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OS X 10.7 Or Later Does Not Support Rosetta / PowerPC Software

Article ID = 2
Article Title = OS X 10.7 Or Later Does Not Support Rosetta / PowerPC Software
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 30 March 2011
Article Last Updated = 25 September 2015 11:46
Article URL =

Article Brief Description:
Starting with OS X 10.7 Lion, OS X does not support the "Rosetta" environment for running PowerPC based applications. This is a list of common PowerPC applications with information on upgrades and alternatives.

Virtualise Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (Server)

It is possible to legally virtualise Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard on your computer using the server version of Mac OS X 10.6. This enables you to run Rosetta/PowerPC based applications on a modern Macintosh computer. We have an article detailing how to do this.

How to check for PowerPC software on your computer

The really easy way:

Download and run Appsolete
or download and run ArchDetect

The easy way:

  1. Make sure Spotlight is turned on (go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy tab and make sure your boot hard disk is not in the list OR use Spotless to check).
  2. Go to Apple menu > About This Mac > click the "More Info…" button.
  3. When System Profiler opens select "Applications" under the 'Software' heading in the list on the left.
  4. Click on the "Kind" column heading to sort by kind.
  5. Click (to select) the first PowerPC type application.
  6. Locate the last PowerPC type application om the list and shift+click on it (this will select all the PowerPC applications).
  7. A full list of PowerPC type applications will appear in the text pane below the upper list of applications.
  8. Click anywhere in the text pane and press Command+A to 'Select All'.
  9. Press Command+C to 'Copy'.
  10. Go to your favourite text editor e.g. Microsoft Word or TextEdit.
  11. Press Command+V to 'Paste'.
  12. Save the document for later analysis if required.

The Terminal/command line way:

  1. Go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
  2. Paste the following command into the Terminal window:
  3. system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType | sed -e 's/ *//' | grep -A4 "Kind: PowerPC" | grep Location | sort
  4. This will produce a simple list (with hard disk location) in the Terminal window.
  5. This simple list can be copied and pasted into your favourite text editor e.g. Microsoft Word or TextEdit (and saved for later analysis if required).

List of PowerPC Apps likely to still be in use

Adobe Creative Suite 2 (CS2) and 1 (CS1)
Adobe Acrobat v7 or earlier
Adobe (Macromedia) Freehand MX and earlier
    NOTE: For more information about using Freehand see this really useful Free Freehand web site
Adobe Illustrator v12 (CS2) and earlier
Adobe InDesign v4 (CS2), v3 (CS1), v2 or v1
Adobe Photoshop v9 (CS2) and earlier
Adobe Acrobat Reader v7 or earlier
  • Upgrade to the Intel version of Acrobat Reader vX(10) or simply upgrade to Reader XI(11).
  • Use Apple's Preview application which is included with OS X
  • Switch to:
QuarkXPress v6.5 and earlier
AppleWorks v6 and earlier (including ClarisWorks)
Panergy Software's docXConverter version 3.2 or later purports to convert AppleWorks 5/6 word processing, spreadsheet and database documents (and is OS X 10.7 or later compatible).
  • Switch to Microsoft Office
  • Alternative Office like suites:
    • Apple iWork for OS X
    • All three iWork for OS X applications are free with all new Macintosh computer purchases. The latest iWork applications require OS X 10.9 Mavericks or later.
    • Apple iWork for iOS
    • All three iWork for iOS apps are free with all new iPad, iPhone and iPod touch purchases. The latest iWork apps require iOS 7 or later.
    • NeoOffice 3.4.1 (£7 - OS X 10.6 or later)
    • Apache OpenOffice (OS X 10.7 or later)
    • NeoOffice 2014 (£22.99 - OS X 10.8 or later)
    • LibreOffice (OS X 10.8 or later)
    • NOTE: LibreOffice (v4.1 or later) now supports importing Mac Word 5.1, Write Now 4.0, MacWrite Pro 1.5 and Appleworks 6 word processing documents
  • Alternative spreadsheet software:
    • Numbers (£13.99 inc VAT)
    • NOTE: Numbers supports importing AppleWorks 6 word spreadsheet documents
    • Mariner Calc
    • Mesa
    NOTE: Appleworks 'database' and 'paint' documents cannot be directly imported into other products. You need to export the documents into a usable format first or you could try Panergy Software's docXConverter version 3.2 or later as it purports to convert AppleWorks 5/6 database documents (but not Paint documents).
  • Alternative database software:
NOTE: Apple's iWork suite will usually only import AppleWorks v6 documents. Older versions of Appleworks/ClarisWorks may need to have their documents opened first and exported to a useable format or if you can, update to AppleWorks 6.2.9 first.
NOTE: For more information about transitioning from AppleWorks see this really useful Abandoning AppleWorks web site.
Microsoft Office 2004 (including XML document converters), vX or earlier
  • Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2011 or Office 365
Microsoft Internet Explorer v5 for Mac
Microsoft Remote Desktop Client v1
  • Upgrade to Microsoft Remote Desktop Client v8 Buy it now on the Mac App Store [FREE]
Microsoft Virtual PC v7 and earlier
Omnipage Pro X and earlier
Roxio Toast v6 and earlier
ABBYY FineReader (also included with some scanners/the Fujitsu ScanSnap products)
Adobe GoLive (all versions)
BBEdit v6 and earlier
  • Upgrade to v8, v9, v10 or v11
FileMaker v7 and earlier
Canvas X
Retrospect 6
Quicken 2007 and earlier (US market only)
QuickBooks 2007 and earlier (US market only)
i1 / Eye-One Match (colour calibration software)
iView Media Pro 3.0.2 and earlier
iView Media Pro was purchased by Microsoft in July 2006 and renamed "Expression Media". It was then subsequently purchased by PhaseOne recently and renamed Media Pro 1. So your options are:
No direct replacement but you could use the basic zip facilities included with Mac OS X or try these alternatives:
Update to v4.9.9 or later. Download from
MacLink Plus
No direct replacement but you could try the Zamzar online conversion tool/web site.
Palm / Palm Desktop

Further List of additional PowerPC Applications with unknown options

Check back regularly as we update this article with more information.
  • Amadeus II
  • Dimage Scan Dual IV software (film scanner)
  • Emergency Records Organizer
  • FontLab Studio (also their other products such as Fontographer)
  • Inspiration 7
  • MacTheRipper
  • Merriam-Webster dictionary
  • Now Contact
  • Panorama 5
  • TurboTax 2005 and earlier (US market only)
  • Wake 550
  • Hemera Photo-Objects

Other PowerPC software that may be on your computer

  • Installer software (old VISE installers, etc).
  • Some Xerox printer drivers use a PowerPC installer application.
  • Old printer, camera, scanner and/or peripheral applications or drivers e.g. scanning software, multifunction printer utilities, camera image utilities.

Additions, Omissions or Errors

If you have any please use our Contact Form.
NOTE: The alternative software titles listed in this article are listed on the basis that they are Universal Binary or Intel compatible software. They are not necessarily OS X 10.7 or later compatible. Application software Lion or later compatibility information is available here.

Article Keywords: OSX 107 108 109 1010 1011 Lion Mountain Mavericks Yosemite ElCapitan Rosetta PowerPC PPC

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