Adobe’s suite of graphics and video design tools has been the go-to apps for most designers and editors for a long time. Adobe’s popular products include Photoshop and Lightroom for photo editing, Illustrator for creating vectors, Dreamweaver for layouting web pages, Fresco for freeform drawing, Premiere for video editing, After Effects for motion graphics, Dreamweaver for web design, and Acrobat for working with PDFs.
These Adobe products are compatible with most major operating platforms, including Windows and macOS. However, if you’re using Adobe products a lot on your Mac, you might want to hold off updating to macOS Catalina. The newest version of the macOS has been released a few weeks ago, and several Catalina compatibility issues have already been reported.
According to reports, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver are no longer supported in Catalina. The apps were working fine before the upgrade, but users are no longer able to run them after installing Catalina. Some users reported that the apps quit immediately after launching on Catalina, while others say that the apps won’t open at all. Those who were able to run these Adobe products soon encountered Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver compatibility issues with Catalina.
These Catalina compatibility issues are causing a lot of headaches among graphic designers, video editors, animators, movie makers, and other creative designers who are heavily-reliant on Adobe products for their work.
Which Adobe Products Have Catalina Compatibility Issues?
According to Adobe’s product website, Lightroom Classic 8.4.1 and Photoshop 20.0.6 and later versions work with macOS 10.15 Catalina. However, Adobe advises users to continue using their current version because of several known compatibility issues. The company also suggests testing the Adobe products first using Catalina installed on a different partition to make sure that the drivers and other software needed for the apps work.
Let us look at some of the known issues with Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, and other Adobe products.
Photoshop Not Working in Catalina
Photoshop versions 19.x and earlier will not work with Catalina because these older versions use 32-bit installers and licensing components. Legacy or perpetual versions of Photoshop will also not work with the new macOS.
When you upgrade to macOS Catalina, make sure you have already updated your Photoshop to the latest version because you may not be able to do so after the upgrade. Or if you need to uninstall the old version of Photoshop, make sure to do it before installing Catalina. The uninstall, reinstall, and activate functions do not work with macOS Catalina. The only way to uninstall older versions is by using the Creative Cloud Cleaner Tool.
Here are some of the compatibility issues encountered by Photoshop users after upgrading to Catalina and the workarounds suggested by Adobe.
1. File naming doesn’t work properly.
When saving a file in Photoshop, choosing a different format does not automatically change the file extension of the file. For example, if the user wants to save the file in PNG format, the file name should automatically have a PNG extension. If this happens, you need to manually edit the extension to match the format you want to save the file as.
Another issue with naming files is that ticking off As a copy does not add the word copy to the filename. If you want to save your work as a copy, you can just add the word copy to the filename manually or type in a different name.
2. Some plug-ins are not found or cannot be verified.
When your Photoshop plug-ins were downloaded from the web, installed by other methods, or have not been notarized, you’ll encounter any of the following error messages:
- Could not save as “filename” because the file was not found.
- “Name of the plugin” can’t be opened because its integrity cannot be verified.
This happens because the plug-ins have been quarantined and you need to remove the quarantine flag for them to work. To do this:
- Open Terminal under the Utilities folder.
- Type in the following command depending on where the plug-in was installed:
- Photoshop application plug-ins folder: sudo xattr -r -d com.apple.quarantine /Applications/Adobe\ Photoshop\ 2019/Plug-ins/<plug-in-name>
- Creative Cloud plug-ins folder: sudo xattr -r -d com.apple.quarantine /Library/Application\ Support/Adobe/Plug-Ins/CC/<plug-in-name>
3. Rendering video does not complete.
When you click File > Export > Render Video, the rendering process starts but never completes for some reason. When this happens, clear all your cached data using a Mac cleaning software such as Outbyte MacRepair. Then, click Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy tab > Full Disk Access. Click the lock icon, then enter your admin username and password. Click the + button and add Photoshop to the list of apps that have full access to your hard disk. This should help resolve the problem.
4. Other Issues
Aside from these problems, other Photoshop features also don’t work, such as Droplets, Apple color picker, Lens Profile Creator, and ExtendScript Toolkit. Adobe is still working on solutions to these bugs and there is no announcement yet on when the update will be released.
Lightroom Classic Problems with macOS Catalina
Lightroom Classic is another photo editing program from Adobe which users are also having issues with. The stand-alone photography product, Lightroom Classic, is different from the subscription-based Lightroom CC. Lightroom Classic is designed for desktop digital photography editing while Lightroom CC is meant for cloud or mobile-oriented workflow.
