Intel-based Macs: Rosetta compatibility index

Intel-based Macs: Rosetta compatibility index

CNET staff
10 min read

We've compiled a list of current compatibility status for a number of PowerPC-coded applications running under Rosetta on Intel-based Macs. For a full list of Universal applications, visit VersionTracker's index.

If you are experiencing problems with a PowerPC-based application in Rosetta, please let us know.

America Online

The Mac OS X, PowerPC-coded America Online client does not work properly under Rosetta on Intel-based Macs.

MacFixIt reader Bill Gershon writes:

"I called AOL Mac Tech Support and was told 'they are working on it' but they didn't know when they would have a fix. I asked if it would work with a broadband connection and was told that it would not function properly."

Apache 2 builds

Apache 2 builds from third-parties may have issues running under Rosetta. One reader writes:

"Since installing my new 20 inch iMac, I have not been able to run a local webserver using Apache 2. These are builds from Serverlogistics.com who produce great builds for the Mac."


When Aperture is installed on an Intel-based Mac, it provides the following error:

"Your computer does not meet the minimum hardware requirements for Aperture"

Apple pro applications Although Apple said many of its pro applications would not function properly with Intel-based Macs.

Soundtrack - compatible

Live Type - compatible

Apple Remote Desktop -- compatible (with workaround)

Apple Remote Desktop Administrator version 2.2 is not compatible with Rosetta by default.

One reader writes:

"After installing it on an Intel iMac and starting it, you get an error message suggesting that an update is required and to use Software update. However, no update for ARD Admin is available as yet. The program quits. The Intel iMac comes with ARD client version 2.2.1 which is accessible from ARD Admin version 2.2 from a PowerPC Mac."

There is a workaround, however, which involves deleting files via the following Terminal commands (press return after each)

  • sudo rm -rf /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras/RemoteDesktop.menu
  • sudo rm -rf /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/
  • sudo rm -rf /System/Library/PreferencePanes/ARDPref.prefPane
  • sudo rm -rf /System/Library/StartupItems/RemoteDesktopAgent/
  • sudo rm /Library/Preferences/com.apple.ARDAgent.plist
  • sudo rm /Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteManagement.plist

You can then launch Remote Desktop, which will replace these files and should allow normal operation.

AppleWorks 6.29 - compatible

Aqua Data Studio - compatible

Autodesk Cleaner --compatible

One reader writes:

"Autodesk Cleaner works fine. The Sorenson 3 Pro codec installed without problems and was recognized by Cleaner. I ran a little rendertest to compare with my Dual 2Gig G5 at home. It took 3:27 min. to render a 10 second Clip into Sorenson 3 on the Intel iMac. The exact same clip took 1:00 min. on my G5. After all, this is rather impressing considering the overhead Rosetta takes. But it is by far to long to be usable on a daily basis."

Cisco VPN client -- compatible

Though the PowerPC-coded version of the Cisco VPN client was non-functional on Intel-based Macs, a Universal Binary edition has now been released.

MacFixIt reader Daniel Pratt writes:

"The latest Cisco VPN Client works with the iMac Core Duo."

Change Desktop -- incompatible

The utility does not work properly on Intel-based Macs. The actual application works fine however the 'server' component that actually changes the desktop pictures does not function correctly.

ClamXav -- compatible with workaround

A MacFixIt reader reports a kludgy method for getting the anti-virus software ClamXav to run on Intel-based Macs:

"Hello, I have gotten the PowerPC version of ClamXav working with very little issue and works perfect from my test. To get it running, launch it normal and let it bounce for 10 seconds. After that, force quit it and on the program, right click or hold Ctrl and left click and then click show package contents. After that, go to contents and then resources and run 'clamavEngineInstaller.pkg'. After that, run as usual."

Contextual menus - incompatible

Third-party contextual Menus don't to work on Intel-based Macs.

MacFixIt reader Jean-François Martineau writes:

"All my 'old' Contextual Menus are out of commission. But QuickAccess is now in a Universal Binary version (1.7), which works."

Disk Utilities - most are incompatible

Several popular disk utilities, including:

  • DiskWarrior
  • TechTool Pro 4
  • SuperDuper
  • Drive Genius

do not function properly with Intel-based Macs.

Dymo LableWriter software -- incompatible

Some Dymo devices, while recognized by Intel-based Macs, are not functional on these systems because they are unable to access the PowerPC-coded driver.

One reader writes:

"My Dymo labeling software and LabelWriter 400 Turbo became non-functional after migrating to my new MacBook Pro, repeatedly stating that the driver could not be found.

