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What exactly is the difference between Rosetta 2 and Native Apple Silicon - Does It ARM

thatguysam profile image Sam Carlton ・3 min read

I run a site called Does It ARM along with some fantastic contributors we're working to build a comprehensive list of how apps work on Apple Silicon.

A common thing to see is confusion around Rosetta 2 and whether an app actually "works".

I've put together this list of questions to help bring some clarity

Do apps run faster on Rosetta 2 than on Intel?

Some software can run faster on Rosetta 2 than on your old Intel-based Mac or PC.

However, this is more because of how well Apple Silicon is built than any special trick Rosetta 2 uses.

You only need to worry about Rosetta 2 performance if you're running heavy-duty processes such as Video Editing, Image Processing, Machine Learning, etc...

Naturally, if your software already runs natively on Apple Silicon it will always run faster than an equivalent Intel-based Mac.

Don't all previous Mac Apps work via Rosetta 2 translation?

Most apps will work with Rosetta 2 translation well but it's not a perfect technology.

Some apps will have various small issues and graphical bugs but will work well enough, a few apps will fail to launch entirely and some apps will runs with virtually no issues and perform even faster than an equivalent Intel-based Mac.

For now, the best way to determine how well an app will run under Rosetta 2 is by human review.

We regularly review Rosetta 2 compatibility for new apps that you can view by going to our homepage and then clicking the ✳️ Rosetta or 🚫 Unsupported (Apps not working under Rosetta 2 translation) buttons to show only those respective apps.

How do I check if an app is Native or running on Apple Silicon?

If you don't own an Apple Silicon Mac you can search our list of reported apps and check for a specific app.

You can also view apps broken down by category here.

If you already own an Apple Silicon Mac and want to know which apps are running natively as opposed to via Rosetta 2 translation, you can download Silicon Info and see a report of the apps

If you find an app that's not listed yet you can submit it via a New App Request and a screenshot and we'll get it added.

Does Apple Silicon and the Apple M1 processor support Homebrew?

Homebrew itself does in fact run natively on Apple Silicon, however, not all formulae are native just yet.

The core formulae are about 90% supported natively while about 60% of all 5400+ formulae are natively supported

However, if you run Homebrew under Rosetta 2 translation over 99% will work.

Under Rosetta 2, there might be a performance dip but unless you're doing something very intensive like Machine Learning or Video Processing there won't any noticeable difference.

You can check for support of specific formulae here:

https://doesitarm.com/kind/homebrew/

There's an outdated page. Where can I submit an update to an already listed app?

If you have new info on an app that is already listed on our site you can report an update with the Report Update link on the app's page and create a new issue for the new info.

You don't have my app listed. How can I find out if it works?

If an app is not listed on our site, you can search in issues on the Github Repo for the app you are looking for. The app you are searching may already have a respective issue you can Subscribe to and contribute any missing info or screenshots.

If the app is nowhere to be found in issues, then congratulations, you've found a new app!

You can submit a New App Request and we'll start a review to determine the app's status on Apple Silicon.

Have another question?

Feel free to drop it in the comments.

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