mac OS Catalina & App Compatibility

Catalina brought some big changes, with some causing a lot of problems.

mac OS 10.15 Catalina certainly wasn’t a smooth launch by any means. It was probably the most glitchy OS release from Apple in quite a few years. Every version has a few issues sure but many users found plenty of issues with Catalina specifically they had never had before. Now quite a few of them were ironed out over time and it did become a lot more stable.

However one big change to the infrastructure of Catalina caused a lot of problems for many end users that were not aware of it in advance and once they had updated, it was messy to go back from there. Specifically, we’re talking about the full drop in support for 32-bit applications from 10.15 onwards.

What difference does this make & what can you do?

32-bit is simply the architecture of the application and more importantly 32-bit applications cannot utilise over 4GB of RAM. With 4GB RAM being abandoned as standard quite a few years ago, it’s important that more resources are properly used, especially for intensive applications such as editing software or graphical work.

64-bit has been the industry standard for many years, even from the launch of Catalina. 32-bit was already long being abandoned by quite a few large companies but there where still many older applications that used it and 32-bit versions of applications that have since gone 64-bit that would need updating to function.

The crucial difference here though is that if you have yet to upgrade to 10.15 or if you are looking to upgrade to a new machine or refurb that has 10.15 or later then we highly recommend checking your app compatibility first. Most of the transfer should be fine, but there are over 230 mainstream apps that lost support with the change and these will no longer work at all on Catalina. At least until their developers update them to 64-bit and a fair few older apps never were.

An example of the warning you may receive upon trying to use a 32-bit application.

Upon updating, Catalina should show you what apps are incompatible but it’s worth checking your data before doing so. If an app becomes completely unusable your work may be compromised. At the least we recommend a backup of any important work before updating to Catalina. Hopefully most of your apps will already be 64-bit or have updates to become so.

However we are aware many people still use old software that was never updated because they just don’t find the alternatives as good and in those cases you may have to permanently move on from that software if you update. In this case, this could be a big change so it’s worth looking into alternative software sooner rather than later.


So there you have it. While a relatively brief post compared to our past ones, we think this is still a really important detail that users out there should be aware of.

In the initial launch of Catalina this definitely caused quite a stir with a lot of people suddenly unable to access work or forced to find alternatives quickly. This has certainly settled down in the last three years and most applications had already made the switch but many out there had to get updates out.

One benefit to coming into Catalina and later today rather than back at release is any developers who had not updated their software to 64-bit have had a few years now to do so. As a result whereas you may have been more caught out back then without options, hopefully things are not quite so bleak today with companies all caught up.

As always if you are looking into upgrading and have any concerns regarding your software, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can help get you all set up. To clarify, this does apply to anything after 10.15 going forward also, so if you were using an old reliable machine that ran say 10.11 or 10.13 and upgrade to a newer machine, you’ll always need to consider this change.

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Gold or Rose Gold

This article is to clear up confusion over the colours of the 2017 Retina MacBook 12″, specifically the types of gold. When the range launched in June 2016 it featured the same Silver, Space Grey, Gold and Rose Gold colour options as the previous 2016 range.

In October 2018, Apple quietly changed the lineup. They dropped the Rose Gold option completely but confusingly changed the colour of the Gold model making it much redder and effectively producing a model half way between the original yellow Gold and the very pink Rose Gold. What they did not do is change what they called this warmer colour so it is still referred to as Gold. For clarity, we refer to this new colour as Gold v2 or Warm Gold.

This has led to these Warm Gold models being mis-identified as Rose Gold. It means when sourcing replacement casing parts, it is common to order the wrong colour part. Even if you know the MacBook is a Gold model, how do you tell if it is the v1 or v2 colour. All three are very different!

As you would expect, Apple has different service part numbers for the v1 and v2 Gold casing parts (display, top case & bottom case) with the exception of the bottom casing screws which it did not revise, and the audio board which always used the same part for the Gold and Rose Gold.

