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Create a savable list of 32-bit apps

Apple has announced that 32-bit apps have a limited future on the Mac: They'll be fully supported in this fall's High Sierra release; macOS' 2018 release ("Really High Sierra") will "aggressively warn" users about 32-bit apps, and I would assume, they won't work at all in the 2019 version of macOS ("That Was My Skull!").

But how do you know which apps on your Mac are 32-bit and which are 64-bit? MacObserver has an article that discusses the easy way, via the System Information app—just look in the Software > Applications section, and you'll be able to see a list of apps and a 64-bit Yes/No column. But seeing the list is all you can do—you can't easily save the list for future reference, for instance, nor can you copy/paste the info to another app.

So here's a geekier solution to generate a list of your 32-bit apps, saved into a text file for easy future reference. Open Terminal, and paste this command:

system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType | grep -B 6 -A 2 "(Intel): No" > ~/Desktop/non64bit.txt

This does the same thing as the System Information app, but it dumps the data in text form; the greater-than sign redirects the output to a text file named non64bit.txt, saved to your desktop. The grep is used to show only the 32-bit applications (the full line reads 64-Bit (Intel): No), and the -B and -A options are added to capture the lines before and after that line in the output.

This is probably not overly useful to most people, but I wanted a way to capture the list of apps, as I have over 290 32-bit apps on my machine, and it takes a while to run the System Information report each time.

11 thoughts on “Create a savable list of 32-bit apps”

  1. I wonder if Apple knows (or even cares) about all of the professionals such as the scientist in my family who cannot use the current MacOS and still do their jobs (massive data work, maths work, statistics, going back to devices running DOS, etc.). We are firmly entrenching at 10.10 and 10.11 on our current devices and even keep a bank of machines that use 10.6.8 (iirc) in case of disaster. It appears to me that the MacOS App Store is not ever going to serve these niches.

    If you have any information to counter my impression, I would love to hear it.

  2. latenightlizzie

    Very useful - thank you! It is interesting to see how many apps, including Apple's own, need to be updated in order to avoid being left behind.

  3. If you go into Activity Monitor, select Disk, then Kind, you can find out all the 32 bit apps running. You can then select all, copy, and paste into Excel.

    This only gives running apps, but it is easy.

  4. running in Terminal:
    system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType | grep -B 6 -A 2 "(Intel): No" > ~/Desktop/non64bit.txt

    resulted in:
    system_profiler[12827:25416745] Terminating '/usr/sbin/system_profiler -nospawn -xml SPApplicationsDataType -detailLevel full' because it did not respond.
    2018-04-13 20:08:02.619 system_profiler[12827:25407683] Non-zero termination status from '/usr/sbin/system_profiler -nospawn -xml SPApplicationsDataType -detailLevel full', termination status: 15

    I have 799 items in my Applications folder. Is there any way to lengthen the timeout period?

  5. answering my own question I read the man page for system_profiler then added "-timeout 0" to the command
    resulting in: system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType -timeout 0 | grep -B 6 -A 2 "(Intel): No" > ~/Desktop/non64bit.txt
    default is only 180 seconds, but "-timeout 0" means no timeout
    this solved my issue.

  6. Here's an arguably more Mac-like method for it. Remember that AppleScript doesn't like the curly quotes that you get when you copy and paste from WordPress comments, but something like PlainClip should be able to fix that.

    1. Laine: I edited the comment so that the code bit is formatted properly; the smart quotes shouldn't be an issue now.



  7. Thanks -- very nice! I made a few changes to condense down the output a bit, which others may find useful:

    1. Thanks Bill—I edited to put it in a code block, as otherwise WordPress was (not) helpfully converting the quotes to smart quotes.


  8. You know, any sane person would just keep using the version that still works with the apps you need, and not waste a bunch of time whining about it. Both my laptop and desktop are still on 10.12.6. I'm getting security updates, and everything works just fine. I have a TON of 32-bit apps, and accept that upgrading will break them. I can still use the new OS by installing to a different drive. Works great.

    What is so important that you need to upgrade to Catalina?

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