"Dymo Australia has informed me that Dymo is not supporting Intel Macs, and has no immediate plans to do so. There is apparently no workaround."

File Maker Pro 7 - compatible

FileMaker Pro 8 -- compatible

FileMaker Pro Advanced 8 -- compatible

FileMaker Server -- incompatible

FileMaker Server Advanced -- incompatible

FileMaker Mobile 8 -- incompatible

FileMaker Inc. (a subsidiary of Apple) has now posted the following information on its Web site regarding Rosetta compatibility:

"FileMaker Pro 8 and FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced run, and are supported, on Apple computers with Intel processors, thanks to Rosetta. We are working on Universal versions of FileMaker software which will run natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Mac computers."

Firefox - compatible

Flip4Mac -- incompatible

The set of Windows Media components for QuickTime does not function properly under Rosetta.

Flash content - Does Not Work in Safari but does work in Firefox

Safari is unable to display some Flash content on Web pages because of an outdated Flash plug-in from Macromedia when run in Intel-native mode. In order to make Flash work with Safari, you need to force the application to run in Rosetta, as described in this MacFixIt article.

Games -- most compatible, but slow

A few readers have reported that the Sims 2 outputs no sound when run under Rosetta.

Other games' status are as follows:

  • Doom 3 - compatible in 640X480 and 800X600; slightly jerky
  • Homeworld 2 - compatible
  • Nanosaur 2 - compatible
  • Warcraft III Reign of Chaos - compatible
  • Warcraft III - Frozen Throne - compatible
  • >Splinter Cell -- compatible
  • Call of Duty -- compatible with issues; There are at least three maps that cannot be completed (and must be skipped over) in the Deluxe Edition of the game
  • One reader writes:

    "Everything seems fine. Ran Splinter Cell in max resolution and looked good. Tried with a Gravis Xterminator and did not work. It does show up when I profile the system but before it would act like a mouse and now it did not."

GoLive (Adobe) -- compatible, but slow

Adobe's GoLive works under Rosetta, but exhibits inordinately slow upload speeds through the built-in transfer utility.

MacFixIt reader David writes:

"The new iMac with Intel Core Duo processors does not like Adobe GoLive. The program runs fine until you try to upload a file. Uploading a dozen 15k files can easily take 20 minutes with a cable modem. This is much slower than it would be with an old 28.8 dial-up modem."

Another reader reports a fix for the issue -- turning off the "Use Standard Framework option" -- as follows:

  1. From the site window choose Site > Publish Server > Settings.
  2. In the Publish Server Site Settings dialog box, select the server that for your current site.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Deselect Use Standard Framework.
  5. Click OK.

Groupwise Client -- incompatible

MacFixIt reader Michael Conners reports that the Groupwise cross-platform client -- a Java application -- does not run properly under Rosetta.

InDesign (Adobe) -- compatible with display bug

There seems to be a bug in InDesign running under Rosetta that causes all displayed measurement values to be displayed with extra decimal places.

For example if you add a text box and enter a width value of 3.5mm, InDesign changes it to 3.5005005005005003mm

iTerm -- compatible with caveat

This Terminal replacement application works well under Rosetta but the control key does not work.

MacFixIt reader Bryn writes:

"I've tried iTerm 0.81 on a 20" iMac - the app almost works properly but the ctrl key is broken.  This is unfortunately a big deal for a terminal app.  And yes I've made sure it's not a bad keyboard."

Java applications - JNIL incompatible

One of the largest segments of applications that will fail to run under Rosetta on Intel-based Macs are those that are Java-based.

While pure Java applications require no code changes to run on Intel-based Macs, those with JNI Libraries (built for PowerPC-based Macs) are not loaded under Rosetta because the Java Virtual Machine has already launched without Rosetta. Hence, Java applications fail on Intel-based Macs when trying to load PowerPC-only binaries.

Unfortunately, many popular applications include JNI libraries.

Included among these are various applications like the Encyclopedia Britannica, which gives an error on launch.

Kensington Mouseworks -- incompatible

The application does not launch and the PreferencePane doesn't work. The effect on mice supported by this software is that only the 'normal' left and right buttons work, the other user configurable buttons have no effect.

Kernel extensions (PowerPC) - incompatible

PowerPC Kernel extensions are not supported on the Intel version of Mac OS X, and applications that rely on such extensions will either not run or exhibit significant issues.

LiveStage Pro -- incompatible

This application causes a kernel panic when launched on Intel-based Macs.

Paul Suszynski writes:

"Tottallyhip.com has told me they are working on a temp fix and have long range plans to release the program in Universal binary."

