Google is to quietly retire support for 32-bit versions of OS X later this year. The plan was announced, in traditional ‘bury bad news’ style, in the middle of the release post for the 64-bit Chrome beta for Mac.
The news means anyone using a 32-bit only Intel Macbook, iMac or Mac Mini won’t be able to update to newer versions of Chrome from later next month. The cull is largely confined to hardware sold between January 2006 and August 2007 and using an Intel Core Solo or Core Duo processor.
As sad as the news is it’s not entirely unexpected. Apple no longer provides updates or newer releases of their operating systems for systems running 32-bit Intel CPUs.
Users of affected platforms will still be able to use Chrome after the axe, however it will not receive any future updates. Other browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, are likely to remain available and updated in 32-bit versions.
Chromium being an open-source project means that, in theory, there’s nothing to stop community ports filling the seat vacated by Chrome proper. But it won’t be an easy (or worthwhile) feat, as Opera told us:
@omgchrome Chromium is our upstream; we're patching (and upstreaming) a lot. Maintaining an entire arch might be too costly for little gain.
— Opera (@opera) September 4, 2014
This change does not affect Windows users. 32-bit builds of Chrome for Windows are not being retired. Do not panic. Proceed to pass Go and collect 200 credits.