Sims 3 ‘Unknown Error’ fix – El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Late Night, Ambitions, Fast Lane and Outdoor Living

This is the biggest Mac/Sims 3 issue at the moment, apart from the unsupported graphics cards issue which EA STILL haven’t fixed after nearly 4 years…

The Unknown Error is a magical mix of Late Night/Ambitions/Fast Lane/Outdoor Living trying to be installed onto a Mac running macOS 10.11 El Capitan, 10.12 Sierra or 10.12 High Sierra. It’s that simple. We have a thread running over at AHQ where people are posting about it and yesterday a rather super person called coreylamalva414 posted a solution which appears to actually work (go and show him some love if it works for you 💚). His instructions can be found here.

Edit – coreylamalva414 has uploaded a very helpful video to walk you through the fix:

Edit: I have to just make one thing clear here, this Unknown Error issue is very specific to El Capitan/Sierra/High Sierra/Late Night/Ambitions/Fast Lane/Outdoor Living, there are plenty of other reasons why you may be getting the Unknown Error issue. If you do not have one of these operating systems or packs  installed then please do not ask me for help on this page as it is irrelevant. There have always been issues running the game on a Mac and if you have a post-2013 Mac with unsupported Intel/AMD graphics then the game is not technically compatible so getting the game to actually run smoothly would be a miracle.

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53 thoughts on “Sims 3 ‘Unknown Error’ fix – El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, Late Night, Ambitions, Fast Lane and Outdoor Living

  1. Blomms

    Hey Bluebellflora,

    I just installed The Sims 3 on my Mac and faced all the problems that other users had.
    My game had graphic issues (fixed that with your workaround and uninstalling EP10), as well as the debugging error.
    I don’t think that there is an official solution for that yet, but I think I have found one!
    I went into my documents and changed the ‘Electronic Arts’ folder to ‘_lectronic Arts’.
    Then I started the game. The Settings will be reset and a compete new game has been started. I set all settings to Medium except for Sim details, which I set to high, then saved and quit.
    A new The Sims 3 folder will appear in Documents, but not within an extra EA folder.
    I copied all my downloads, saves, etc. into the new folder. The only thing was, that I had to redownload all my installed content ( all from EA, no CC ).
    All trouble stopped, game is working fine and no crash in hours, nor debugging error. 🙂

    Hope that helps many others!

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    1. BluebellFlora Post author

      Thanks but that is the same as moving out the Sims 3 folder from Documents > Electronic Arts which is well documented on almost every Sims site and forum (I’ve covered it here). The user’s graphics settings will also be dependent on which Mac they have so whereas you have almost all settings on medium, some can play on high and some have to play on low. Also, you didn’t have to download your store stuff again you could have just gone into your old Documents > Electronic Arts > The Sims 3 > Downloads and copied over the items (that’s where they are downloaded to). They would show up in the Launcher where you can install them into the game again, no need to re-download 🙂 The Unknown Error message has been around since the game was launched in 2009 and can pop up for a myriad of different reasons. This article however is very specific to El Capitan/Sierra/LateNight/Ambitions.

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      1. Blomms

        I wasn’t aware of that haha and Ive been trying to figure this out for days. And I did copy them all into the new folder, however I did have to re download them all again. Thought I’d just leave it here because maybe it will help somebody like it helped me 🙂

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      2. Hjommd

        Thank you for advice, BluebellFlora. I’ve tried the method they describe in the link to the post byascoreylamalva414 you gave us, it did work! One thing could be clearer, perhaps, if you only have one EP installed (like Ambitions) the copied folder then should be placed within the Sims 3 app, and with in that at the same location ascoreylamalva414 describes in her post in your link. Perhaps it is self-evident but I didn’t get it at my first try.

        It raises the question if the original folder could be erased once you’ve copied it? I mean it is more than 2 GB, so having two such folder take up a lot of space. Have you tried?

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    2. Zenith

      Hey Flora first of all great blog! I read through all your posts and I am not sure if my problem belongs to “Unknown Error”: I came back to Sims 3 on mac 2 days ago. I downloaded and installed both the base game and the University EP and played smoothly for hours but sometimes it pops up and say there is “an unexpected bug” and asked me if i want to “fix it”. However, whether I choose yes or no the game crashes w/o feedback anyway. After that happened, everytime I restart my mac, I wouldn’t be able to play Sims 3. When I launch the game, it doesn’t simply crash but also restart my macbook (seriously how does an app do this lol). I uninstalled and reinstalled everything but this keeps happening. If you know anything about this I would be really appreciating!