Macintosh Manager -- incompatible

MacFixIt reader Mike Ma reports issues with the Macintosh Manager software running under Rosetta:

"Just to let you guys know, I can't seem to get the Macintosh Manager Administration software to run on my new MBP. You get a dialog asking you to specify the server, then a dialog asking you to log in, and then it just sits there using almost all the CPU time on one of the cores."

Macromedia Studio apps -- compatible

One reader reports:

"A bit sluggish but no way something to prevent working with them."

Flash 8 Pro - compatible

Dreamweaver 8 - compatible

Fireworks 8 - compatible

MactheRipper - compatible

Marine Aquarium -- incompatible

The developer is working on an updated version.

MaxMenus 1.4 -- compatible with caveat

The application works, but the actual Prefernce Pane refuses to open.

Microsoft Office 2004 - compatible

As noted in-house, Microsoft's Office 2004 applications often hang on quit under Rosetta.

MacFixIt reader Rob White writes:

"I have had numerous instances lately when either Entourage or Word will hang on quit, requiring me to force quit the app. It will hang as long as 5 minutes (the limits of my patience!) before I am forced to do that. Other apps will run okay; I just can't get these two to die peacefully."

Also, two-finger scrolling with the MacBook Pro trackpad doesn't work correctly in Word 2004 when running under Rosetta. Users have noticed that they can scroll up from the bottom of a document, but can't scroll down from the top.

Note that the same issue does not affect Microsoft Word v.X, which scrolls via the trackpad in both directions when running under Rosetta.

MT Newswatcher 3.4 -- compatible but unstable

This application crashes whenever it is made active after being hidden.

MacFixIt reader Michelle Steiner writes: " This happens 100% of the time. It also crashes randomly while in use. These crashes did not happen on earlier hardware. I've notified the developer and provided him with crash logs."

Norton AntiVirus -- compatible, with caveat

The virus scanning software seems to work, but it uses default preferences only and Live Update will not function.

OSXplanet - compatible

Pacifist - compatible

Palm Desktop -- compatible

MacFixIt reader Art McPherson writes:

"Something that does work, although I didn't expect it to: HotSync

Peer-to-peer applications: Many Java-based, incompatible
  • Azureus - Crashes on Load
  • Limewire - Crashes on Load (Universal Binary now available)
  • BitTorrent - Works
  • Tomato Torrent works
  • Acquistion Works (Universal Binary available)
  • Phex - Works
  • Poisoned - Works

Photoshop 7 - compatible

Photoshop CS - compatible

Preference Panes (PowerPC)

Applications that install PowerPC-based preference panes or reply on them will not work with the Intel version of Mac OS X.

Proteus -- incompatible

The multi-protocol IM client fails to launch under Rosetta on Intel-based Macs. The icon bounces briefly in the dock and then vanishes.

RCDefault -- incompatible

This software installs, but fails to launch.

Reuninon 8 -- compatible

Route66 -- incompatible

The mapping software does not function properly under Rosetta.

SAP GUI Client -- incompatible

The SAP GUI client uses a native library for tasks like networking, parsing the protocol and more. This PowerPC-library is loaded using JNI -- and hence incompatible with Rosetta.

Stuffit 10 -- compatible

Timbuktu -- compatible but unstable

MacFixIt reader Darryl Lewis reports an issue with Timbuktu Pro where keyboard input causes crashes and unexpected quits on a remote-controlled Mac.

Darryl writes:

"I've been working with a number of Intel-based iMacs and have run into a problem. Once I connect, even though I can control the remote cursor with my mouse, typing on my keyboard causes whatever application is active on the remote Mac to crash or quit unexpectedly. I've written to Netopia and am waiting for a response, but so far I haven't found any workaround. It's a problem, because I can't enter passwords or registration information when doing remote maintenance or installations. I saw a press release from Netopia stating that they were showing Timbuktu Pro 8.6 at MacWorld Expo in January, and it was compatible with the new Intel Macs. That's not yet available on their site, though."

Toast 7 -- compatible

TransparentDock -- incompatible

The dock modification software does not function properly -- likely because the Dock itself is running with native code.

Unison - compatible

VLC Media Player -- compatible

This software works under Rosetta on Intel-based Macs -- a boon for users who need to play AVI files, because the Flip4Mac plug-ins for QuickTime (which allow AVI and WMV playback) are not compatible with Rosetta.


  • VersionTracker's index
  • let us know
  • Universal Binary edition
  • ClamXav
  • this MacFixIt article
  • More from Late-Breakers