Using 32-bit apps under macOS Catalina: Here's how!

With Apple's Mac operating system macOS 10.15 Catalina, only 64-bit apps can be used. Software with 32-bit architecture can no longer be used by default. However, there are one or two tricks with which the "old" apps can still be used - even if Catalina is your primary OS on the Mac. In this little guide I have summarized a few ways that you can go for it.

Use 32-bit apps under macOS 10.15 Catalina - these tricks work!

Use 32-bit apps under macOS 10.15 Catalina - these tricks will work!

Install High Sierra or Mojave on an APFS volume

With the APFS file system on the Mac, it becomes unnecessary to create a new partition to install a second version of macOS. It is sufficient to create what is known as an APFS volume. A predefined storage space does not necessarily have to be reserved for this; it grows with you, so to speak - unless you limit it manually. To create an APFS volume, you simply proceed as follows:

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  1. Opens the hard disk utility and selects an APFS volume in the hard disk list (left); for example the "Macintosh HD"
  2. Click on the “+” above the word “Volume” in the toolbar to create a new one
  3. Now assign a name and select an APFS format (encrypted or unencrypted if desired)
  4. In the size options, the "reserve size" (volume grows with you) or the "quota size" (limited storage space) can be selected
  5. Finally click on "Add" and then on "Done"
If your Mac hard drive is an APFS volume, you can create a new virtual one on it.

If your Mac hard drive is an APFS volume, you can create a new virtual one on it.

After you have created the new "virtual hard disk", start the macOS installer of your choice (High Sierra or Mojave; or Catalina, if one of the previous ones is your primary OS). Instead of the Macintosh HD or your differently named main hard drive, choose the volume created after the above steps as the installation target. To do this, you probably have to click on "Show all volumes ..." and bring it into the overview. The installation is carried out quite normally as with other Mac operating systems on the Apple computer.

Here are two blog posts and a collection of instructions as further reading:

Use older macOS via virtual machine

With the above solution, you have the advantage that you use a proprietary function and no third-party app is required. It looks different if you want to run and use both operating systems at the same time - like Windows under Parallels Desktop. For example, if you want to run Mojave in a virtual machine while using Catalina, then you need for example Parallels Desktop 15. This version of the well-known VM software not only brings Windows apps to the iPad via Sidecar, but also Mojave to the Catalina computer, so that 32-bit apps can continue to be used.

A free alternative that you have to dig into: ORACLE VirtualBox.

If possible: update the app to the 64-bit version

So if a 32-bit app on your Mac that you have updated to macOS 10.15 Catalina is no longer running, you still have the option of using it in a roundabout way. The best, most time-saving and resource-saving variant is of course to update the app to a 64-bit version. In case of doubt, you can ask the developer whether or when this is possible. So if there is no notice on its website and the program does not offer any updates via its interface, just write an email;)

Your scanner has stopped working? Here are my tips!

In addition to apps, other software will of course also be affected by the changeover; for example drivers for scanners, printers, multifunctional units, document scanners and the like. Here in the blog I have recently shown you two or three solutions for scanner devices that can be the salvation for hundreds of models for use with Catalina. They are suitable for private users, the self-employed and companies: 

Did you like the article and did the instructions on the blog help you? Then I would be happy if you the blog via a Steady Membership or at Patreon would support.


  1. Mike says:

    Hi Sir-Apfelot.
    I'm not that well versed in these subjects. Catalina is already installed and an important app no ​​longer works. There is already an update from the manufacturer. With this app, a lot of user-specific data is stored in the app itself, which should not be lost.
    When I reinstall or update the app, the question is asked whether both versions should be kept or whether they should be replaced. I'm a little cautious here. Can I start with replace without losing the specific data?
    Hope you can help me here. (Silhouette Studio) would be the SW it concerns.
    Thank you

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Mike! Of course I can't give you 100% certainty, but the apps usually save the settings and the like in a folder "Preferences" or "Application Support" in the folder "Library". These are not overwritten or deleted when you make an update. For this reason, all of your data should be preserved. But: Backup is never wrong. : D

  2. Alfred Sassenfeld says:

    Hi Jens,
    I have now, following your advice, installed Catalina parallel to Mojave on my Macintosh. Your instructions are easy to understand and worked out fine, thank you very much, I will also place my next Amazon orders via your link so that you will also receive a fee.
    Unfortunately I had to find out that some of my applications like MS Office 2019, TV program eyetv or my password program were not available in Catalina at all. All the folders on my desk are also missing, but above all the entire document folder with all my important information.
    Was one of the e-mail accounts no longer accessible because the password was missing? So I decided to continue to use Mojave when restarting.
    Kind regards

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Alfred! Thank you for your support. To your question: I've heard about the document folder from a reader, but I don't remember what the problem was. I think it was somehow related to iCloud sharing of the documents folder. You may also be able to install Catalina over it again. In some cases, this also solves one problem or another. There is a new 64-bit version at eyeTV. Have you already installed that? The old one is no longer running under Catalina. I hope you get a little further with it. LG! Jens

  3. Pitter says:

    Hi Sir Apfelot, I agree with Alfred Tassenfeld, but I am already complaining about the offer from EyeTV - successor manufacturer. With my constellation of the latest iMac with Catalina and Geniatech "eyeTV T2 hybrid DVB-T / T2 / C with EyeTV 4" I can't do anything. No EPG (program preview) end and only negative reviews everywhere. My previous Prog EyeTV 3 was flawless but not on Catalina.

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