Force Apps to Run with Rosetta on M1 Mac

With the new M1 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini, Apple has started rolling the ball in its much-anticipated architectural transition from Intel x86 to ARM processors. However, to ensure that applications created for Intel processors can continue to run on new Macs, Apple created Rosetta, a translation layer to run Intel applications on M1 computers. However, did you know that you can also run native M1 apps via Rosetta? In this post, we will tell you how to force apps to work with Rosetta on an M1 Mac.

How to Run Apps with Rosetta

Forcing universal apps to work with Rosetta under emulation is not something everyone should do. But in those few extreme cases where you need the option, it’s great to have.

Why Do You Want to Run Applications in Rosetta Emulation?

First off, why would anyone want to force an app to work with Rosetta? After all, Rosetta will emulate the app, which means it will be slower and possibly more battery life, right?

That’s true, but there are reasons why some users might want to run an app locally on Rosetta rather than on a Mac. Primarily this might be a developer who wants to see how their code performs in both native M1 and Rosetta environments. Also, there are some use cases where a certain part of an M1 app doesn’t play well with ARM and running it with Rosetta might fix the problem.

Whatever the reason, it’s really easy to run apps in Rosetta mode on a Mac.

However, keep in mind that only universal apps can be used this way. Universal apps are apps that contain code for both Intel and ARM processors. This means they run natively on both Intel Macs and M1 Macs.

How to Run Universal Apps in Rosetta on M1 Mac

Note: For this example, we’ll be running Safari in Rosetta on the M1 MacBook Air. However, you can do this with any universal app.

  • Open the Applications folder on your Mac, find the universal app you want to run in Rosetta and right-click it.
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  • Click ‘Get Info’ from the context menu that opens.

click on the info context menu

  • In the General category, simply enable the checkbox that says ‘Open using Rosetta’.

force apps to run with rosetta on m1 mac

  • Close the ‘Get Info’ dialog and you’re good to go.

Now when you start the app, it will start with Rosetta emulation.

Run Universal Apps in Rosetta on Your Mac

This is how you can run a universal app on your M1 Mac’s Rosetta emulation. This is a great way for developers who want to see how their code works on Intel Macs and for some awkward situations. You can also use this method to see the speed difference between running an application on Intel and running an M1 chip on your laptop.

So, have you ever had to force an app to work with Rosetta on your Mac? Let us know in the comments. By the way, if you are considering buying a new M1 Mac, you can easily check M1 compatibility for apps.

Moyens Staff
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