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andeify

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 10, 2012
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When Apple Silicon was announced they said there would be a transition from Intel to Apple chips, which to me felt pretty quick. So how long before Mac OS no longer supports Intel? It feels a shame to loose it because I got into Macs through Hackintoshing back in the 10.5 days.
 
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chabig

macrumors G4
Sep 6, 2002
11,233
8,924
My guess is that Intel support will remain indefinitely, because of how good Rosetta 2 is. There is of course a cost for Apple to continue making sure macOS runs on the legacy Intel machines, but we don't know what that is. When the cost becomes too large to justify the expense, based on the population of Intel machines, they will drop support. I don't expect that to be soon, as the Apple Silicon transition isn't yet complete.
 

leman

macrumors Core
Oct 14, 2008
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Couple of years at least. After all, Intel Macs are still being sold. I’d expect macOS to ship for Intel at least two to three years after the last Intel Mac is phased out and Rosetta to stay there a while longer yet.
 
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ADGrant

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Mar 26, 2018
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I expect the the next two or three versions of MacOS will support Intel Macs but I don't rule out some of the older Intel Macs losing support (the 2017 MBP for example). I suspect the T2 Macs may be the last Intel Macs to be supported with new MacOS releases.

Every version of MacOS is supported for another two years of bug fixes and security patches so the Intel Macs still on sale could see another 5 years of support.
 

theorist9

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May 28, 2015
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I think they'll make it so that the last Intel machines will be supported for at least five years after sale. If they go only five years, the last Intel-compatible OS would be the one released two years after the last Intel machines are discontinued. If that's late 2022, that would be MacOS 15.

Whether it goes longer depends on how costly it is for them to continue Intel support. An alternate means for Apple to lengthen Intel support would be to extend the EOL on the last Intel-compatible OS by an additional year beyond the usual (four years after release instead of three).
 
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theorist9

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May 28, 2015
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I’d expect macOS to ship for Intel at least two to three years after the last Intel Mac is phased out and Rosetta to stay there a while longer yet.
I'm a bit confused by this. Are you saying Apple might continue to maintain Rosetta even after it stops maintaining the last Intel-compatible MacOS? Or are you just saying Apple could maintain Rosetta until the last Intel-compatible MacOS reaches EOL?
 

leman

macrumors Core
Oct 14, 2008
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I'm a bit confused by this. Are you saying Apple might continue to maintain Rosetta even after it stops maintaining the last Intel-compatible MacOS? Or are you just saying Apple could maintain Rosetta until the last Intel-compatible MacOS reaches EOL?

The first one.

I think what will happen is that Apple will remove the ability to built Intel targets in future versions of Xcode, but Rosetta will stay around for a while for compatibility with oder software.
 

Bodhitree

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Apr 5, 2021
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I think they'll make it so that the last Intel machines will be supported for at least five years after sale.

If you look at the transition Monterey to Ventura, where they cut the support length for the older machines from 7 years to 5 years, I think you’ll be lucky to get that much. I suspect it will be more like three years, basically that they will cut the support length again next year, and that the year after that will be the last MacOS release to support Intel machines. So my moneys on 2024 to be the last.
 

theorist9

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May 28, 2015
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If you look at the transition Monterey to Ventura, where they cut the support length for the older machines from 7 years to 5 years, I think you’ll be lucky to get that much. I suspect it will be more like three years, basically that they will cut the support length again next year, and that the year after that will be the last MacOS release to support Intel machines. So my moneys on 2024 to be the last.
Take another look at my post. You'll see when I say five years, I'm calculating to the EOL of the OS (which is currently 3 years after release for MacOS). Thus if the last Intel Mac is sold in late 2022, five years of support would mean the last Intel-compatible OS would be released in late 2024 (same as what you predicted), and it would thus be EOL in late 2027.
 
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theorist9

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May 28, 2015
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The first one.

I think what will happen is that Apple will remove the ability to built Intel targets in future versions of Xcode, but Rosetta will stay around for a while for compatibility with oder software.
Did you mean that Rosetta would continue to be provided with OS's after the last Intel-compatible OS? Because initially I thought you meant that they would continue to maintain the version of Rosetta that came with the last Intel-compatible OS even after that OS is EOL.
 
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chabig

macrumors G4
Sep 6, 2002
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I don't think there is any reason for Apple to ever take Rosetta 2 away.
If you look at the transition Monterey to Ventura, where they cut the support length for the older machines from 7 years to 5 years, I think you’ll be lucky to get that much. I suspect it will be more like three years, basically that they will cut the support length again next year, and that the year after that will be the last MacOS release to support Intel machines. So my moneys on 2024 to be the last.
There was a significant hardware change that I think is responsible for the support cutoff. Those were the first Macs with secure enclaves. I think that's why Apple latest systems aren't supporting older machines. If I am correct on that point, I don't see any reason for Apple to deprecate Rosetta 2 soon. They can keep it and let the older apps still run.
 
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theorist9

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May 28, 2015
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I don't think there is any reason for Apple to ever take Rosetta 2 away.

