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The status of 32-bit and 64-bit macOS apps

In the Mac world, 32-bit apps have been disappearing more and more as time goes on. This year already we’ve seen significant steps toward 64-bit.

In January 2018 Apple stopped accepting 32-bit app submissions to the Mac App Store.

In February 2018, starting with macOS 10.13.4, Apple added a warning that displays the first time you launch a 32-bit app.

In June 2018 Apple stopped accepting updates to 32-bit apps in the Mac App Store. All new apps and app updates must now be 64-bit.

At WWDC 2018 Apple announced that macOS 10.14 will be the final version that support 32-bit apps. Although they did not announce a release date, based on the timing from the past few years macOS 10.14 will probably be released around the end of September 2018.

In addition, Apple also released the Xcode 10 beta at WWDC 2018. Although not widely publicized, this version of Xcode no longer supports building 32-bit macOS apps.

So this is now the situation for macOS apps:

  • All versions of macOS currently supported by Xojo can run 64-bit apps.
  • Xcode will soon only support 64-bit Mac apps.
  • Apple now requires 64-bit apps on the Mac App Store.
  • Apple does not spend time fixing bugs related to their 32-bit APIs.

Here at Xojo, there are new features we’d like to support, either directly in the framework or via Declares, but they require that we update to newer macOS SDKs and 64-bit.

Due to all these factors, Xojo will only support building 64-bit Mac apps in a future release. Before this happens we are working on some improvements, such as 64-bit incremental compilation, to continue to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Note that this does not affect the ability to build 32-bit apps for Windows and Linux, something that remains necessary as those operating systems still have 32-bit versions that are in wide, supported use today.

We recommend that all users who create Mac apps move them to 64-bit soon so that your apps remain compatible with Apple’s App Store rules (if you use that) and future macOS versions.

For those that continue to need to build 32-bit Mac apps, we will (as we have always done) keep available older versions of Xojo that you can use to build 32-bit macOS apps, accessible using the Archives section of the web site when you are logged in with your Xojo account.

Transitions often bring some headaches which are sometimes necessary for progress to continue.