Yes, Office 2019 Will Still Require the Newest MacOS Versions

Posted on August 23, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Uncategorized with 5 Comments

Microsoft just warned its Mac-using Office 365 customers that they will need to upgrade to macOS Sierra (version 10.12) to use Office 2019. Sadly, this news has been widely misreported and misunderstood.

Put simply, we already knew that Office 2019 would require macOS Sierra or newer.

“As of the Office 365 for Mac September 2018 update, macOS 10.12 or later is required to update to the new version of the Office client apps for Mac and receive new feature updates,” a Microsoft support document explains. “Users who do not update to macOS 10.12 or later before the September update will still receive mainstream support and will be able to continue using their current version of Office 365 for Mac.”

Depending on which report you see, you may have understood this to mean that Microsoft is requiring its Mac customers to upgrade to a recent macOS version–Sierra first shipped two years ago, in September 2016—in order to use Office 365.

But that is not the case. The issue here is Office 2019, which Microsoft will apparently soon release. That version of the Office client suite will require macOS Sierra or newer.

First, is this a problem?

I don’t believe so. As with Windows 10, new macOS versions are provided for free to customers and the upgrade rate on Mac is pretty high (if not as high as on, say, iOS). According to Netmarketshare, the usage rate for the versions of macOS that are compatible with Office 2019 is roughly three times that of non-compatible, older versions.

And for those Mac users who won’t—or can’t—upgrade, they can simply continue using Office 2016. That version of the suite will continue getting security updates.

As Microsoft notes, “Office 365 customers remaining on older macOS versions with Office 2016 for Mac will receive mainstream support, but not new Office 365 features.”

Second, is this even news?

No, and this isn’t the first time we’ve heard this requirement. In June, a Microsoft FAQ noted the following.

“Office 2019 for Mac is supported on the two most recent versions of macOS. When a new version of macOS is released, Office 2019 for Mac’s Operating System requirement becomes the then-current two most recent versions at that time: the new version of macOS and the previous version.”

In other words, not news.

But there is some real news here: Microsoft plans to ship Office 2019 to Office 365 customers in September. Previously, we only knew that this would happen by the end of 2018.


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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Yes, Office 2019 Will Still Require the Newest MacOS Versions”

  1. MikeGalos

    In fact, the headline really should be "Yes, Office 2019 Will Still Require a Moderately Recent MacOS Version"

    You have to wonder what user is going to be outraged that using the latest version of an application requires an OS that's been updated at least once in the last two years.

  2. spacein_vader

    So a news article to tell us that news in news articles elsewhere isn't really news?


  3. masterofdesaster

    I think there is an important piece of news here because it seems that Microsoft is still not creating clear boundaries between the perpetual and the subscription license of Office on the Mac.

    At least the impression under Windows is that Office 2019 will be a completley different thing than Office 365. It will contain some of the new features that Office 365 subscribers got since the publication of Office 2016. It is a lifetime license and it will stay basically the same till the next offering of a perpetual license while Office 365 ist continuing to receive new features every month.

    In Office für Windows all mentions of "Office 2016" have been replaced by "Office 365" in the last few months. Which makes sense: For example Word with an Office 365 subscription has a different feature set today than a version of Word that has been bought as part of a Office 2016 perpetual license 2 years ago.

    It seems unclear for me how Microsoft is planning to go forward with Office 2019 and Office 365 on the Mac. If all users of Office 365 with a new macOS version are receiving "Office 2019" in september, that should mean that the Office 2019 perpetual license on the Mac will contain all features of Office 365 till that day.

    But what happens after September? Office 365 subscibers with Office 2019 will continue to receive new features. Buyers of a Office 2019 perpetual license will not? But it is still called "Office 2019" in both cases?

    And to make it more confusing: the new Microsoft statement shows that even "Office 365" will be different after September depending on the macOS version. This is a nightmare for IT support...

  4. rjrocker

    I am running macOS Sierra and I am pretty excited about the upcoming office 2019.

    I am an Office365 user too. Looking forward to see what the Microsoft has to offer in the new version.

    Best Regards

    Riya Benjamin @ Alex Web Hosting