These new processors are built in-house by Apple and replace the Intel-based processors that Macs have been using since 2006. Because applications are designed for a particular processor architecture, Apple have provided Rosetta and the Universal 2 file format to help transition from using the current Intel x86-64 applications to Apple Silicon arm64 applications.
Included in macOS Big Sur is a translation process called Rosetta which allows you to run Intel applications on Apple Silicon Macs. When an Intel application is first run on an Apple Silicon Mac, the following message is displayed requesting the installation of Rosetta:
Once Rosetta is installed, every time a new Intel application is launched, Rosetta automatically converts the application into an ARM-optimized version that can run on an Apple Silicon processor. This way Rosetta isn't doing any translation while the application is running, which is a major improvement on the original Rosetta from 2006 when Apple transitioned from PowerPC to Intel, which interpreted the code in real-time during application execution.
Ultimately the current Rosetta is a short-term fix as Apple will remove it in an upcoming version of macOS. Developers will need to provide Universal 2 builds of their applications to maintain compatibility with macOS.
Universal 2 is an application file format that contains two executable files: an Intel x86-64 executable to run on an Intel processor, and an arm64 executable to run on an Apple Silicon processor. The Universal 2 application format allow developers to release a single application file that can run natively on either type of Mac without the need for Rosetta.
When a user runs a Universal 2 application on an Apple Silicon Mac, by default the arm64 executable runs natively. However, you can select to run the Intel x86-64 executable by checking 'Open Using Rosetta' in the applications 'File Info' window as follows:
EdiApps running on Big Sur and Apple Silicon
The current versions of all of our applications are Intel x86-64 (64bit) applications. We are pleased to announce that we have completed testing our applications with macOS Big Sur using Intel and Apple Silicon Macs. All our applications are compatible with macOS Big Sur, using Rosetta on Apple Silicon Macs.
We tested our applications with Pro Tools 2020.11. However, until Avid release a version of Pro Tools that is fully qualified with this version of macOS, we cannot test all functions that interact with Pro Tools. We therefore recommend where possible to hold off upgrading to macOS Big Sur until Avid provide this update or qualify an existing version of Pro Tools. For details check macOS 11 (Big Sur) Support for Avid Products and Pro Tools Operating System Compatibility Chart.
The macOS Big Sur compatible versions of our applications are as follows:
Application installers can be downloaded from our download page.
During 2021 we will be releasing Universal 2 builds of our applications. The timing of this is mostly dependant on when third party software that our applications require have been released for arm64.
We will update this blog post as we release Universal 2 builds of our applications.