This way you can use 32-bit apps in macOS Catalina

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You probably noticed: macOS Catalina does not support old 32-bit apps. But did you know that there is a (free) detour that allows you to continue using 32-bit apps in macOS Catalina? In this article we explain step by step how you can achieve this.

32-bit apps in macOS Catalina

If you want to continue using 32 bit apps in macOS Catalina, you can do this by running macOS Mojave on your Mac in addition to macOS Catalina. Here you create an APFS volume with the old operating system (the modern and easier equivalent of a partition).

APFS is Apple’s new file system. An advantage is that you can easily divide your disk into multiple volumes. You can, therefore, install a different macOS version on such a volume. Good to know: in order to switch between Mojave and Catalina, you always have to restart your Mac.

In 11 steps we explain how you ensure that your Mac runs on macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave, so you can continue to use 32-bit apps.

1. Download macOS Mojave

We start by downloading the installation program from Mojave, which you can find in the Mac App Store. Click on the “Download” button.

2. System Preferences

System Preferences opens and asks if you really want this. Continue to answer in the affirmative, then the download starts. The file is 6 GB, so it takes a while.

3. Panic

After the download, the message appears that this copy of the macOS installation program is too old to be opened on this version of macOS. You can only click on Stop. Failed? No, “macOS Mojave Installation” is just in the Apps folder. But you can’t do anything with it!

4. Startup disk

That is why we make a startup disk with the installation of Mojave on it. You need an external drive or USB stick of at least 12 GB. You can read exactly how to do this in the article Startup disk with installation macOS Mojave. A piece of code must be copied and pasted very precisely.

5. Disk Utility

Open the Disk Utility app and select Macintosh HD in the navigation column. Click on ‘Plus’ in the button bar on the plus sign to add an APFS volume to Macintosh HD.

6. Enter a name

Call the APFS volume “macOS Mojave”. Then click on “Add”. Has the addition been completed? Click on ‘Done’. Mojave lands in the navigation bar of Disk Utility and Finder. Close Disk Utility.

7. Restart

Make sure the boot disk with the -macOS Mojave installation is connected to your Mac. Restart your Mac now and keep Option pressed. Now choose ‘Install macOS Mojave’.

8. Install macOS Mojave

Click on “Continue” to install macOS Mojave. You must now choose the disk on which this should happen: that is macOS Mojave – the APFS volume that you have just created.

9. As if it is a new Mac

You now have to register and configure your Mac as you would with a new Mac. Follow the steps on the screen – we assume the worst case scenario: you have no Time Machine backup. You will be asked for your Apple ID, among other things. And then you see Mojave!

10. 32-bit apps in macOS Catalina

Mojave is now completely empty, but via the Finder navigation column you go to the “Macintosh HD – Data” disk. This is your Catalina disc, with all your programs there. From here you can just open them, you only get a warning that the app is outdated.

11. Switch

Every time you want to switch between Mojave and Catalina, you have to restart your Mac. That’s just the way it is. During the restart you hold Option pressed: this way you can choose from which volume to start. You can also switch via “System Preferences> Startup Disk”.

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