Got a 32-bit app in Catalina? You don’t have to delete it

They won’t work, but you can choose to leave them in place.

macos applications folder icon

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Catalina marked the end of 32-bit apps for macOS, something Apple had provided over a decade of transition help with and two years of warnings about for consumers. Nonetheless, people with older apps they hadn’t launched in a long while were still taken by surprise, judging by email from readers and forum posts.

Macworld offers a guide on how to find outdated apps to figure out what to get (if anything) to replace them, both before you update to Catalina and afterwards.

However, if you no longer need an app that can’t launch in Catalina, you’re not obliged to get rid of it. Apps, launch agents, daemons, helpers, and other components no longer work, but they won’t do harm. And it might be a mistake to delete apps that only have modules that aren’t yet 64-bit compatible.

As we note in the guide, you can use the free donationware app Go64 to identify outdated programs. It will also let you select and delete apps that can be thrown in the trash without a problem. The Trash icon is grayed out for apps that are nested deeply within other folders or only have some 32-bit code.

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Go64 lets you select and delete 32-bit apps.

For instance, GraphicConverter 10, which is perfectly usable, contains one image-conversion route (PCDtoRAW) that isn’t compiled as 64-bit code. There’s no reason to throw it out! (Version 11 of GraphicConverter has updated or removed this lingering fragment of old code.)

If you need the storage space or prefer the cleanliness of only retaining apps that work, delete your 32-bit apps. But don’t feel compelled to.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Robert.

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