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Before you update to Catalina, find out whether you're using any bit apps that you can't do without. Your Mac will take a while to gather information about your apps and then displays a list of all the apps on your machine.

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Find the column headed "bit Intel " and click on the column heading. All your bit apps will show a Yes in this column. All the bit apps will show a No.

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You may be surprised by how many bit apps you have. Study this list, and if you find bit apps that you need, you'll have to find a bit update or replacement—or you can implement the workarounds below.

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The bit apps you find on your machine are typically of two kinds: older Mac apps that have been abandoned by their developers or that developers are slow to update and apps based on the Wine software project that lets Macs and Linux computers run Windows software. Wine stands for "Wine Is Not an Emulator," but, effectively, it emulates Windows features so that Macs and Linux boxes can run some, but not all, Windows applications. If you need to run a bit app, Apple unofficially recommends either that you keep an old Mac on hand that runs a pre-Catalina version of the OS or that you partition your current Mac so that it can start up with an older macOS version as well as Catalina.

Both methods work, but both seem to me inconvenient and time consuming. There are, however, better alternatives. The easiest method is this but keep in mind that it costs money : Buy a copy of Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion if you don't already own one. These prorgrams are designed mostly for running Windows on a Mac, but you can also use them to create a virtual machine that runs macOS in a window on your Mac desktop. Parallels is easiest to use, but VMware Fusion isn't far behind. The steps are different depending on whether you're still running macOS Mojave or have already upgraded to Catalina.

Let's start with the steps to take if you're still running Mojave. Each step corresponds to a screen in the slideshow. From the File menu, choose New… to open the Installation Assistant panel. It may show a different version number on your system. If you've upgraded to Mojave from an earlier OS version, you may see options to install that earlier version. Choose whichever version you feel most comfortable with.

The next page in the Assistant is headed macOS Click the Install button. Parallels launches the macOS installer and creates a new virtual machine. When it's done, you see a screen asking you which language to use to interact with your virtual Mac. Choose your preferred language and continue. The macOS Recovery Environment now opens in the virtual machine. This is the screen that every Mac displays when you hold down Cmd-R at startup. The next screen will offer to install macOS Mojave.

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  6. Click Continue. On the license agreement screen, click Accept, and then click the Accept button in the pop-up menu. Exit System Preferences by clicking the red button in the upper left of the window. You should now be able to install applications downloaded from the internet. While holding down the control key on your keyboard, click the application's icon once to make a dropdown menu appear.

    Click Open in that window to launch the application. You should only need to do this once per application, on the first launch.

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    Applications from other locations will have a hard time and will not install after downloading. There is something called Gatekeeper that makes sure of this. The good news is that with some knowledge which we will share in a few you can bypass this gatekeeper and install all the apps you want on your Mac. Gatekeeper is just like the name suggests. It is a security app made by Apple to guard what applications get in and which ones are kept out.

    In the Apple App Store are applications that Apple has reviewed and only those that are safe for use are included. This means that apps not in the Apple Store may or may not have reached this threshold. What if you trust an application developer but it is not in the App Store? Gatekeeper will still not let you install it — by default! You can change the settings and you will be able to do the installation in minutes.

    Other than apps downloaded from the App Store, Gatekeeper also allows users to install apps from what they call identified developers. These are developers whose apps are not in the apps store but they make secure apps that have been tested and proven by Apple. What if the application you want to install is not from identified developers and not in the App Store? All hope is not lost! Since Gatekeeper is the problem, removing it will allow you to install apps from other sources without any trouble. Removing Gatekeeper totally is not easy but it can be disabled temporarily or permanently.

    We will start with the temporary disabling of the Gatekeeper. Press the Enter key on the keyboard.

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    You will be prompted to enter the administrator password. Do this and press Enter on the keyboard. Select this and click on the padlock icon to save the changes. What changing the command in Terminal does is that it adds the third option to Gatekeeper. Therefore, in macOS Mojave, the option of installing apps from anywhere is not missing; it is just hidden. With just a few clicks you can find it and make use of it. Remember that using this method may risk your security. Only install applications from developers you trust. When sharing the Mac with other people hide the allow apps from anywhere option.