The State of M1 Apple Silicon Apps on Mac

3rd June, 2021

I've been working with the M1 13" MacBook Pro for nearly five months now. It's still a delight to use. It's super quiet, remains cool regardless of whatever task I throw at it (the machine barely ticks over 34 degrees celsius unlike the 16" MacBook Pro with Intel Core i9 which when it's not doing heavy work, doubles that figure.) The M1 is fast, efficient, and is absolutely the right direction that the Mac has got to go in.

But try telling that to some developers. Even after the launch of the 13" MacBook Pro in November 2020, and the transition kit a whole year ago - I'm still seeing many apps that are still only compiled for Intel Macs. This includes:

  • Evernote (excellent note-taking app, but it's slow and resource heavy under Rosetta 2; I've gone back to using Apple Notes)

  • Sophos anti-virus - both Endpoint and Home Premium (Sophos is now one of the few AV vendors that do not have a Universal app)

  • Spotify - they bitch and moan about Apple, yet appear to have no clear indication when they're going Universal

  • Epic Games Launcher - like Spotify, if they're so damn concerned about the Apple ecosystem, why don't they have a Universal app?

  • Microsoft Teams - every other Microsoft app has gone Universal except one of the most important collaborative apps. D'oh!

  • Authy Desktop - 2FA for the desktop - useful, but a bit slow.

  • WhatsApp - this big chunky desktop app from Facebook is still waiting for a Universal binary. It's slow and a PITA until then.

  • Cyberduck - a really useful all-round file transfer app. It isn't Universal yet, but it's definitely coming.

  • SecureCRT/SecureFX - my go to applications for SSH, Telnet and other command line terminals. No indication as to when they'll get around to going Universal, but I have requested it.

  • NVIDIA GeForce Now - is how I play my old PC games, including Fortnite. It's still an Intel only app, and it performs pretty well - but it could do better by becoming a Universal app.

It's disappointing to see these apps haven't been updated yet, because until then, M1 Mac owners aren't getting the best performance out of their machine. With more Apple Silicon-based Macs due to be released this year, and with the final transition due towards the end of next, it's imperative that these apps get an update sooner rather than later. While I am sure Apple will continue to support Intel Macs for a few more years (3-4?), the deadline isn't yet known.