With Rosetta 2, a Mac with an Apple Silicon processor can use applications that were actually developed for a Mac with an Intel processor. In the background, Rosetta makes Intel x86 apps work on a Mac with an Apple M1 chip .
This allows you to still use all apps available for Mac on the Silicon system based on ARM architecture. Rosetta is not activated by default when using an Apple Silicon Mac, the background tool must be downloaded and installed as soon as you want to start an Intel app.
- Brief: What is Apple Silicon?
- Install Rosetta on a Mac
- How Rosetta works on a Mac
- Check which apps are using Rosetta
Brief: What is Apple Silicon?
The processor (CPU) is the basis of every Mac, thanks to this chip the Mac is able to perform tasks. Apple Silicon is a chip for the Mac, designed by the tech giant itself. Apple’s own processor for the Mac is based on the well – known ARM architecture that is also used for the iPhone and iPad. This immediately means that soon all Apple products will work with the same processor technology.
For the iPhone and iPad, Apple has been making their own processors for years, but with the Mac, they still depended on Intel. This had a lot of drawbacks because Apple had to wait for Intel to introduce new Macs. With the arrival of their own Mac chips, this is a thing of the past and that has many advantages for the consumer.
Install Rosetta on a Mac
If you own a MacBook with Apple Silicon, you will receive a notification when you open an Intel x86 application. Click on ‘Install’ and then enter your username and password to continue with the installation. In a few moments, Rosetta will be available for all apps that need it.
How Rosetta works on a Mac
If a developer has not yet updated their apps to Apple Silicon, Rosetta 2 will take over this task. In the background, the software allows you to use the program built only for Mac computers with an Intel processor. Rosetta automatically translates the app for use with Apple Silicon.
When you first open an Intel app on a Silicon Mac, you will notice that it takes a while for the application to start. That’s because macOS adjusts all kinds of settings to make the app work properly. In most cases, you won’t notice a difference in performance for an app that needs Rosetta. However, it is possible that problems arise. If you have any problems or questions, please contact the developer.
Apple encourages developers to optimize their apps for Apple Silicon as soon as possible. Via the Developer website, they can request additional information about the switch to Apple’s own processors for Mac.
New apps developed with the latest Xcode will support both Intel and Apple Silicon, these are called Universal apps. In addition, Macs with Apple Silicon can also run iOS / iPadOS apps, if the developer allows this.
Check which apps are using Rosetta
- Open ▸ About This Mac
- Navigate to the ‘Overview’ tab
- Click on ‘System overview’
- Scroll down the column to the ‘Software’ category
- Click on the ‘Apps’ menu option
If an application is labeled Intel, it means the app only supports Intel processors and requires Rosetta to run on a Mac with Apple Silicon. Does an app show the label ‘universal’? Then means the app supports both Apple Silicon and Intel processors and uses Apple Silicon by default.
In addition, you can also find out directly via Finder whether an application is universal. Click with a secondary click (right mouse button) on an app in Finder and choose ‘Get info’. Then you can read under ‘Type’ which structure is used. Is an app universal? Then you can enable the option ‘Open with Rosetta’.