Apple has begun the march toward eliminating those 32-bit applications that never made the jump to 64-bit. As we move into the future, so must the software and devices we use. Sadly, this means that once in awhile you will find that some of your old applications no longer work on a computer. It happens to macOS just as it happens to Windows and other platforms, only today is a focus on Mac.
Assuming that you keep your Mac system updated with the latest macOS (High Sierra 10.13.4), you should be now receiving notifications when you open a 32-bit application, letting you know that “This app needs to be updated by its developer to improve compatibility”. The application will continue to work just fine for now, however this is a move to light a fire under developers, in order to pressure them to move forward toward 64-bit with their products.
It’s a lot like moving from VGA to HDMI. As long as VGA ports were still made available, people kept using them, even years after HDMI has clearly taken over. It wasn’t until VGA ports have finally begun to be removed from systems that a large number of consumers were forced to buy a new laptop (or an adapter at least) and get with the times–making things like corporate conventions/conferences much more tolerable when it comes to presentations (for both the user and the company hosting the setup).
64-bit hardware and software have been around long enough now that is it time to force the switch if everyone is still dragging their feet to catch up. Eliminating support for 32-bit will help to reduce OS delivery (having one format instead of two to choose from), which also makes it a lot easier on the developer, allowing them to focus solely on the future and support for modern technology. Of course, 64-bit applications are also a lot more efficient since they can make use of the benefits of 64-bit hardware (like multi-core processing), and supports greater RAM access.
You are safe for now as Apple hasn’t chosen when the actual switch will take place, but when the time comes, it will mark the end of macOS High Sierra as they move forward to a new release. Until then, it would be wise to begin replacing some of these applications with 64-bit versions (if the developer has released such) or alternative software options if the developer of your current application is no longer around or has no plans to move forward. It is always best to be one step ahead so you don’t run into a brick wall later on.
At the moment, there is no clue on if Microsoft will follow suit. There is such a large number of 32-bit processor fed systems being used still, that it would raise quite the fight. Not to mention that the sheer number of applications and games that support PC vs Mac would make it difficult. However, when Microsoft drops support for Windows 7 finally in 2020, there is a good chance that they may consider something similar for future editions of Windows. It would be smart since the chance of the older 32-bit processor systems running a new Windows smoothly will be minimal to no chance anyway. When the time comes though, it will be just like the switch from DOS applications to the modern age that eliminated support for games and applications like the original Duke Nukem 3D back in the day.
It won’t be long now until 32-bit is considered deprecated.