Some Lightroom Classic users have also run into errors after upgrading to macOS Catalina. According to Adobe, Lightroom Classic 8.4.1 will work with macOS 10.15 Catalina, but users should expect some compatibility issues, including:
1. Program crashes while importing from iPhone.
When users are scrolling in the Import window while choosing photos to import in iPhone, the program crashes all of a sudden and restarts. To prevent this from happening, users can first transfer the images manually from the mobile device to the computer, then import them from the computer to Lightroom Classic.
2. Nikon cameras are not detected.
When the Start Tether Capture is turned on, Lightroom is unable to detect Nikon cameras, even though the camera is already switched on. To resolve this issue, disconnect the camera first, turn it off, then turn it back on. Then go to File > Tethered Capture > Start Tether Capture.
Illustrator and Dreamweaver Don’t Work in Catalina
Aside from Photoshop and Lightroom, Illustrator and Dreamweaver are also not doing well after the macOS Catalina upgrade.
1. Illustrator and Dreamweaver crashes.
A lot of users have experienced crashes when using these programs, losing hours of design work. Some users encountered the “Adobe Illustrator CS6.app” needs to be updated error message, which means the app can’t be opened because they are blocked as old apps. Other users tried reinstalling the faulty program, only to find out that the installer doesn’t work as well. Users usually get the Sorry, installation failed. An unknown error has occurred (Error Code:1) error message.
If you can’t run Adobe Dreamweaver, Photoshop, or Illustrator on macOS Catalina, you can try this trick:
- Click on Adobe Photoshop CS6.app, then select Show Package Contents.
- Navigate to Contents/MacOS/Adobe Photoshop CS6.
- Double-click on Adobe Photoshop CS6.
Alternatively, you can run this command from the Terminal:
/Applications/Adobe\ Photoshop\ CS6/Adobe\ Photoshop\ CS6.app/Contents/MacOS/Adobe\ Photoshop\ CS6 ; exit;
Close the window and re-launch the app to see if it works.
2. Illustrator and Dreamweaver file-saving problems.
Users who were able to run Illustrator and Dreamweaver also experience issues, such as being unable to save files or change the file type in the Save As dialog. Some users who are able to save their files can’t see the newly saved file after closing the program, but the file appears when Illustrator or Dreamweaver is opened.
3. Weird requests for permissions.
After upgrading to Catalina, some Illustrator users are getting permission requests, asking for access to their contacts, calendars, and other information that is not necessary for the program to work. Other users even encountered requests for permission to record their screens. Just ignore these permissions because they should not affect how these programs work.
4. Plug-ins not working.
Some plug-ins related to Adobe Illustrator and Dreamweaver, such as the Illustrator to Keynote plug-in , stopped working after upgrading to Catalina. If the plug-ins you are using no longer work, you might need to find alternatives that are compatible with macOS Catalina.
Why Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver Are No Longer Supported in Catalina
One of the main reasons why some apps do not work well with macOS Catalina is because the new macOS no longer supports 32-bit applications. Although most of these apps can be upgraded to 64-bit, they still use 32-bit components that are blocked by Catalina, causing these programs to not work properly.
Apple has already announced as early as two years ago that it will no longer support 32-bit applications in its future updates to focus more on 64-bit apps that are faster and more efficient. Starting with High Sierra and Mojave, Apple has started giving warnings whenever users install or use 32-bit apps. Now, the release of macOS Catalina has signaled the death of 32-bit apps.
With the end of support for 32-bit apps, and even 64-bit apps that rely on 32-bit components, Adobe users are faced with limited options.
The first option is to stay with macOS Mojave. They can continue using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver without having to worry about compatibility issues. This advice applies to creators and designers who rely on these apps for their work. However, not upgrading to Catalina is only putting off the inevitable. As technology advances, the death of 32-bit apps is already set. You can only stall for so long and you’ll have to upgrade eventually.
Another option is to switch to the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite for a monthly subscription fee. You can enjoy all your Adobe apps regardless of what operating system you are using because everything is on the cloud. You can choose from individual, business, students and teachers, and school and universities plans. The cheapest plan, Photography plan (20GB) includes Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, and 20GB of cloud storage.
The third option is to find an alternative for these apps. Although not as powerful as Adobe, there are a lot of programs that are compatible with Adobe file formats you can use as an alternative.
Moving forward, 32-apps will become obsolete as other operating systems start to follow Apple’s footsteps. The best option would be to adapt to these new trends as soon as possible. But if you haven’t found an alternative for your favorite Adobe products yet, you might want to hold off updating to Catalina while you try to find better options.