Sims 4 now works on macOS Catalina – Patch 1.56.52

Update 23/10/19 – EA have today released a patch to fix these Catalina issues – 1.56.55.1220. Make sure your game is up to date.


It’s patch day! And the BEST update is finally a working game in macOS Catalina – rejoice! This isn’t really much of a surprise given the announcement that 10.7 Lion users must not update their game to this patch if they want to carry on playing. It seems that making the game Catalina compatible  breaks it for Lion users, something to do with the ActivationUI file and Lion’s need for it to be in the game files. It’s a shame but Lion is 8 years old now so time to upgrade if you can. If your Mac is stuck at 10.7 Lion then unfortunately it does not meet the minimum hardware requirements for the game as it will be around 10 years old at least.

There are a couple of issues that have cropped up:

Error message – Unable to start: The Sims 4 is already running

  1. Move your Sims 4 folder to the desktop (this resets it back to default settings but all your data is safe in the folder you moved)
  2. Launch the game to the main menu then quit
  3. Open the Sims 4 folder you moved to the desktop then the saves folder. Select all your saves and drag them into the newly created saves folder in Documents > Electronic Arts > The Sims 4
  4. Do the same for the Tray, Mods and Screenshots folders

Game very laggy/game freezing and cursor beach balling  (fixed in Origin patch 11/10/19)

  1. Click on the game in your Games Library in Origin
  2. Click on the little cog under the Play button for Settings
  3. Click on Game Properties and uncheck the box for Enable Origin In Game for The Sims 4

If you are running Lion and have inadvertently updated your game you will need to update it via the Mac App Store. 10.14 Mojave is the current OS level but any version available to you from 10.8 Mountain Lion onwards will work. 10.15 Catalina will be available to all this month as a download from the Mac App Store.

Sims 3 for Mac to get a major update in early 2020

These really are exciting times for Mac Simmers! After EA_David’s announcement that Sims 4 is dropping support for Lion this week, he’s just announced that the Sims 3 is getting a big update. In a nutshell:

  • Sims 3 for Mac will be updated to support 64-bit (finally!)
  • It will also be updated to support Metal (yay!)
  • The update will be through Origin and will require existing users to uninstall their current game and install the new version
  • The update will be free to all users with a currently registered copy of Sims 3 and add on packs in Origin
  • The update is expected to be available in early 2020 although no exact date has been announced yet.
  • Requirements will be a Mac running macOS 10.9 Mavericks or later and be Metal supported.

64-bit information
The upgrade to 64-bit means that Sims 3 will run in macOS Catalina, the first macOS to completely drop support for 32-bit apps, which Sims 3 is. It will hopefully also mean the game should run much better than it ever has. This is because there is virtually no limit to the amount of RAM a 64-bit app can use whilst 32-bit apps can only access up to 4Gb RAM. The current version of the Sims 3 for Mac has only ever been able to use 2Gb RAM and is part of the reason for the frequent crashes and inability to run the game

Metal information
Metal is the graphics API introduced by Apple to replace OpenGL. For more in-depth information have a look at this Apple article. However not all Macs support Metal. The following Macs will be able to run the upcoming version of Sims 3:

  • MacBook models introduced in 2015 or later
  • MacBook Air models introduced in 2012 or later
  • MacBook Pro models introduced in 2012 or later
  • Mac mini models introduced in 2012 or later
  • iMac models introduced in 2012 or later
  • iMac Pro (all models)
  • Mac Pro models introduced in late 2013, plus mid-2010 or mid-2012 models with a recommended Metal-capable graphics card.

If your Mac is not listed above you will not be able to update to the new version of the Sims 3 but will still be able to play the current version.

I’ll keep this site updated with more information as it is released but this is really FANTASTIC news 😀

Sims 4 Lion users – do not update your game

The upcoming patch on 3rd October will no longer support macOS 10.7 Lion. If you are running Lion do not update your game and make sure you turn off automatic updates now. If you update you will not be able to roll back to a previous patch level so your game will be unplayable. EA_David has posted this statement in the Sims Mac forum at Answers HQ.

How to turn off automatic updates in Origin:

  1. Click on Origin in the menu bar then Preferences, or click on your account in the bottom left corner of the Origin client window then Application Settings:
  2. Make sure you are under the Application section and scroll down to Client Update. Turn off Automatic Updates so it looks like this:
  3. You can apply Origin updates but make sure Automatic Updates are disabled after each update. I also have a slightly more in-depth article here about updates.
  4. If you have to reset Origin make sure you disable automatic updates in the log in screen:

Unfortunately this means that Realm of Magic is the last pack Lion users will be able to play as any subsequent packs will need the game to be updated. The obvious workaround to this is to update your Mac to a later version of macOS which you can do through the Mac App Store.

Feel free to ask any questions below. The following related articles may also be of interest:

Installing  macOS on an external drive
Sims 4 minimum and recommended system requirements
Disabling Origin automatic updates and startup
Resetting Origin
Fix for ActivationUI 32-bit file
ActivationUI fix rolled back due to Lion issues