Is Apple Going to Auto Convert Your Legacy Media?

by Larry Jordan

Earlier today, Richard W. sent me this question: “Something came up that I [need explained.] …The auto-update on my MacBook Air Mojave prompted me to update iMovie from version 10.1.1 to 10.1.11 with the curious message: ‘Detects media files that may be incompatible with future versions of macOS and converts them to a compatible format…. I really hate the idea of any software converting my media files without my clear understanding and approval so I didn’t update this iMovie software… I wonder if you know anything about this?”

Yes, and it is critically important that you understand the answer. Apple has deprecated all codecs based on QuickTime 7. If you upgrade to the next version of macOS AFTER Mojave, media using these codecs WILL NOT PLAY and CANNOT be converted! In other words, if you ignore this warning and upgrade, you are screwed. (Here’s an article that explains what is happening.)

What Apple has done, before the next OS upgrade, is provide a conversion utility in Final Cut, iMovie, Compressor, and Motion that recognizes these out-of-date codecs and converts them into something more future-proof; specifically ProRes 422. What this feature does is recognize when you’ve opened media which will soon be obsolete and gives you the ability to convert it. This conversion is NOT automatic, nor behind-the-scenes. You have to click OK for the conversion to occur. However, if you DON’T convert your media, you will not be able to upgrade to the next version of macOS. (Here are two articles illustrating this conversion process in Final Cut Pro X and Compressor. Compressor is more flexible.)

Please, to prevent future problems, read my background article above and these newer ones showing how this process works. Because, once you upgrade macOS, you can’t go back and you can’t play your older media. Also, if you are debating what to do, please turn OFF automatic updating of your system. Here’s an article that explains how. This will prevent unexpected, and unpleasant, surprises.

And of course, backup your data, just in case!

About James DeRuvo 801 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

1 Comment

  1. Just because Apple says a format is obsolete in THEIR view, we have to deal with this FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). What about ffmpeg? Also, you might have Squeez lying around, or an old version of AME … There are many options for dealing with media formats that Apple’s offerings that handle far more formats than Compressor and aren’t being deprecated.

    Remember, data is just bytes. The only problem that you will run into is if you no longer have the software to understand those bytes. It’s not magic and I really wish that this whole “your media is being deprecated because Apple wants to reduce their development overhead” would go away. Just because Apple no longer support OS X 10.10 doesn’t mean that it – and all of it’s associated apps – stop working.

    From what I have learned, this will only affect you in a negative manner IF you are locked into an Apple-only M&E production environment. If you keep old software around, you’ll continue to be able to use the formats that that software understands.

    Stop with the scare tactics, Apple. You’re not even giving us useful hardware anymore, why should we care that you’ve decided that you don’t like the taste of a media format?

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