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      1. Zenith

        Okay so I found a weird trick to TEMPORARILY solve this:
        I used an old patch on the game then upgraded it with the most current patch and now it’s working, until the pop-up comes up again. Still this is the most weird bug I’ve ever seen.

        btw if anyone of u uses a macbook I would also like to hear from you regards to how to cools down the macbook while playing, so the fan is not loud as f*$k lol

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        1. BluebellFlora Post author

          Make sure your Mac is elevated so air can circulate underneath or even invest in some kind of cooling pad. Sims 3 is horrific on Macs because of Cider – the game isn’t native to the OS.

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      2. BluebellFlora Post author

        Thanks! Sounds like the debug error which is RAM related. You need to regularly purge RAM before and during gameplay. Although your Mac restarting itself isn’t sounding too good, something must be causing a kernel panic. Have you opened Console to look at any error logs?

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  2. Paul

    Hello BlueBellFlora
    Yesterday I uninstall the game, install it again (from Origin), manually patch it to 1.67, and the damn game runs perfectly, I played for a couple of hours. I went to sleep and today I was trying to open the launcher and it happened: “Unknown Error”, I tried to open the launcher from the App Folder, and it happened, I tried to open it from Origin and again.
    I have MacBook Pro (13 inch, early 2011), 2.3 Ghz Intel Core i5, Intel HD Graphics 3000 384 MB, with Sierra 10.12.
    After two years without playing this, yesterday looked like finally I would be a simmer again, and then, this happened. Can you help me, please?

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      1. BluebellFlora Post author

        Ok. Then I have no idea I’m afraid. It’s probably Sierra as EA stopped supporting the game 3 years ago when OS X 10.9 Mavericks was the current OS. Make sure you have 8Gb RAM in your Mac and purge it frequently. If you’ve added CC then remove them and try a vanilla game. Two mods which may actually be helpful are Overwatch and ErrorTrap from NRaas 🙂

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  3. caitlinridsdale

    i have just the base game installed and origin wont even open the launcher i have tried uninstalling reinstalling loading the patch but it still wont work saying unexpected error occurred… what now?

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    1. BluebellFlora Post author

      I can’t help you unless I know more about your Mac and which version of macOS you’re running. You don’t need Origin to play the game, just to install it. Have you tried launching it from within your Applications folder?

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  4. caitlinridsdale

    sorry 🙂
    my mac is a 2011 model and is running 10.12 Sierra.
    yeah i also tried that no luck 😦 is it worth installing windows on my mac and playing it that way? i read that Sierra is the problem?

    thank you 🙂

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    1. BluebellFlora Post author

      iMac? 13″ MacBook Pro? 15″ MacBook Pro? 11″ MacBook Air? 13″ MacBook Air? Mac mini? Mac Pro? MacBook?

      Sims 3 always runs the game better in Windows because it is native.

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  5. Ashley

    I’m hoping you can help me! I recently wiped my Mac and everything has been updated to Sierra 10.12.3. I have successfully downloaded TS3, however when I go run the program it won’t open at all. It will give me the message “The application ‘The Sims 3’ is not open anymore.” I have fully uninstalled and reinstalled the game many many times but it hasn’t seemed to help any. One of the last times I’ve tried to reinstall the game and run it, it would have the big square with the plumbob, then go to a black screen as if it was going to run. Then it would disappear and return to the desktop background. I called customer support thinking they could help me, but everything they suggested (and guarantee would work) hasn’t worked. Ive used the super patch, updated the game, fixed the patches and it still won’t run. Is there anything you suggest or should I wait to see if this issue gets fixed in the future? It seems that I’m one of the only people this is happening to. Could it also be because I don’t have enough RAM to even open the game? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    Details on my Mac:
    macOS Sierra Version 10.12.3
    iMac (21.5-inch Mid 2011)
    Processor 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5
    Memory 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
    Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6770M 512 MB

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    1. BluebellFlora Post author

      It’s happening to pretty much most people who are running Sierra and then install the game. If the game is already installed and the Mac is upgraded to Sierra there is a better chance of the game working. You have enough RAM although upgrading to 8Gb anyway would be a good idea. The game has not been updated since January 2014 so is not technically compatible on newer Macs with unsupported hardware (yours is supported) or any versions of macOS post OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

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  6. Ashley

    Thank you for your insight!! Its just frustrating that I tried for 3 days to get this game to wok and find out that the game really isn’t ‘supported’ with Sierra. How would I go about bootcamping my Mac?

