Now it’s possible to run Intel apps on M1 Mac using Rosetta 2

January 4, 2022

Ditching Intel for custom silicon didn’t mean Apple was going to throw millions of MacBook users in a lurch or not allow them to run Intel apps on M1 Mac. The Cupertino-giant instead, figured out a way to allow the apps created for x86-64-based Intel processors to still work on MacBooks equipped with M1 chip using Rosetta 2.

Intel Apps on Mac

How to run Intel apps on M1 Mac?

Kicking out Intel from the MacBook space, Apple debuted its ARM-based M1 chip, claiming to make notebooks running macOS more powerful than its Intel-equipped counterparts. It was a good move and turned out to be a big success. However, with Intel processor architecture no more supported, users wondered - Will Apple allow to run Intel apps on M1 Mac or force a native M1 Mac app to run as an Intel app instead? Well, a translation tool called Rosetta 2 was added for this very purpose!

  1. Open an app built for an Intel-based Mac.
  2. Install Rosetta. The tool will run in the background and translate the app for use with Apple silicon.
  3. Now, to identify apps that need Rosetta or can use Rosetta use the Get Info
  4. Select the app in the Finder.
  5. Choose Get Info under the File menu.
  6. See the information labeled Kind:
  7. Application (Intel) – You’ll need to use Rosetta to run it.
  8. Application (Universal).

Can Mac M1 run Intel apps?

Yes, Rosetta 2 enables a Mac with Apple silicon to use apps built for a Mac with an Intel processor.

Get Info Icon
Get Info Icon

You can open the ‘Get Info’ widow to identify apps that need Rosetta or can use Rosetta. For this, open the Applications folder, right-click an app and select the Get Info option.

Application Kind
Application Kind

When the app window opens, see the information labeled Kind. If you see,

  • Application (Intel) – it means the app supports only Intel processors and would use Rosetta to work on any Mac with Apple silicon and avoid compatibility issues.
  • Application (Universal) – Indicates the app supports both Apple silicon and Intel processors and chooses to use Apple silicon, by default.
Run Intel Apps on M1 Mac
Run Intel Apps on M1 Mac

Check the Open using Rosetta box.

Install Rosetta
Install Rosetta

You will be requested to install Rosetta the first time you want to open an app built for an Intel-based Mac. So, If you have a MacBook with Apple silicon, hit the Install button.

Next, when prompted to enter your username and password, enter it to allow installation to proceed.


Following its installation, its architecture will be available to any other apps that need it to run. You’ll not be bothered to install it again. However, if you choose not to install Rosetta the first time, you will be prompted again the next time you open an app that requires Rosetta.

Bear in mind, Rosetta works automatically in the background whenever you try to run an app built specifically for Mac computers with an Intel processor. It translates the app for use with Apple silicon. Also, you may not realize it running as there’s hardly any difference in the performance of an app that needs Rosetta.

Is M1 chip different from Intel?

Apple claims as a system on a chip (SoC), M1 combines numerous powerful technologies into a single chip. It supports a unified memory architecture that improves both, performance, and efficiency by manifolds. Moreover, chips are more energy-efficient than the ones from Intel it relied on before, which translates to slimmer case designs and longer battery life. So yes, M1 chip is different and a bit better than Intel.

Hope that makes sense!

Source - Apple.


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Hemant Saxena
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