Rosetta Mac App Translation Process Can Take 20 Seconds on First Launch [Updated]

Given that Apple's new M1 chip is designed based on ARM architecture, apps built for Intel's x86 architecture will need to be run through Apple's translation layer Rosetta 2 in order to function on Apple Silicon Macs, and this process can take some time.

applesilicon
Microsoft this week indicated that when launching any of its Mac apps for the first time on Apple Silicon Macs, the apps will bounce in the dock for approximately 20 seconds while the Rosetta 2 translation process is completed, with all subsequent launches being fast. This applies to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive.

Apple's developer documentation acknowledges this matter, noting that the Rosetta 2 translation process "takes time" and that users "might perceive that translated apps launch or run more slowly at times" as a result:

If an executable contains only Intel instructions, macOS automatically launches Rosetta and begins the translation process. When translation finishes, the system launches the translated executable in place of the original. However, the translation process takes time, so users might perceive that translated apps launch or run more slowly at times.

To avoid this translation process, developers can create a universal binary for their apps, allowing them to run natively on both Apple Silicon Macs and Intel-based Macs with one executable file. Microsoft is one of many developers in the process of doing so.

A handful of apps have already been announced with universal support, including Darkroom, djay Pro AI, and OmniFocus.

The first Macs with the M1 chip will begin arriving to customers Tuesday.

Update - November 14: Microsoft has since changed the wording of its support document, and now simply says that the first launch of each Office app "will take longer," rather than specifying 20 seconds. We’re told this is because Microsoft has not yet confirmed exact speeds on production hardware.

Top Rated Comments

Unggoy Murderer Avatar
20 months ago
20 seconds is about the same amount of time it takes me to launch and use most crappy electron-based apps.

A single 20 second wait for an automatic and near native binary? Bargain if you asked me.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rudy69 Avatar
20 months ago
This is by far the ideal situation. You can't really beat ahead of time translation, pretty much will be faster once it's done no matter what.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
G725 Avatar
20 months ago
It would be interesting to see a comparison of native Geekbench and Rosetta Geekbench.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
midkay Avatar
20 months ago
This seems like a real non-issue in that it only happens once. However, I’m a bit surprised they didn’t go the one step further and pre-perform this translation during installation, as opposed to waiting for the user to attempt to launch the app.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
and 1989 others Avatar
20 months ago
To translate an application as massive as word, in up to 20 seconds is quite impressive. ~2Gb of application data.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lucifer666 Avatar
20 months ago

every time the app is launched?
No, it seems. Just once.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

13 inch macbook pro m2 mock feature 2

First M2 Macs Expected to Launch Later This Year Using TSMC's 4nm Chip Process

Thursday March 10, 2022 7:30 am PST by
Apple plans to launch a series of Macs with M2 chips based on TSMC's 4nm process later this year, according to Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. This advancement should allow for continued performance and power efficiency improvements. "TSMC's 4nm process will also build Apple's M2 chip that will power the new Mac series slated for launch in the second half of this year," the report claims. ...
General Dropbox Feature

Dropbox Mac App With Apple Silicon Support Now Available to All Beta Users

Thursday January 13, 2022 1:01 am PST by
Following limited testing of native support, Dropbox's Mac app built for Apple silicon is now available to all beta testers. Earlier this month, Dropbox began testing native Apple silicon support with a handful of beta testers, promising to expand testing to all beta users before the end of the month. Now, all Dropbox users who have enabled "Early releases" in their account preferences will...
Edison Mail M1 Mac Support

Edison Mail Updated With Native Support for Apple Silicon Macs

Thursday February 17, 2022 8:02 am PST by
Edison Mail today announced that it has updated its Mac app with native support for Apple silicon, allowing the app to run faster on Macs powered by the M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max chips. The new version of the app is available now through the Mac App Store. Edison Mail first released a desktop app for the Mac in 2019 with features such as One-Click Unsubscribe for junk emails, Block Sender,...
microsoft office icons

