If you’ve felt like the last few macOS releases have been a little light, High Sierra won’t change your mind.

That’s not because there’s nothing here but because most of Apple’s development work this time around went into under-the-hood additions and updates to foundational technologies. Changing filesystems, adding external graphics support, adding support for new image compression formats, and updating the graphics API to support VR are all important, and none of them are small tasks. But the UI doesn’t change, apps get only minor updates (when they get them at all), and multiple features continue to be more limited than their iOS counterparts. Updates like Mountain Lion and El Capitan have drawn comparisons to Snow Leopard for focusing on refinement rather than features, but High Sierra is the closest thing we’ve gotten to a “no new features” update in years. High Sierra is so similar to Sierra in so many ways that it’s honestly pretty hard to tell them apart.

An important difference is a move from 32Bit to 64bit, and in the process, the dropping of support for older 32bit applications.

The beginning of the end

High Sierra will, in Apple’s own words, be the last macOS release that can support 32-bit macOS apps “without compromise.” And for apps distributed through the Mac App Store, there are two new dates to add to the timeline:

  • January 2018: All new apps submitted to the Mac App Store need to be 64-bit only.
  • June 2018: All new apps and updates to existing apps submitted to the Mac App Store need to be 64-bit only.

Apple hasn’t clarified what “without compromise” means, and presumably, 32-bit apps from outside the Mac App Store will continue to run for at least the next year or two but sooner rather than later, Apple is going to strip all the 32-bit libraries, apps, and codes out of macOS, just like it already did in iOS 11 this year.

 

What does this mean for you?

Developers have had some time, so many mainstream apps are already 64-bit. However Apps that have not updated yet include:

Office for Mac 2011 and earlier, Photoshop cs5, Silverlight, Parallells, Dropbox, Adobe’s apps,  Audacity audio editing app and the list goes on

I’m sure there are lots of niche apps, particularly in businesses and schools, that are still 32-bit, either because they’re not maintained or because upgrading to a newer 64-bit version would cost money that these places don’t have.

Our recommendation

Generally speaking, you want to be upgrading your system, however, if you have a list of apps that you are not sure of and that you extensively use then consider not backing up at all until these applications release an upgraded version. If you do proceed, backup before you upgrade and test everything after the upgrade to see how it has affected your system (before running your next backup, which may cause problems to prior backups).

Any questions please give us a call on 250-890-1065 or drop into either store!