Targeting MacOSX 10.7 and up: no 32-bit build required?

So I decided to drop 10.6 support and only target 10.7 and up.

I realize 32-bit plugin versions may be needed to support 10.6, but if that’s not needed, does it make sense to also build 32-bit versions?

I did find that some hosts have both 32-bit and 64-bit builds (Live, Bidule, …), so I was wondering: is this only for 10.6 support? Or are there actually lots of people running hosts in 32-bit mode on 10.7?

What do you do / advise?

Apple just started warning users (not developers, but their actual users!) whenever they start using a 32-bit app for the first time, about the discontinuation of 32-bit apps in the foreseeable future.

Ableton just released Live 10, which is 64-bit only.
Steinbergs Cubase/Nuendo is 64-bit only.
Logic X Pro is 64-bit only.

Unless you really really care about a small percentage of potential customers, who are perpetually stuck in the past (for one reason or another) there is absolutely no reason to build or release 32-bit builds at all.

If it’s easy for you to do and support, go ahead. But as soon as you hit problems (usually running out of memory) I wouldn’t bother anymore.


XCode 9.3 now gives warnings for projects that include 32-bit architectures.
I’ve posted about this on the XCode forum (,
asking for an option to disable it … feel free to chime in if you feel 32-bit support is still important to you.

I’ve tried finding stats about 32 vs 64 bit install base to find out wether we could drop 32-bit support without impacting users, and I found those (although game oriented)

So it seems the 32-bit OS proportion is very low, but I’m also aware that quite a few users hold on to ancient plug-in’s that were never updated to 64-bit, and who still use 32-bit versions of a DAW for this reason.

If your users don’t update their OS and other plugins, why would they then want to update yours? Don’t let yourself be held back by a few people stuck in 2011.

Yes, I know, but I get the impression there’s quite a few people, especially in the audio world, who dread ‘breaking’ things by updating anything from the OS to GPU drivers.

Some of those fears are irrational, as new (tested) stuff usually comes with bug-fixes and performance improvements.
OTOH, if your business crucially depends on something that’s been working fine for years, the ‘If it ain’t broken don’t fix it’ strategy seems quite reasonable and sane.

I even heard once that some air traffic control systems are still using tubes :crazy_face:

Again: if these irrational people refuse to update their OS, drivers and software, then why would they suddenly want to update your software? Wouldn’t they run the risk of breaking things?

You’re talking about a tiny tiny minority here. Literally hundreds of people world-wide, compared to a user-base of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people who update their systems, because it’s easy and usually free.

Even discussing this as long as we did, is already wasting time :wink:

Even discussing this as long as we did, is already wasting time :wink:

Yes, you’re right. And thanks for the informed opinions you gave.

Thanks for the feedback. Valid points mentioned…

It’s not a memory issue in my case, more the hassle of maintaining and testing an extra 32-bit build + a few extra things regarding my copy-protection system I then need to handle in a different way (universal binary, checksums, … all less complicated when dealing with a single binary that is 64-bit only).

I think I’ll release 64-bit only and see how many requests I get for 32-bit.

Did you get many requests?

I’ve never received a request for 32-bit Mac versions.

I saw all sort of requests :slight_smile: if you release a plug-in which isn’t RTAS suddenly someone asks if there’s RTAS, you release 10.7+, suddenly someone emails regarding 10.6 :slight_smile:

@KoenT - an incentive for 64-bit only is that starting with Xcode 10 and 10.14 SDK, 32-bit would but harder to build.

I haven’t tested Xcode 10 yet, to see if it is just the SDK or if Xcode 9 can be installed on Mojave. but Apple’s intention is to break 32-bit build capabilities.

Well, no, I haven’t received any request for 32-bit Mac versions (yet)! And I’m intending to keep it that way :slight_smile:
I am keeping the last release which did have 32-bit Mac versions available for paying users though, but I clearly state that that version is now unsupported.

I have one friend, a musician, who uses a Core2Duo 32-bit MacBook Pro and is apparently stuck with 10.6.8 and 32-bit apps until he gets a new machine. He’s not been able to test any of the (Mac) software I’ve made in the last 2-3 years because of that. I realise however that he represents a tiny percentage of users.

I’m only supporting 10.7+, but as the OP, I’m wondering if they are lots of people running hosts in 32-bit mode on 10.7+

There was a KVR about host/plugin architecture recently: