only practical solution that's come to my mind is using Mojave or High Sierra in Parallels via Coherence or another VM. Some projects like Darling (via Linux; imagine Wine for macOS apps instead) are just not yet quite mature enough to be viable. Are there other options that will facilitate running 32-bit apps that we just can't run without when Catalina becomes a proverbial "necessary evil?"

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  • @benwiggy understand that acceptance is mandatory when you have bugs that are not fix and are not going to be fixed by Apple in Mojave. In my case upgrading to Catalina is indeed mandatory since I can't live with the horrific bug that I'm dealing with that will not be resolved in Mojave.
    – ylluminate
    Jul 28 '19 at 21:10
  • Sadly there are some things that do not have alternatives and it's going to take virtualization to make it go. And no, Monomeeth's options are essentially nothing more than I've not already mentioned so I guess we're at a dead end for consideration and discussion for now.
    – ylluminate
    Jul 29 '19 at 8:33
  • I don't get your comment ylluminate about Monomeeth's answer. Your question asks what options exist for running 32 bit apps on Catalina, right? Your question only mentions running a VM and then asks for other options, and as @benwiggy says Monomeeth's answer gives you just that. So why say his options are essentially nothing more than you've not already mentioned so far? It's not like anyone can read your mind and know what you know but haven't bothered to mention. Sheez! +1 to you for asking a good question, and +1 to Monomeeth for answering it!
    – IOIOIO
    Aug 2 '19 at 6:30
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I guess it depends on what you mean by realistic options?

In summary though, the three best options are:

  • use a virtual machine (as you've already mentioned)
  • use a second boot disk (e.g. an external drive, another partition on your internal drive, etc) that has another version of macOS installed and boot from that as required
  • have a second Mac with another version of macOS installed. Depending on the Mac model, with this option you could also use the Mac in Target Disk Mode to boot your primary Mac if/when required.

Which ones of the above are the most realistic will depend on your individual circumstances.

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