How to Run an M1 Mac App as an Intel App

Force App Run Intel Version M1 Mac Cover

With the release of the M1 Mac that is running on ARM architecture, software developers will have to upgrade their apps to make use of the improved speed and technology in the Apple Silicon chip. As a stopgap, Apple also shipped a “Rosetta 2” tool with M1 Mac that allows existing Intel-based software to continue running on the platform. If you are still running an Intel-based version of software, you’re probably already using Rosetta without realizing it.

What Are “Universal Apps”

The apps that have been updated for Apple’s M1 Silicon chips are currently known as “universal apps.” Developers use a “Universal binary” to update their apps to run natively on Apple silicon chips. This universal binary would allow the app to run on both Intel and M1 Mac. If an app isn’t updated for Universal 2, an M1 MacBook will run it by converting the Intel x86-64 code using Rosetta emulation software.

Force App Run Intel Version M1 Mac

On the other hand, if you’re using an M1 chip, the Apple-based silicon version will run.

How to Check Whether an App Is Intel / Silicon / Universal-Based

If you’d like to check whether an app is running on Intel-based software, Apple Silicon-based software or Universal software (the app supports both Intel and Silicon processors), you can do so from the System settings, as described below:

1. On the Apple menu from the top-left corner, select “About This Mac.”

Force App Run Intel Version M1 Mac About This Mac

2. Select “System Report.”

Force App Run Intel Version M1 Mac System Report

3. In the System Report, click on Applications under Software in the left menu pane.

4. You’ll see the entire list of apps installed on your system. You can find out which version of the app is installed on your Mac under the “Kind” column for each individual app.

Force App Run Intel Version M1 Mac System Report Kind

If you’d like to check the version of an individual app from Finder, simply right click on the app’s icon and select “Get Info.”

Here, you’ll see the app version under “General,” listed in front of “Kind.”

How to open an Apple Silicon App as an Intel App

At times when you have a Universal version of an application, you may want to run the Intel version instead of the M1 version. This may be due to the M1 version missing a feature you need or the Intel version being compatible with specific third-party plug-ins or extensions that aren’t supported by M1 yet.

In such cases, you can force an app to run the Intel version using Rosetta instead of the Apple M1 version:

1. Find and select the application in your Finder menu. Most applications are found in the Applications folder (accessible through Finder in “Go -> Applications”).

Force App Run Intel Version M1 Mac Applications

2. Right-click on the app and select “Get Info.” Alternatively, select the app and press Command-I on your keyboard. This will open an Info window with details about the app.

Force App Run Intel Version M1 Mac Get Info

3. In this window, check the box labelled “Open using Rosetta.”

Force App Run Intel Version M1 Mac Rosetta

4. Close the Info window. If the app is already running, quit and relaunch.

That’s it! Now whenever you’ll launch the app, your Mac will run the Intel version of the software through the Rosetta emulation software. If you wish to return to the M1 version later, simply repeat the steps and untick the box.

Reports have also been coming in that third-party iOS apps are crashing on the new M1 Macbooks. Has it been happening to you too?

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Shujaa Imran Shujaa Imran

Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier's resident Mac tutorial writer. He's currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube

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