End of the road for Quicktime Player 7
The transition from 32- to 64-bit technology means the end to oldies-but-goodies like Quicktime Player 7, writes Jason Snell
In another step along the transition to 64-bit apps, Apple has started warning users of 32-bit programs that these would need to be updated or they will stop running. This was news, but it is actually a story long in the making. Last year, Apple warned Mac developers that 32-bit apps would stop running “without compromise” this autumn with the release of the successor to macos High Sierra.
The writing has been on the wall, more or less, since all the way back in 2009 when Apple began its 64-bit transition with the release of Snow Leopard.
But the move to 64-bit apps will have casualties, namely a whole generation of apps that are no longer being updated, but are still used every day by Mac users. No software is forever, but when you lose a whole generation of apps at once it’s a bit more noticeable.
Quicktime Player 7
And then there’s Quicktime Player 7, an app from 2009 that has somehow survived nine years beyond its expiration date. You may not remember, but when Mac OS X Snow Leopard was released in 2009, it introduced the new Quicktime X Player, and Quicktime 7 Player became an optional installation that hid away in the Utilities folder. (Quicktime Player 7 is available for download from Apple at fave.co/2qu4ixj.)
Why would Apple keep an older version of an app around, side by side with the new version? The reason is that Quicktime X didn’t offer many of the features of Quicktime Player 7. In fact, Apple never really implemented large portions of Quicktime itself for 64-bit architectures; as a result, I suspect a lot of apps that rely on the program for their functionality may die or need major overhauls once the 32-bit era officially ends.
There’s no denying that Quicktime Player 7 is a fossil from an ancient era of the Mac. As a player, it’s largely unnecessary – if you hate Quicktime X, consider trying the open-source IINA video player (fave.co/2hxo1jl), written in Swift. But as a quick and dirty video clipping and editing tool,
Quicktime Player 7 is hard to beat – and doesn’t really have a replacement.
Who is still riding this brushed-metal dinosaur? Everyone from podcasters to, oh, Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic. What Apple has done with Preview app – namely make it a swiss army knife of document processing – it did more than a decade ago for multimedia with Quicktime.
In terms of file-saving options, Quicktime 7 is showing its age, but its advanced export options are something to behold. You can replace an MPEG4 movie’s audio track with your own, and re-export the result without re-encoding the video track, by tweaking a few export settings. Yes, if all you want to do is convert or re-encode video, you’d be better off with Handbrake (fave.co/2v2sovp). But there’s something to be said for a simple app with a simple interface that will handle basic tasks like this.
Will you get by when Quicktime 7 dies? Yes, between Handbrake, alternate players, and dedicated audio and video editing apps, you will still be able to do everything you do with that tool now. But in many cases it will be messier, take more time, and generate output of lower quality.
I wish I could hold out hope that someone at Apple really does care about basic tools like this, but the reality is, not only is the Apple that built Quicktime long gone, the Apple that decided to abandon it for 64-bit processors is nine years in the rear view. It was a good run, using a completely deprecated (yet still useful) tool for nearly a decade, but I guess it’s finally time to move on.