How to know which macOS Big Sur apps are already adapted to Apple Silicon to squeeze the power of the M1 chip

Yesterday we talked about Apple being in a transition; one that consists of moving from Intel’s x86 architecture to Apple Silicon, Apple’s own architecture based on ARM. This transition implies that Apple and developers have to adapt their applications for the new era, without losing native compatibility with Intel.

If they don’t build the apps for Apple Silicon and we get a Mac with an M1 chip to run Intel apps on it, the good news is that predictably we will lose little performance thanks to the translation of Rosetta 2 from one architecture to another, which does not happen in real time, but when we install the application. However, there will be users who do not want to buy a new machine before their applications are ready to perform 100% on a day-to-day basis.

Today we’ll see how to check which apps are already running crisp on Apple Silicon in macOS Big Sur, something that can be verified even if we have a Mac with Intel.

The easy way: from the Applications folder

In macOS, the normal thing is that we install the applications in the folder Applications, which is where Apple places them by default, and where the installers install them. If we go to it, select any application in Big Sur, and do “right click -> Get information” or use the keyboard shortcut “CMD + i”, we will see something like the following image. In this case, I have chosen the AppCleaner application, ideal for uninstalling without leaving a trace on the system.

As you can see, the system indicates in ‘Class’ that the application is compiled for Intel architecture. What interests us to squeeze an Apple Silicon device with an M1 chip is that, at the very least, it is ‘Universal’, as we can see in the following example. This is Alfred 4, an application launcher (and much more), whose developers have already compiled to run natively on Apple Silicon.

Another way to see it on Apple Silicon equipment, as shown in the following tweet Steven Sinofsky, in en ‘Activity Monitor‘, in the section’ Architecture ‘. Where the system indicates ‘Apple’, it means that the execution is native, as long as the check is done from a computer with an M1 chip.

Well this is cool! And by cool I mean as fast as the core i7 PC right next to it. (this is not the M1 yet).

– Steven Sinofsky (@stevesi) November 12, 2020

And that’s it. Hopefully in no time all the popular and important apps to work with will be natively supported to Apple Silicon.