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Apple Silicon Support

With Apple Silicon hardware being released later this year, what does the path look like for you to get your Electron app running on the new hardware?

With the release of Electron 11.0.0-beta.1, the Electron team is now shipping builds of Electron that run on the new Apple Silicon hardware that Apple plans on shipping later this year. You can grab the latest beta with npm install electron@beta or download it directly from our releases website.

How does it work?

As of Electron 11, we will be shipping separate versions of Electron for Intel Macs and Apple Silicon Macs. Prior to this change, we were already shipping two artifacts, darwin-x64 and mas-x64, with the latter being for Mac App Store compatibility usage. We are now shipping another two artifacts, darwin-arm64 and mas-arm64, which are the Apple Silicon equivalents of the aforementioned artifacts.

What do I need to do?

You will need to ship two versions of your app: one for x64 (Intel Mac) and one for arm64 (Apple Silicon). The good news is that electron-packager, electron-rebuild and electron-forge already support targeting the arm64 architecture. As long as you're running the latest versions of those packages, your app should work flawlessly once you update the target architecture to arm64.

In the future, we will release a package that allows you to "merge" your arm64 and x64 apps into a single universal binary, but it's worth noting that this binary would be huge and probably isn't ideal for shipping to users.

Potential Issues

Native Modules

As you are targeting a new architecture, you'll need to update several dependencies which may cause build issues. The minimum version of certain dependencies are included below for your reference.

Dependency Version Requirement
Xcode >=12.0.0
node-gyp >=7.1.0
electron-rebuild >=1.12.0
electron-packager >=15.1.0

As a result of these dependency version requirements, you may have to fix/update certain native modules. One thing of note is that the Xcode upgrade will introduce a new version of the macOS SDK, which may cause build failures for your native modules.

How do I test it?

Currently, Apple Silicon applications only run on Apple Silicon hardware, which isn't commercially available at the time of writing this blog post. If you have a Developer Transition Kit, you can test your application on that. Otherwise, you'll have to wait for the release of production Apple Silicon hardware to test if your application works.

What about Rosetta 2?

Rosetta 2 is Apple's latest iteration of their Rosetta technology, which allows you to run x64 Intel applications on their new arm64 Apple Silicon hardware. Although we believe that x64 Electron apps will run under Rosetta 2, there are some important things to note (and reasons why you should ship a native arm64 binary).

  • Your app's performance will be significantly degraded. Electron / V8 uses JIT compilation for JavaScript, and due to how Rosetta works, you will effectively be running JIT twice (once in V8 and once in Rosetta).
  • You lose the benefit of new technology in Apple Silicon, such as the increased memory page size.
  • Did we mention that the performance will be significantly degraded?

Have feedback on this post? Let @electronjs know on Twitter.

Need help or found a bug? Contact us.

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