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Script to find application architectures on your Mac

Posted on November 16, 2021 by alanysiu

Apple has once again switched architectures. It used to be a switch from PowerPC to Intel. Now it is a switch from Intel to Apple Silicon.

Vendors are in the process of switching from releasing Intel only or separate Intel and Silicon binaries to releasing universal binaries (that will work on both Intel and Silicon), and users are still often resorting to using Rosetta 2 to run Intel applications on Silicon Macs.

If you want to do a quick inventory on which applications you have installed are Intel only, Silicon only, or universal, you can go to Apple symbol > About This Mac > System Report > Software > Applications.

I’ve also written up a script that will comb through those apps and display them grouped together by architecture type, and also display a summary of how many apps of architecture type there are.

Script output translation:

  • arch_arm_i64 = Universal
  • arch_i64 = Intel
  • arch_other = Other
  • arch_i32 = 32-bit (Unsupported)
  • arch_arm = Apple Silicon