Is Apple about to drop QuickTime, DVD and iWork support, and Compressor?

Apple has started the process of naming and shaming those apps which still don’t run in 64-bit mode, in readiness for macOS 10.14 later this year. In doing so, it appears to have revealed some of its own intentions over macOS and its own apps, including the future of QuickTime and DVD support.

Follow Apple’s advice on how to check whether your Mac’s apps are still 32-bit, and you’ll only see the tip of the iceberg. As Apple makes clear in its documentation for High Sierra’s new (experts only) 64-bit testing mode:
“The 64-bit testing mode prevents 32-bit processes from launching. Launching an app that depends on 32-bit software results in a notification that the application can’t be opened. Other types of software may fail silently, such as 32-bit versions of Dashboard and WebKit plugins, preference panes, and background processes.”

My own tool 32-bitCheck, available from Downloads above, goes deeper than Apple’s app check, and checks all software bundles. In doing so, it reveals that many of the components included in High Sierra 10.13.4 are still not 64-bit. This could, of course, simply be that Apple hasn’t got round to updating its own products yet. But remaining 32-bit bundles form quite a distinctive pattern, or some extraordinary coincidence.

So, which Apple software in 10.13.4 is likely to “fail silently” when in this new 64-bit testing mode?

Quite a few items in /System/Library, including:

  • QuickTime – 13 components are still 32-bit, as are QuickTime-related items in /System/Library/Extensions and /System/Library/Components,
  • PrivateFrameworks – 7 of Apple’s private frameworks are still 32-bit, including DVD,
  • Frameworks – 7 public frameworks are still 32-bit, including QuickTime, Carbon (inevitably), and Scripting,
  • Input Methods/

The pattern in /Library is similar:

  • Application Support/Final Cut Pro System Support/Plugins/AppleMXFExportFCP.bundle,
  • Spotlight/Microsoft Office.mdimporter,
  • QuickTime – 9 components.

In Applications, there are some significant additions:

  • DVD Player,
  • Numbers’ iWork converters,
  • iMovie’s Compressor Plugin and 7 components,
  • Keynote’s iWork support tools,
  • Pages’ iWork import and support tools,
  • Compressor – the app itself, 7 components, 5 frameworks, Droplet and its helper.

It’s worth recalling that Apple dropped support for QuickTime for Windows two years ago.

Apple is most unlikely to convert existing 32-bit software to 64-bit only to drop it in 10.14. While some of the affected products may yet live into macOS 10.14, Apple’s move to 64-bit has most probably revealed its intention to drop QuickTime, iWork compatibility support, DVD Player and replay of DVD-video disks, and Compressor. It also puts a question mark over the future of scripting, and Ink as an input method.

Apple may of course have decided to continue to support QuickTime in the 32-bit compatibility mode which is likely to be offered in 10.14, albeit running with a “penalty”.

We should learn more in early June, at WWDC.