Microsoft Releases Office for Mac With Apple Silicon Compatibility, Universal Build Still in Beta [Updated]

Following Apple's unveiling this week of M1-powered Macs, Microsoft has released a new version of its Mac Office 2019 for Mac that includes support for macOS Big Sur and compatibility with Apple Silicon machines.

microsoft 365
This means the latest release of apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive can be installed and run on Apple's latest 13-inch MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini using Appel's Rosetta 2 translation layer.

Thanks to Apple's Rosetta 2 translation software, Apple's M1-powered Macs can run x86-64 code that's written for Intel Macs. In contrast to OG Rosetta – the version that allowed PowerPC apps to run on Intel-based Macs – code isn't interpreted in real-time. Instead, the Rosetta 2 translation process happens entirely on first launch, though there is a slight performance hit as the initial x86–64 translation of instructions takes place.

Microsoft's announcement sheds light on how the back-end work manifests to the user when its apps are initially launched:

Are there any performance considerations for running Office under Rosetta 2 translation?

The first launch of each Office app will take longer as the operating system has to generate optimized code for the Apple Silicon processor. Users will notice that the apps 'bounce' in the dock for approximately 20 seconds while this process completes. Subsequent app launches will be fast.

Microsoft advises users to install the November 2020 release (build 16.43), or later, which includes the latest optimizations for macOS 11 Big Sur. This build will eventually need to be replaced by a version that uses the new Universal 2 binary format that was introduced at 2020 WWDC in June.

Apple says Rosetta 2 is a temporary solution for developers to make their existing Intel-based programs to run on Arm-based Macs, meaning they will eventually need to create native apps for ‌Apple Silicon‌ machines. Notably, Apple ended support for OG Rosetta three years after its release.

Update: The original article incorrectly referred to this build of Office for Mac as a "Universal build," however that version is reportedly only currently available to users enrolled on Microsoft's "Insider Fast" Beta channel, and is yet to have been given a final release date.

Top Rated Comments

G5isAlive Avatar
16 months ago
I’m confused, why if this is a native port, is there so much in the article about Rosetta 2? Is it native silicon code or not? Or did they just do something to help Rosetta 2?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mazda 3s Avatar
16 months ago
I’m really confused, this doesn’t sound like a port if it’s just using Rosetta 2. Isn’t that just what all x86-64 apps would be using to run on an Apple Silicon Mac? Pretty much any non-Apple app you already have installed?

So why would Microsoft have to release a new beta just to use Rosetta 2? Can someone please explain this to me? :)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
steve217 Avatar
16 months ago
This looked like a hair on my monitor...



Attachment Image
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radeon85 Avatar
16 months ago
So MS gets this ported to the new silicon very quickly, but Adobe may not have their programs like Photoshop ported until early 2021, great job Adobe, lazy sods.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
timmyh Avatar
16 months ago
Just updated the article after speaking with Microsoft. Universal build with native ARM64 code is in the Beta Channel. This public release (build 16.43) is not that version. Apologies for the confusion.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
James_C Avatar
16 months ago
Microsoft are much more on the ball this time with the move to Apple Silicon - I remember the pain of having to use Office via Rosetta during the prior PowerPC to Intel transition, Microsoft took forever to release a Intel version of Office for the Mac.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...
appleprivacyad cleaned

iOS 15 Patched Security Hole That Potentially Exposed Users' Private Apple ID Information to Third-Party Apps

Thursday January 20, 2022 3:32 am PST by
Apple patched two significant security vulnerabilities when it released iOS 15 that could have potentially exposed users' private Apple ID information and in-app search history to malicious third-party apps and allowed apps to override user Privacy preferences, Apple has revealed in a recent support document update. With most iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS updates, Apple provides a list of...
safari icon blue banner

macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 Release Candidates Fix Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Thursday January 20, 2022 1:30 pm PST by
The macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 release candidates that came out today appear to address a Safari bug that could cause your recent browsing history and details about your identity to be leaked to malicious entities. As shared last week by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS, there is an issue with the WebKit implementation of the IndexedDB JavaScript API. Any website that uses...