HomeWinBuzzer NewsMicrosoft Brings 64-Bit Office to Mac with Security Update

Microsoft Brings 64-Bit Office to Mac with Security Update

As part of the August update, Microsoft Office 2016 users on Mac will be upgraded to the 64-bit version, resulting in significant performance increases and load times.


Users of on Mac have been reporting slow load times for a while now, and much of that was down to the 32-bit limit. This will no longer be an issue thanks to a security update rolled out yesterday.

The compatibility comes to Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. According to Microsoft, this results in an increase in performance and stability, enabling “new innovative features.”

All license types should receive an update, including  Retail, Consumer, Office 365 Commercial, and Volume License installations. However, those who do not use Microsoft Auto Update will have to download the latest package here.

64-bit Only Build

You may know this already, but applications on Mac can only run as 32-bit or 64-bit, and there is no room for choice. As such, Microsoft Office 32-bit will not be supported going forward. This could mean that some third party applications will break, so be cautious before updating.

If worst comes to worst you can revert to 32-bit using the following instructions:

  1. “Exit all open applications.
  2. Start Safari, and then browse to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=823192 to start the download of the 32-bit installer
  3. Double-click the downloaded package, and then follow the instructions.”

The MAU update won't start rolling out until September, so you still have some time to ensure that everything is in order before you migrate. You can read more about MAU here.

VLSC editions of Office 2016 won't change until November 2016. However, all updater packages following this month will be based on 64-bit builds, so users who update manually or via AutoUpdate will be transitioned.

Check if You're Running 32 or 64 bit

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if updates have applied correctly, or if the performance increase is just placebo. Thankfully, you can verify yourself in activity monitor.

To do this, you can find your Office processes in Activity Monitor and check the “Kind” column. You can also check in terminal by typing  “-N <path of binary>” and looking for the following output:

Mach-O 64-bit executable x86_64: You have a 64-bit binary

Mach-O executable i386: You're still on 32-bit

Mach-O 64-bit executable x86_64
Mach-O executable i386: FAT Binary (compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit processes)

Let us know what kind of performance increases you see in the new version, and be sure to check out Microsoft's full patch notes.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.

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