There was a significant hardware change that I think is responsible for the support cutoff. Those were the first Macs with secure enclaves. I think that's why Apple latest systems aren't supporting older machines. If I am correct on that point, I don't see any reason for Apple to deprecate Rosetta 2 soon. They can keep it and let the older apps still run.
By "first Macs with secure enclaves" did you mean those with T1 chips? I've seen others suggest the reason for the cutoff was because they wanted to limit it to Macs with T2 chips, but that wasn't the case across the board. The 2017-2019 iMacs and 2017+ MacBooks will run Ventura, and none of them have the T2.
 

gpat

macrumors 68000
Mar 1, 2011
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If you look at the Intel transition, in 2006 they transitioned to selling 100% Intel hardware, in August 2009 you had Snow Leopard which was the first Intel-only OS but didn't introduce any new features you were missing out by skipping it.
Then in 2011 you had Lion, which was the first heavy overhaul of the OS and you needed Intel for it.
So they dumped the PPC users after 5 years effectively.

Now things are different, Apple is a much bigger company, PPCs were a very small market niche and now there are many more Intel Macs being used around the world, they can't dump them that easily.

Even more importantly, Intel Mac Mini and Mac Pro machines are still being sold, sure they're low volume products but somebody is paying very big amounts of money for them, possibly on leasing contracts, and they expect to have support for their workflows, and to receive at least security updates for 3-4 years starting from the end of sales.

So I'd expect smaller machines (iMacs, Macbooks) to be phased out gradually, Ventura would be the last OS for 2017 machines, next one would be the last for 2018 machines, and so on, then around 2026 we'll have the first macOS for Silicon only, and optional Rosetta (like Snow Leopard was), and around 2028 Apple could drop x86 binaries support altogether. Maybe 2030 for end of security updates on the last intel OS.
 
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polyphenol

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Sep 9, 2020
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Another possibility is that, even while macOS is supported on Intel, some new features are not implemented. I'd go further and suggest it is not only possible but inevitable.
 

theorist9

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May 28, 2015
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gpat

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Mar 1, 2011
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leman

macrumors Core
Oct 14, 2008
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Did you mean that Rosetta would continue to be provided with OS's after the last Intel-compatible OS? Because initially I thought you meant that they would continue to maintain the version of Rosetta that came with the last Intel-compatible OS even after that OS is EOL.

I think it will be provided for a while even after macOS becomes Apple-Silicon only. I doubt that there is much to maintain, pending major changes to the hardware and OS kernel the current Rosetta should just work as it is.
 
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leman

macrumors Core
Oct 14, 2008
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I don't think there is any reason for Apple to ever take Rosetta 2 away.

They do want to the developers to embrace native Apple Silicon compatibility. It's a fairly delicate balancing act... folks are known to target the least common denominator. The case of 32-bit software and Windows illustrates how a software transition can be majorly messed up.

I do think that most of it can be resolved by taking away the ability to generate x86 code in the default built tool starting from a certain SDK. Devs can still use older SDKs and custom toolchains to target x86 code, but that's going to be more annoying than just fixing the outstanding issues in the code itself for most.
 

MrGunny94

macrumors 65816
Dec 3, 2016
1,033
588
Malaga, Spain
I expect the the next two or three versions of MacOS will support Intel Macs but I don't rule out some of the older Intel Macs losing support (the 2017 MBP for example). I suspect the T2 Macs may be the last Intel Macs to be supported with new MacOS releases.

Every version of MacOS is supported for another two years of bug fixes and security patches so the Intel Macs still on sale could see another 5 years of support.
I agree T2 Macs will be the last one as well.
 

Pressure

macrumors 603
May 30, 2006
5,039
1,381
Denmark
When Apple went from PPC to Intel it took 3 years from the initial release of Intel based Macs to having fully dropped support for PPC and 5 years until PPC applications could no longer be run with Rosetta.

Mac OS X 10.4.4 Tiger (2006) to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard supported PPC (2007). Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard supported PPC applications with Rosetta (2009). Mac OS X 10.7 Lion dropped support for running PPC applications under Rosetta (2011).

Apple may be less aggressive this time around but I fully expect them to drop support for Intel based Macs within the next two releases of macOS after Ventura.
 

MacNerd01

macrumors 6502
Dec 10, 2021
323
403
The Psionic Plane
If you look at the Intel transition, in 2006 they transitioned to selling 100% Intel hardware, in August 2009 you had Snow Leopard which was the first Intel-only OS but didn't introduce any new features you were missing out by skipping it.
Then in 2011 you had Lion, which was the first heavy overhaul of the OS and you needed Intel for it.
So they dumped the PPC users after 5 years effectively.

Now things are different, Apple is a much bigger company, PPCs were a very small market niche and now there are many more Intel Macs being used around the world, they can't dump them that easily.

Even more importantly, Intel Mac Mini and Mac Pro machines are still being sold, sure they're low volume products but somebody is paying very big amounts of money for them, possibly on leasing contracts, and they expect to have support for their workflows, and to receive at least security updates for 3-4 years starting from the end of sales.

So I'd expect smaller machines (iMacs, Macbooks) to be phased out gradually, Ventura would be the last OS for 2017 machines, next one would be the last for 2018 machines, and so on, then around 2026 we'll have the first macOS for Silicon only, and optional Rosetta (like Snow Leopard was), and around 2028 Apple could drop x86 binaries support altogether. Maybe 2030 for end of security updates on the last intel OS.
Do you really think that they’re going to take a full ten years to go through with this transition? The PowerPC to intel transition took a whole three. I doubt that they’re going to take that long to phase out Intel macs. I think that it’s gonna take until 2024-2025.
 
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