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macOS - How to check if an application is 64bit from the command line (Terminal)
April 17, 2018 2:18 AM
There are several ways to test if an application is either 32 bit or 64 bit - besides the new "warning" Apple throws at folks (which appears per application only once).
In Terminal this can be done with the "file" command, but the trick is that you have to point "file" to the actual binary.
For example, just going to Applications -> VLC will NOT do the trick, since VLC is just a folder named VLC.app. macOS see this as an application bundle but presents it as a single file. Instead you have to go into the VLC.app folder, and in there Contents/MacOS directory to go find the binary (right click the file in Finder and choose "Show Package Content").
In Terminal, taking VLC as an example:
With the "ls" command you can see what the binary is
$ ls -l
-rwxr-xr-x@ 1 hans staff 38880 Feb 26 21:33 VLC
drwxr-xr-x@ 3 hans staff 96 Feb 26 21:05 include
drwxr-xr-x@ 6 hans staff 192 Feb 26 21:32 lib
drwxr-xr-x@ 342 hans staff 10944 Feb 26 21:32 plugins
drwxr-xr-x@ 5 hans staff 160 Feb 26 21:05 share
Based on the properties we can see that the file VLC a binary is, so now using the "file" command gives us:
$ file VLC
VLC: Mach-O 64-bit executable x86_64
So here we see that VLC is an actual 64 bit application (x86_64).
Below a test example of one of my projects to show a 32 bit example (i386):
$ file project1
project1: Mach-O executable i386
April 17, 2018 2:45 AM
Note that you can also use COMMAND+i (or right click - Get Info) when selecting a file in the applications directory of course (see 2 sample screenshots).