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    1. caitlinridsdale

      no worries Ashley. if you type into your spotlight Bootcamp Assistant it should come up. you will need.
      1. A copy of microsoft Windows ( im currently using Windows 7 64 Bit)
      2. At least a 8-16gb USB or CD

      As long as you have the CD/USB and a windows software disk your all set. There is youtube tutorials if you need an extra hand like i did.
      I found this tutorial great! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S5YM-TQ-nc&t=134s

      Good luck 🙂

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  7. Imay

    Hi BluebellFlora,

    Thanks so much for this, your blog has been a great help for running Sims 3 on a Mac (I have a 2011 Mac so it’s technically compatible with Sims 3 but is very old and so struggles a bit).

    I was having this problem (unknown error), and followed your link to coreylamalva414’s post. The first time I tried it, it didn’t work, but after scrutinising my folders I realised it wasn’t just Ambitions and Late Night missing but also Outdoor Living Stuff and Fast Lane Stuff. After copying those folders over the game launched.

    So anyway, I’m just posting this to a) say thank you and b) recommend anyone trying this fix double checks that ALL their installed packs are present as it may not be just Late Night and Ambitions that are the problem.

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  8. Bette

    Hi, I have both ambitions and late night, and this solved my problem, so now I can actually get to the launcher. But now another problem has occurred, when I press “play” nothing happens and sims just closes, and I don’t know what to do.

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  9. Eden

    First off can I say how much your blog has helped me as a mac simmer! I have a problem with my game. I have the base game downloaded aswell as late night (which you helped me fix with the video), generations, pets, and world adventures. When ever I try to download another expansion pack such as Seasons, ITF, Island Paradise, Supernatural, and Showtime it gives me the stupid error message! I had downloaded all these games on my macbook but decided to switch to my imac for better graphics. All these games worked on my macbook however. When I try to download sims 3 seaons (for example) the icon that shows up when the game is opening up is seaons itself. I am not sure If I am supposed to copy the seasons folder and put it in itself?
    I tried to explain this the best I can, thanks for your help. If you could do a video on what to do to fix my problem that would mean the world to me!

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      1. Eden

        Am I supposed to copy the entire folder and replace it entirely or am I supposed to do something else with the folder?

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  10. Cienna

    When I am downloading it, do I install them from oldest to newest? Also is it possible to link me to a video where the person shows how to fix the problem that Eden is having because im also having the same problem.

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      1. Cienna

        Thanks for your help! One more question, When I am installing Seasons (for example) the error message pops up. I have watched the video but have been stumped at my sistuation. The seasons icon shows up with the unknown error message. I have tried to install EP’s afterwards that do not have the unknown error effect but seasons always overrides it. I am not sure what to do in this situation though!

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  11. Anna

    I just bought a Macbook Pro, which runs Sierra. I can play the game, but after around 20 minutes it crashes, goes to the desktop and says “Undhandled page default on read access to 0x00000014 at address 0x1028e14b. Do you wish to debug it?”.
    Does anyone know if there is a solution to this?
    I tried a couple of things, but nothing works…. Is it impossible to play on newer macs?

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  12. Vanina Belen Greco

    Hello,
    I need help, I just downloaded the Sims3 game from Origins, I bought the starter pack with the base game and Late Night.
    When I start the game it shows the Unkown error message.
    I tried the fix explained here, changing the Graphic Card files and everything, but it dit not work.
    Also, the expansion game late night, that supposedly came on the starter pack is not showing anywhere, not even on the Add on folder showed here https://bluebellflora.com/sims-3-packs-not-showing-as-installed/
    Can you please help me?
    Details of my system:
    MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2015)
    MacOS Sierra 10.12.6
    1,6 GHz Intel Core i5
    Memory 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Graphics Intel HD Graphics 6000 1536 MB

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