Microsoft's axeman cometh for OneDrive sync app on older versions of macOS

Bye Sierra

Microsoft is wielding the axe on the OneDrive sync apps for older versions of macOS and will focus only on the three most recent incarnations from September onwards.

Affected are macOS Sierra 10.12 and macOS High Sierra 10.13. The former was released in 2016 and dropped out of support in 2019. The latter turned up in 2017 and Apple stopped supporting it in November 2020, less than a year ago.

High Sierra holds a special place in our grinchy vulture hearts, featuring as it did an impressive vulnerability that allowed a user to enter a username of "root" with a blank password and eventually gain administrative rights to an innocent Mac. What larks!

A rosy-cheeked Apple patched the problem, and we imagine a collective sigh of relief went up from Cupertino when High Sierra was chopped in November 2020.

Apple's own cloud storage service, iCloud, is hard to avoid if one uses an iDevice, but for many enterprises (and a few consumers) the OneDrive sync app is a useful tool and will be missed by customers not on Apple's latest and greatest.

That said, the app will not suddenly stop working on existing systems. Microsoft will simply no longer update or test it. You also won't be able to install it fresh.

There is therefore no guarantee how long it will work past the 10 September cut-off date.

Microsoft's advice is to upgrade macOS to Mojave or Big Sur "for the best user experience and longest support lifecycle." After all, the impending arrival of macOS Monterey, which was shown during Apple's WWDC in June, will mean support for Mojave will be on the line if Microsoft makes good on its promise to only support the current and previous three versions of macOS for OneDrive sync.

There are genuine reasons for users to stick to an older version of macOS: last year's Big Sur, for example, dropped support for iMacs and Mac Minis dating back earlier than 2014 and MacBooks predating 2015. Microsoft, on the other hand, has prided itself on backwards compatibility… right up until the arrival of Windows 11.

The OneDrive sync app on macOS change will affect both business and consumer users. Time to upgrade macOS if you haven't already. And maybe help out poor old Apple by buying some shiny new kit too, if OneDrive on macOS is your thing. ®

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