MacOS is a really important platform for Microsoft Office. Those in Redmond have presented many updates in recent years in an attempt to bring them up to the same level as their Windows 10 counterparts. In fact, new designs and some experimental features have first been released on the Apple platform.
A few days ago, Apple revolutionized the laptop industry by making the jump entirely to ARM. Unlike Microsoft with Surface Pro X, those of the bitten apple have renewed their Mac Mini and all MacBooks with their Apple M1 processor, of their own design and based on ARM. The problem? That almost all applications are designed for x86 processors (typical Intel architecture).
Up to 20 seconds to launch Microsoft Office applications
Apple’s solution to maintain compatibility in the transition between Intel and ARM is through Rosetta 2. It is a translation layer which, when installing applications, transforms x86 instructions into ARM instructions. By not doing the translation in real time, it improves performance, but it has certain limitations.
Microsoft Office applications are affected by these limitations. MacOS users using computers with Apple Silicon chips will see that it takes up to 20 seconds to open during the initial boot. Then the application will start normally. However, after every restart of the Mac, the user will have to face this small wait in order to be able to use their applications.
The first start of each Office application will take longer because the operating system must generate the code optimized for the Apple Silicon processor. Users will notice the apps swinging on the dock for about 20 seconds until this process is complete. The next departures will be quick.
Microsoft says it has adapted its Microsoft Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 applications for MacOS Big Sur, but they continue to rely on Rosetta 2 to run on Apple Silicon processors. The reason is to maintain compatibility with third party plugins and extensions that have not yet adapted to the new ARM architecture.