With the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini M1, Apple kicked off its long-awaited architecture shift from Intel x86 processors to ARM processors. However, to ensure that applications designed for Intel processors can continue to run on new Macs, Apple created Rosetta, a translation layer to run Intel applications on M1 computers. However, did you know that you can also run native M1 apps through Rosetta? In this article, we’ll walk you through how to force apps to run with Rosetta on a Mac M1.

How to run apps with Rosetta

Forcing universal apps to run with Rosetta under emulation isn’t something everyone needs to do. However, in the few extreme cases where you need the option, it’s great to have.

Why would you want to run applications in Rosetta emulation?

First of all, why would anyone want to force an application to run with Rosetta? After all, Rosetta will emulate the app, which means it will be slower and probably more battery-hungry, right?

That’s true, but there are reasons some users might want to run an app in Rosetta instead of natively on the Mac. It might be primarily a developer who just wants to see how their code works in the native M1 and Rosetta environments. Additionally, there are use cases where a particular part of an M1 application does not work well with ARM and running it with Rosetta might fix the problem.

Whatever the reason, it’s actually very easy to run apps on a Mac in Rosetta mode.

However, note that only universal apps can be used this way. Universal apps are apps that have code for both Intel and ARM processors. This means that they work natively on Intel Macs and M1 Macs.

How to Run Universal Apps in Rosetta on M1 Mac

To note: For this example, we’ll be running Safari in Rosetta on the MacBook Air M1. However, you can do this with any universal application.

  • Open the Applications folder on your Mac, find the universal app you want to run in Rosetta, and right-click on it.
  • In the contextual menu that appears, click on “Get information”.
  • Under the General category, simply check the box that says “Open with Rosetta”.
  • Close the “Get Info” dialog and you’re good to go.

Now when you launch the app, it launches with Rosetta emulation.

Run universal apps in Rosetta on your Mac

This is how you can run a universal application in the Rosetta emulation of your Mac M1. This is a great way for developers who want to see how their code works on Intel Macs and for some special cases. Also, you can use this method to see the difference in speed between running an application in Intel and your laptop’s M1 chip.

So, have you ever needed to force an application to run with Rosetta on your Mac? Let us know in the comments. By the way, you can easily check the M1 compatibility of apps if you are planning to buy a new Mac M1.