If you are running macOS Sierra 10.12, or later, on your Mac and have iCloud Drive enabled then you may be having an issue with your saves. Is the game like new again every time you start it up and all your previous progress is gone? This will be because when you set up Sierra – whether as an upgrade, brand new install, or set up a new Mac – you will have been prompted to set up iCloud Drive. If you just ploughed forwards without reading the prompts, accepting everything the setup assistant was asking you (god knows we all do!) you will have set up your iCloud preferences to move your Documents and Desktop folders to iCloud. So every time your game loads it is recreating a brand new Sims 4 user data folder because it cannot find the original.
You can get round this by going into System Preferences > iCloud > iCloud Drive then click on the Options button and uncheck the box next to Desktop & Documents Folders:
This means that your Documents folder will stay localised on your Mac and not be pushed to the cloud. Your game will then happily be able to load your previous save from your Documents > Electronic Arts > The Sims 4 folder.
The following links explain iCloud Drive in more detail:
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 10.13 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. You will also need to check that these packs are showing in your Applications > The Sims 3 folder, if not then follow this guide on moving the relevant files.
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.
Threads are starting to pop up on the forums with people moaning that their Sims games will not work properly, or at all, since they have updated to macOS Sierra beta. What a surprise! The operating system is in beta which means it will be buggy as hell and apps may not work properly. If you’ve signed up for the public beta it means that you agreed that stuff may not work properly on your Mac under Sierra and you should be reporting bugs and issues to Apple via the Feedback Assistant. You will have also been prompted to use Time Machine to back up your Mac before installing the OS – if you didn’t then give yourself a slap.
If you now can’t play because you opted into the beta program may I suggest you wipe and reinstall El Capitan on your Mac. Alternatively you could install El Capitan/Yosemite/Mavericks onto an external drive and play the Sims on there. Or you could wait until Apple release updates and hope your game works again. Even when Sierra is finally released in a few months time there is no guarantee that EA will support it.
No 3rd party apps are supported under beta versions of any operating systems. Maybe next time stick with the stable OS you are already running?