With the most recent macOS Catalina released by Apple, developers have crossed out the combination of both 32 and 64-bit working together. Whilst such changes have made a good boost to system performance, most users remain unsettled as they are unable to run favorite 32-bit apps since the new version came out. If you attempt to open a 32-bit application on Catalina, you will face a message saying The developer of these apps needs to update it to work with this version of macOS. Contact the developers for more information. Apple has already mentioned that the change was planned out a long time ago, but some users were not ready for such a migration. Despite this, there is a lot of room for solutions to work around this hiccup and go beyond initial capabilities. All of them will be put up for discussion down below.

1. Take advantage of Virtual Machines

Virtual machines open a world of capabilities that seemed to be impossible before. Their application is widely-seen in launching Windows apps on Mac, or vice-versa. The same works for 32-bit programs that are no longer compatible with Catalina. For now, there are two major software helping to do so – Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion. For long-term usage, you will have to purchase the full version, but there is also a trial period allowing users to try out both apps for free (14-30 days). Instructions on how to use the virtual machine technology are going to be discussed right below.

Parallels Desktop:

running macos mojave virtual machine with parallels desktop

The process of setting up a virtual machine is a little tedious. The idea is to install Mojave or older versions that support the 32-bit format. This can be done with the Parallels Desktop. Download it and proceed to the steps below. Note that these steps fit users who are running Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterrey as a main operating system. Those willing to prepare the soil before migrating to Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterey from Mojave can jump over these steps to further instructions.

Download Parallels Desktop
  1. First, you have to download the file of Mojave from the official App Store.
  2. Do not execute the downloaded file, instead, open Parallels Desktop, navigate to File > New, and choose Installation Assistant.
  3. In the appeared window, click Install Windows or other OS from a DVD or image file.
  4. If Parallels did not detect Mojave installers by itself on the next screen, you should drag the installation file into the window yourself.
  5. Follow the on-screen prompts until you end up on the disk selection. Choose your hard disk (Macintosh HD) and install the OS.
  6. Once Parallels finished the installation of Mojave, set up the system as you normally do (language, etc.).
  7. Then, on the actual Catalina screen (not within a virtual machine), choose Actions in the top menu line and Install Parallels Tools.
  8. Complete the on-screen instructions and restart the virtual machine.
  9. Finally, you can simply select and drag 32-bit apps from Catalina, Big Sur or Monterrey to Mojave in the virtual machine. Most of the time, you will see the same message claiming that 32-bit is no longer compatible. Just ignore it and use the applications you want.

As mentioned, the process of virtualizing your OS on Mojave itself is almost the same. You will need to adjust some steps from above.

  1. Open Parallels Desktop, navigate to File > New, and choose Installation Assistant, as we did before.
  2. Then, under Free Systems, move to the right and choose Install macOS 10.14.6 Using the Recovery Partition. It does not matter whether your version number is different. Just choose the one you want.
  3. In the next window appeared, click install and choose the language you want (if asked).
  4. Then, in the macOS Utilities tab, choose Reinstall macOS and agree with the license prompts.
  5. After this is done, you should repeat the 5-9 steps listed above in the previous method.
  6. Once finished, you can update to Catalina and use Parallels to run 32-bit apps.

In fact, you will have somewhat 2 systems running at the same time. The main advantage of virtual machines is that they are easy to use alongside the actual system. You can use your main system as usual, but also engage the virtual system, if needed.

VMware Fusion:

running macos mojave virtual machine with vmware fusion

Alike Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion does the same function, giving Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterey a chance to run 32-bit apps. There is no significant difference between them, it is just another great alternative to the Parallels software. The setup process is more-less the same, so we will not give detailed instructions on that. Also, it is necessary to mention that these apps are available to use on other systems like Windows and Linux as well.

Download VMware Fusion


We hope 32-bit apps are no longer a problem. Virtual Machines are great tools to break the traditional capabilities of many systems. You can also use them to run Windows apps or games on macOS, which has been a great problem for many users moving to Mac. We have a separate article (ГИПЕРССЫЛКА НА СТАТЬЮ) dedicated to that on our website. Although there are other methods involving Dual boot (BootCamp) and something else, we decided it would be more relevant to shed some light on Virtual Machines. They are way easier and more convenient to use and do not require that many resources from your system. Of course, if you have your Mac equipped with powerful hardware and memory, you might consider installing another OS to choose from the start of the system, but this is a story for another topic.

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James Kramer
Hello, I'm James. My website Bugsfighter.com, a culmination of a decade's journey in the realms of computer troubleshooting, software testing, and development. My mission here is to offer you comprehensive, yet user-friendly guides across a spectrum of topics in this niche. Should you encounter any challenges with the software or the methodologies I endorse, please know that I am readily accessible for assistance. For any inquiries or further communication, feel free to reach out through the 'Contacts' page. Your journey towards seamless computing starts here