Microsoft Releases Office for Mac Update With Full Apple Silicon Support in Excel

Tuesday January 18, 2022 4:15 am PST by
Microsoft has released a new version of its Office for Mac productivity suite that includes an updated Excel app with 100% native support for Apple silicon machines. According to the release notes accompanying version 16.57, Excel will now run natively on Macs powered by Apple's M1-series processors without having to use the Rosetta 2 translation layer, which means anyone using a Mac with an ...
onedrive m1 macs

Microsoft Releases Preview of Native OneDrive Client for Apple Silicon Macs

Wednesday December 8, 2021 4:19 am PST by
Microsoft today offered OneDrive users a pre-release version of its OneDrive syncing client for macOS that is optimized to run natively on Apple silicon. The official support for M1 Macs should make the OneDrive Arm preview run faster on Apple's latest machines, since the client will no longer need to go through Apple's Rosetta 2 translation layer. OneDrive users need to be in the Office ...
m2 feature purple

Evidence of M2 Apple Silicon Chip Spotted Ahead of Apple Event on Tuesday

Sunday March 6, 2022 6:39 am PST by
Evidence that Apple is testing the M2 Apple silicon chip, expected to debut first in a new MacBook Air and refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro, has been spotted by a developer ahead of Tuesday's "Peek performance" Apple event. As reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, a "developer source" has informed him that in recent weeks, Apple has been testing a chip with an...
apple silicon discord

Discord With Native Apple Silicon Support Now Rolling Out

Tuesday March 22, 2022 4:28 am PDT by
A version of Discord with native support for Apple silicon Macs is now rolling out to users, almost a year and a half after the first Macs with Apple silicon chips were shipped to customers. Until now, Discord users have had to rely on Rosetta 2 technology to use Discord on Apple's latest Macs. While usable, Discord on Rosetta 2, which translates apps made for Intel-based Macs to run on...
m3 feature black

Macs With 'M3' Chips Expected to Use TSMC's 3nm Chip Technology With Test Production Reportedly Underway

Thursday December 2, 2021 7:36 am PST by
Apple's chipmaking partner TSMC has kicked off pilot production of chips built on its 3nm process, known as N3, according to Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report, citing unnamed industry sources, claims that TSMC will move the process to volume production by the fourth quarter of 2022 and start shipping 3nm chips to customers like Apple and Intel in the first quarter of...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
iPad Pro USB C Feature Coral

Deals: Apple's iPad Pro Reaches Up to $449 Off in Amazon's Latest Sales

Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:09 am PDT by
Amazon is marking down a wide variety of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models this week, with prices starting as low as $749.00 for the 11-inch tablet. You'll find the full list of sales below, all of which can be found on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep...
apple account card

Wallet App Now Supports Apple Account Cards on iOS 15.5

Wednesday May 25, 2022 5:01 pm PDT by
Apple appears to have recently updated the Wallet app to allow users to add an Apple Account Card, which displays the Apple credit balance associated with an Apple ID. If you receive an App Store or Apple Store gift card, for example, it is added to an Apple Account that was previously visible in the App Store and Apple Store apps. As of today, the Apple Account balance can also be added to...
Apple Tap to Pay iPhone

Apple Stores Rolling Out iPhone-to-iPhone Contactless Payments Starting Today

Wednesday May 25, 2022 6:54 am PDT by
Apple in February unveiled a new "Tap to Pay on iPhone" feature that will allow compatible iPhones to accept payments via Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, with no additional hardware required. Apple began testing the feature at its Apple Park Visitor Center earlier this month, and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has tweeted that the feature will begin...
apple wwdc 2022

Apple Shares WWDC 2022 Schedule, Keynote to Take Place June 6 at 10:00 a.m PT

Tuesday May 24, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
Apple today confirmed that the keynote event for the Worldwide Developers Conference will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 6, the first day of WWDC. The keynote will be an online-only event, though a select number of developers have been invited to the Apple Park campus for a viewing event. In addition to confirming the keynote date and time, Apple has shared the full WWDC 2022...