Coming changes at Apple's processor architecture for Macs

Yesterday the Apple keynote announced the upcoming release of macO’s “Big Sur”. The completely revised user interface and the system-level integrated translation functions, as well as the switch to Apple’s chip architecture, are exciting announcements.

I myself had planned to buy a new Mac, but now I will extend the life of my old MacPro again until the new Macs with ARM processor are available.
Since Scrvener is my most important and central software, I have a few questions:

  • Do you plan to provide a native version for the new system?
  • Since iOs/iPadOs applications will be able to run on the new Macs in the future, will there be a merger between Scrivener for iPad and macOs?
  • What is your strategy regarding the changeover at Apple?

Best regards,

Developer, KB, posted here:

For my part, I’d just look for some other software if they stripped out everything from the Mac version that couldn’t be implemented on the iOS version. I’m skeptical that iOS will ever attain the sophistication and power of Mac OS, and so something like Scrivener will likely always have 2 versions for the Apple ecosystem.

As for native ARM support; they did it in version 2 of Scrivener for Mac when Apple moved from Motorola to Intel. That implementation (for all software, as far as I’m aware) was to include both Motorola and Intel binaries in the same application bundle (called a “Universal” app, if I recall correctly). They continued to make that work for multiple major OS releases (and that’s in the days before yearly OS… “upgrades”). I don’t know how hard it was to implement for Scrivener, but some apps just needed to check a box to compile for both architectures. I assume it will be a similar effort for Intel->ARM.

In some form, eventually, yes. I have applied for the Developer Quick Start Kit.

No. Please see my full reply to this in the post that scshrugged posted above. Scrivener is not the sort of app that should be exactly the same across platforms because iOS is not macOS - if it were, Apple would not be investing in making their Macs even more powerful!

Not to rest on our laurels. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Hello Keith, thank you for your quick response. This all sounds very reasonable. I’m very excited about the new Mac generation and expect the processor change to improve performance and usability in my Apple environment.
Of course I also know that such a change means a lot of work for a developer and I am curious what you will create for us.
All the best, Thomas.

Yeah, I remember that time well. If I understood the Keynote message correctly, then for apps that are not immediately available “native”, the “Rosetta 2” emulation will step in to allow you to continue working seamlessly.

I’m very excited about the future too. I’ve been exploring the Big Sur beta today and over all I like it. It’s very bright, and I hope they tone down some of the translucency, but it’s very clean, there are lots of nice touches, and I’m looking forward to using it on a daily basis for real work.

We certainly have a lot of big decisions ahead of us in how we are going to handle some of the coming changes.

Exactly, and I imagine Scrivener will being using Rosetta 2 for a while no matter what.

@kb is Dropbox working for you in Big Sur?

I haven’t tried it, I’m afraid. I have Big Sur installed on a secondary partition and won’t install it on my main partition until it’s much closer to release, because early betas always have too many compatibility issues to rely on for regular work. I haven’t installed Dropbox on the Big Sur partition because I don’t want all the files downloaded on both partitions. If I recall correctly, Dropbox had issues on early betas of Catalina.

All the best,

Well, this was the first developer preview version that Apple issued. A lot will happen before the release in autumn. I am not a prophet, but I assume that Dropbox will definitely work in macOs 11.

No doubt it will work eventually- from macrumors forums it seems it has been uneven to date. I’m tempted to install the first public beta (even though I just installed Catalina this morning…) but I do need Dropbox.

Although I have access to the betas, I’ve only installed iOS14.

I have two books I must finish so will put off setting up on another partition and Big Sur install until I can devote some time.

I have zero doubt that Scrivener and DropBox will work seamlessly on the new OS sooner rather than later, but Scrivener and DropBox are the most important applications on my Macs. They get used several times more than the next most used applications (mail followed closely by Safari). Right now my installations of both are bug free. They are familiar and reliable to the point that use of them is transparent to the writing process - which is as good as it gets with an application. Change appears to be inevitable, and out of it will likely arrive features I like, but for the moment there’s nothing beyond resistable curiosity pushing me to upgrade.

That being the case, subject to change with no notice, I don’t plan to let my Macs upgrade until I see reports here that both Scrivener and DropBox running in the new OS are as bug free as they are now and operating together as expected.


An excellent plan that I heartily endorse.


Dropbox beta 101.3.422 appears to be solid with Big Sur dev beta 5.

Apparently doesn’t work with Apple Silicon yet.