How to Set up Your Catalina Mac to Run 32-bit apps

In a recent blog post, my colleague Kayla Myrhow did an excellent job explaining the 32-bit application issue for users who are considering or have already moved to macOS® Catalina. In this post, I’ll show you how to set up your Mac® to continue to run 32-bit apps. You can do this either before or after you upgrade to macOS Catalina.

There are only two steps, but it does take about 45 minutes to complete this setup:

  1. Create a Parallels Desktop® for Mac virtual machine and install an older Mac operating system in it.
  2. Install the 32-bit apps you want into this new virtual machine.

I made a video of this entire process—I edited out the boring parts but left all the essential steps. The end result is the 5-minute video below. For this video, I chose macOS High Sierra as the older Mac OS, but you could install Mojave, Sierra or almost any older Mac OS. I also chose the Office for Mac 2011 suite as the 32-bit application, because several users have told me that it contains the set of 32-bit apps that they most want to run in Catalina.

After you finish this setup, you will be able to run 32-bit apps on your Mac running macOS Catalina.

Try Parallels Desktop for free for 14 days and run 32-bit apps on your Mac.

Let us know in the comments which 32-bit apps you need to run on macOS Catalina and how this is working out for you.

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