I'd like to get the Preview app from 10.7 to work on 10.13. I've done it with the calculator by editing a file in contents folder. I guess the same can be done with Preview app. Unfortunately I dont remember what I did, or which file that should be edited.

Anyone who can help with this?

  • wow, ok... Impressive. I dont take it you'd be willing to spent time writing a code for Preview? – Hidalgo James Mar 23 at 11:45
  • No. :P It was actually an insane amount of work, basically a lot of guessing and seeing what happened. But I left a more complete answer below. – Wowfunhappy Mar 23 at 12:07

If you've tried copying it over and it doesn't work, then realistically there's little you can do.

Applications are (crudely) just a series of instructions to the OS. The available instructions change from one OS to the next. If the app is sending instructions that are no longer valid, then it just won't run.

Your best option is to identify what features you want from Preview in 10.7 that are not in Preview from 10.13, and find a third-party app that provides them.

  • Thanks. But I dont think thats entirely true though. As stated, I managed to get the 10.7 calculator to work on 10.13. I did this by editing and remove lines in a file within contents folder. Same should go for preview app. Dont see why this should be any different. – Hidalgo James Mar 23 at 10:39
  • Apps are different. Yes, the Info.plist does contain metadata about the app, including required environments. But ultimately, those limitations were set for a reason, and it may be that the app will crash when particular features are accessed. What lines did you change? Add them to your question. – benwiggy Mar 23 at 10:42
  • I dont remember which lines I'm afraid. Think it was within the plist though, but agian, I really dont remember. – Hidalgo James Mar 23 at 10:44
  • I can tell you this, my 10.07 calculator runs just as smooth on 10.13 as it did in 10.07. – Hidalgo James Mar 23 at 10:46
  • Note that Preview makes much more complex calls to the OS than a simple calculator does - all the GUI rather than just simple Cocoa calls – mmmmmm Mar 23 at 10:46

The file you edited was almost certainly Contents/Info.plist. You usually just need to change CFBundleVersion to a number greater than the one listed in the MinimumVersionRequirements section of Apple's blacklist: /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/Exceptions.plist.

Other options include changing the CFBundleIdentifier in the application's info.plist, or simply editing Exceptions.plist so the application/version is no longer blacklisted (if System Integrity Protection is disabled).

Before you bother with that, however, there's an easier way to temporarily launch and app and see whether or not it will work. Instead of double clicking the .app file, try running the executable in Contents/macOS directly. This should bypass Apple's blacklist.

I have some bad news—none of this is likely to work. Preview is a lot more complex than Calculator.

If you want to go further, start by using otool -l to see what frameworks a binary depends on:

otool -l /System/Library/CoreServices/CoolApp.app/Contents/MacOS/CoolApp

...and install_name_tool to change which copy of a framework is used by a binary:

install_name_tool -change /Library/Frameworks/Foo.framework/Versions/A/Foo @executable_path/../Frameworks/Foo-From-Lion.framework/Versions/A/Foo Bar.app/Contents/MacOS/Bar

But it still probably won't be enough for Preview, either.

Here is all of the code I had to inject to make the 10.8 version of QuickTime work in 10.9 (thereby adding back support for third-party codecs such as Perian, which I subsequently updated to support VP9, the format used for 4K Youtube videos). https://github.com/Wowfunhappy/QuickTime-Fixer/blob/master/QuickTimeFixer/main.m. It took weeks to figure out what code was needed; I finished it only because the pandemic left me stuck inside over Christmas and New Years. And I was only bringing QuickTime one version ahead, not seven versions!

  • Thanks for your very skilled reply, although its quite depressing news:) Such a shame. I was really hoping to get the old preview app running. Tried tons of third party apps, and non works anyway near as well as the old 10.7 preview... – Hidalgo James Mar 23 at 12:16
  • Dont suppose it will change anything if I "only" need it to work on 10.11 ? – Hidalgo James Mar 23 at 12:23
  • @HidalgoJames It makes a difference, yes, it's more likely to be feasible. But only relative to "almost certainly not feasible". I'd be more optimistic if you targeting 10.8 or 10.9. – Wowfunhappy Mar 23 at 12:29
  • What do you like about Lion's Preview anyway? The interface seems very similar to the one I have on Mavericks, just a few buttons are in different places. I'm more partial to the Snow Leopard version, myself. (I have actually tried to get that one working on 10.9 before, I got it to launch but it wouldn't render any PDFs or photos, and I wasn't willing to go nuts like I did for QuickTime.) – Wowfunhappy Mar 23 at 12:37
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    You can access the Hand Tool with Alt Space. Though with a trackpad or scrollable mouse, it's largely redundant. Foxit Reader is a free PDF viewer with a hand tool. – benwiggy Mar 24 at 15:00

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