So how do you confirm which colour you have if you are unsure? When all three are next to each other it’s obvious but on their own it can be difficult to tell. One way is to enter your serial number into the Apple serial decoder on our Apple parts store. This may be able to confirm the colour but it may not in some cases. If you are really unsure and plan to purchase a case component, contact us first with your serial number and we can confirm it for you.

For reference, here are the Apple service part numbers for the case parts

Rose GoldGold v1Gold v2
Top Case661-06796661-06795661-09984
Bottom Case661-06792661-06791661-09982
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Fixing Apple Install USB Sticks

As a general user, you may not have a need for creating an install USB stick, or you may not even know it was possible!

If you have a USB install stick and you’ve gone to use it recently, you would have been met with the following message:Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 16.19.27

Our first thought was ‘this install stick has worked on hundreds of other machines with no problem’. But naturally, we moved onto another install stick assuming it was corrupted. Being that we get through large numbers of machines on a weekly basis, its no surprise that we have hundreds of install sticks in active deployment around the work zone, but all OS installers from 10.10 up to 10.15 all came up with the same error, regardless of how recently it was created.

To save you a lot of research, and some head scratching, here is a description of what is happening, and how to fix it.

The install package of the downloaded file has a certificate that is dated for 24th October 2019, regardless of the date it was downloaded from the App Store. We have installers that were only downloaded a week before this date, and they expired the same time as our oldest install sticks.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 16.31.58

Coincidentally, this isn’t the first time this issue has occurred, as it happened once before back in 2015. Licensing on Apple’s install downloads are not dated from the date they are downloaded, but rather all downloads are strapped with the same expiry date from the time the installer was put together.
So, re-formatting your install stick with the same installer you downloaded from Apple’s App Store (whether it be last week or 3 years ago) will not work unfortunately.

The only fix we’ve found for this issue is to delete the old install file, then re-download the file again from Apple’s system. They have updated the certificates within the installer with a new expiry date of 14th April 2029.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 16.32.41

Installers that don’t require a certificate are:

  • 10.7 Lion
  • 10.8 Mountain Lion
  • 10.9 Mavericks

Installers that require a certificate are:

  • 10.10 Yosemite
  • 10.11 El Capitan
  • 10.12 Sierra
  • 10.13 High Sierra
  • 10.14 Mojave
  • 10.15 Catalina


image labels:
Blue – No certificate required.
Red – Certificate required, but terminal command needed.
Green – Certificate required, but updated download file available.

Frustratingly, in true Apple form, they have only updated the licensing on the last 3 installer files, 10.13, 10.14 and 10.15. This means that, at the time of writing this post, there is currently no way of re-downloading and updating your install sticks for 10.10, 10.11 and 10.12 to work without throwing up this error. But we have found a work around.

The reason these OS versions throw up that error is because the date and time from the SMC show a date after the certificate expiration date. The easiest way of fixing this issue is to backdate your machines date and time to any date before 24th October 2019.

We do this through a terminal command, which can be done from the install stick itself, so doesn’t require a fully booting operating system to do.


1 – disable wifi on the installer (it will automatically update the date and time to the current date if wifi is enabled)


Open Terminal from the install stick

Type in the following command exactly as it is written:

  1. date 102012302019
  2. Hit return

Then simply quit terminal and run the installer like normal.

This reset is simply a date string written in digit form, in the following order. So any numbers will do, as long as they are before the certificate expiration date.

MM (month) DD (day) HH (hour) mm (minute) YYYY (year). We picked 20th October 2019, 12:30pm as an example.

Once the install is completed, you can set your clock back to normal, as it is only the installer files certificate that has expired, not the operating system itself.

Here are some links to the latest download files if you don’t have them currently. (earlier OS versions are only available if you previously download them against your iCloud account when they were first released)

They will not always remain active, but they can be found through Apple’s website and App Store:

Direct links

Apple support pages:

If you would like to have a backup install stick to hand in case of an emergency, we have them all available on our website: Purchase Install Stick

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