Prism and macOS Big Sur (11.0) and Apple M1

Last modified January 27, 2021

Quick Read

In late 2020, Apple released macOS 11 Big Sur and new Mac computers that use new M1 chips designed by Apple instead of the Intel chips that Macs used to use.

  • Prism 9.0.1 was released on January 26, 2021 and will run natively on the M1 chip
  • Prism 9.0.0 runs fine on Big Sur, on computers using Intel chips and on computers using the M1 chip (running in compatibility mode using Rosetta).
  • Prism 8 runs quite well under Big Sur. Known issues can be found here.
  • Prism 7 has not been fully tested on macOS Big Sur, but should work adequately.
  • Prism 6 and older will definitely not work at all on macOS Big Sur (and won't even launch).

The Details

Apple has begun to transition the Mac from Intel chips to its new M1 chip, which is both more powerful and uses less power (so extends battery life).

Apple also released macOS Big Sur, the next major release of macOS.

Prism 9

Intel Chips

Prism 9.0.0 fully supports Big Sur running natively on Intel chips.

Apple M1 chips

Prism 9.0.0 runs in compatibility mode using Rosetta on Big Sur on Apple M1 Macs. Rosetta lets software written to run on Intel Macs run on M1 Macs. There is nothing special you need to know about Rosetta to run Prism under it - just double-click the app and that's it. You'll notice a delay of a few seconds the first time you do so.  

Prism 9.0.1 (released January 2021) is a universal binary that runs natively both on Macs with an Intel chip and on Macs with the new Apple M1 chip. 

Prism 8

Prism 8 runs OK under Big Sur. Known issues can be found here. We will not update Prism 8 to run natively on M1 chips, but Prism 8  runs fine under Rosetta.

Prism 7

We have not thoroughly tested Prism 7 with macOS Big Sur or Apple Silicon (via Rosetta), but it seems to work fine.

Prism 6

Prism 6 and older will not work (or launch) on macOS Big Sur (these versions will also not launch on macOS 10.15 Catalina).

Prism Update Notifications

When updating from Prism 7 or 8 on macOS Big Sur, there is a known issue in which the Software Update dialog (displaying the update notification for new versions of Prism) appears to display the wrong Prism version number. This update window incorrectly inserts the current Prism version number into the new Prism version that is available. For example, if updating from Prism 8 to Prism 9.0.0, the updater will provide the message:

"A new version of Prism 8 is available!
Prism 8 9.0.0 (86) is now available–you have 8.4.3 (471). Would you like to download it now?"

This incorrectly causes the update notifications to appear as though a new version of Prism 8 is available, when in fact it is a new version of Prism 9. This problem has been fixed with Prism 9.

Keywords: prism mac os big sur compatibility

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