If you are lucky enough to be using a new M1 Mac, or considering buying one you will be wondering if the apps you need to use will work on it.
Apple has Rosetta 2 – a tool for translating code intended for Intel processors so that the M1 chip understands it. This should mean that most existing Mac apps will run on the new M1 Macs. We say most because notably you won’t be able to run Windows because right now there is not an ARM version of Windows, although there is a way to run Windows apps on an M1 Mac, more on that below.
Because of Rosetta 2 many of the apps that you are familar with will run on the M1 Mac – but there will be a 20 second wait the first time you start them up as Rosetta will translate the code so that they can run. Running via Rosetta may also cause some lag – although hopefully it won’t be noticable.
However, there are some apps that are already running natively on the M1 Macs. As you would expect Apple’s converted all its apps to run on M1, but other companies are also working on updates to their apps. We’ll run through what’s arrived so far below.
Note the M1 updates to some of these apps are in beta, others are said to be ready for the M1, but they are still reliant on Rosetta, but we’ve included them below.
Google has shipped a version of Chrome with M1 support. However, some aspects of the browser still uses Rosetta 2.
If you are on a M1 Mac you will see an option to download for a Mac with Apple Chip.
The first build that shipped apparently caused the new Macs to crash though, so a new version appeared on 18 November.
The update to Crossover – Crossover 20 – makes it possible to run Windows software on the M1 Mac. The update requires the beta of macOS 11.1 Big Sur, as this comes with numerous bug fixes for Rosetta 2 – Crossover 20 requires the Rosette technology to run on the M1 Macs.
CrossOver allows users to install Windows apps without requiring the installation of Windows itself. This is a breakthrough because the ARM-based Macs cannot run Windows (at least not until there is an ARM version of Windows).
For more about Running Windows on M1 Macs read: Will Windows run on Apple M1?
Apparently there is preliminary support for M1 in the latest beta of Firefox: Firefox 84 Beta.
There are new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and OneDrive that are compatible with Apple’s new computers with M1 processor.
However, they are still using Rosetta 2 in order to run on the new Macs, so the first time you open them there will be a lag of about 20 seconds while they start up.
Microsoft has begun development of a version of Office that will be native to the M1. You can sign up as a beta tester here.
We have an Office for Mac buying guide.
Image editing program Pixelmator Pro version 2.0 supports Apple’s new M1 processor, which means higher performance on the new models of Mac mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
The update also brings a refreshed interface that, among other things, makes it easier to find the effect you want. Users will also be able to adapt the look to their own needs.
The system requirement for Pixelmator Pro is macOS 10.14.4 or later. The price tag is £38.99 from the Mac App Store.
Adobe has released a beta version of Photoshop for Apple’s M1 Macs. It will also work on the ARM-based Surface Pro X.
Beta testers will find that a lot of tools are missing in this first beta version, so expect it to take a while before all features are available. However, Apple gave us a very impressive demo of Photoshop running on an M1 MacBook Air so we have every high hopes for the final version. Join the Photoshop beta here.
We don’t now when Adobe’s other programs will be adapted for the M1 and ARM based computers. The company did suggest that an update to Lightroom will come in the new year.
You can still use the regular version of Photoshop on an M1 Mac via Rosetta 2.
World of Warcraft
Blizzard is the first gaming company to release a title optimized for the new Mac models.
Blizzard has adapted World of Warcraft for the new M1 processor, which means that it is already possible to play the game with full performance. All users need to do is update to version 9.0.2.
Blizzard has a long tradition of optimizing its games for macOS, so hopefully it’s only a matter of time before the company’s other games are adapted for the new M1 processor.
Games that have not been optimized will hopefully work decently with the help of the emulation tool Rosetta 2. Exactly how it is with the compatibility for individual games remains to be seen.
We can probably count on the games in Apple Arcade already being optimized, so if you want games that are guaranteed to work with the new Mac models, it might be worth checking out that service.
iPhone and iPad apps
Because they use the same family of processors as the iPhone and iPad the M1 Macs will be able to run iOS and iPadOS apps – as long as the developer agrees to port them over (some apps won’t be suited to the Mac, for example a game that uses the accelerometer or where there is a suitable Mac version already). There are already a number of iOS apps available on the Mac App Store.
Read about how fast the M1 chip is.