This week Apple released its latest operating system called Catalina (10.15).  We’ve spent weeks testing against the beta and now the generally available operating system.  Overall, SPSS Statistics and Catalina are compatible which is great news. However, there are a few nuances to be aware of depending on which version of SPSS Statistics you have and if you upgrade to Catalina or install SPSS Statistics on Catalina for the first time. Below is what you can expect if you are or will be running Catalina and a bit of helpful advice:

Increased data protections

Apple introduced tighter security in Catalina for the following folders:

  • Documents
  • Downloads
  • Desktop
  • Connected external disks

All versions of SPSS Statistics will be blocked from accessing the above locations. This is true regardless if the application is already installed when you upgrade to Catalina or if you install SPSS Statistics for the first time on Catalina.  In SPSS Statistics file dialogs, when attempting to view files from the above locations, you will see a blank area where files normally display.  For example:

Work around:
You can move your working files to another folder. Or, you can change the folder permissions for the ones above, watch this video to learn how:


In the coming weeks, we will release a Version 26 Fix Pack and a Subscription update. Both of these updates will make this transition easier by requesting folder access during installing which will take care of the folder permissions for you when you run SPSS Statistics.

Notorized applications are now mandatory

Catalina requires all software downloaded from the internet to be officially notorized by Apple.  When you download the installer disk image (.DMG file), the operating system  “quarantines” the DMG to be checked for notarization.
If your current mac already has SPSS Statistics installed and then you upgrade to Catalina, your application will continue to work as normal.  However, if you install any version of SPSS Statistics for the first time on Catalina, you will run into this issue because SPSS Statistics is not yet notorized by Apple.  You may see a warning message such as the following: 

Work around: 
You can run a command to un-quarantine the SPSS Stats installer which will allow it to run properly, watch this video to learn how:

We’ve started the notorization process and expect it to be complete shortly.  Once complete, we will refresh SPSS Statistics V26, the V26 Fix Pack and the Subscription installers for current customers. For Version 25 or earlier, use the work around mentioned above. 

End of support for 32-bit application

Catalina does not support 32-bit applications, only 64-bit applications.   There are three utilities that come bundled with your SPSS Statistics software that are 32-bit and will fail on Catalina:

  • License Authorization Wizard (Version 25 or earlier)

Applications LSDECODE and LSCLEAN are third party utilities and will not get in the way of running SPSS Statistics.  These utilities are typically only needed by IT admins when performing certain diagnostic tests of computers running SPSS software.  However, the License Authorization Wizard (LAW) bundled with SPSS Statistics Version 25 or earlier will be affected because it is still a 32-bit application. Version 26 already comes bundled with a 64-bit LAW.

Note: This issue does not affect SPSS Statistics Subscription customers because this version does not require authorization codes and hence does not come bundled with the LAW.
Work around:
For LSDECODE, run the syntax command “SHOW LICENSE” or run SHOWLIC on the command line for similar output information.  
For LSCLEAN, there is no known work around.
For License Authorization Wizard (version 25 or earlier), download an Interim Fix from the IBM Fix Central website. Below are quick links for the IF’s that are currently available, be sure to read the Tech Note to learn how to apply them:

For the third party utilities, it is uncertain if these will be converted to 64-bit applications in the future.

Where to get help

We hope you find this information helpful as you navigate the impact of Apple’s latest mac operating system release.

12 comments on"SPSS Statistics on Catalina (macOS 10.15)"

  1. Andre Miller October 09, 2019

    Hi there,

    When the Interim Fix for License Authorization Wizard (version 25 or earlier) 64 bits will be made available on the IBM Fix Central website?

  2. IF for SPSS 26 on Catalina?

  3. Hi,
    The Interim Fix for License Authorization Wizard (version 25) doesn`t work for me. I have followed the instructions in the readme file and the terminal says that both patches are successfully installed and completed. Still the License Authorization Wizard won`t run. What to do?

    • Hi Espen –
      If you are a current customer with software support, then login and open a support case here:
      Alternatively, you can get technical questions answered on this forum which is actively monitored:

    • Perhaps you moved the application from the default folder location — I did that and the LAW would quit on start. I looked at the package contents, and it appears that the default location is hardcoded into the LAW. Once I moved it back to the default location, it started fine. If they are in the default location and you see that the app icon still shows the “no” sign over it, as it does for all 32-bit apps, try renaming the app (e.g., add a character), and change the name back to original. That should remove the “no” sign, and allow you to start the LEW. Good luck!

  4. Just updated to Catalina. I have subscription SPSS. Mac doesn’t like libpython2.7dylib, and Any idea how to resolve?

  5. Sabina Bhatta October 14, 2019

    My GradPack 26 for Mac doesn’t run with macOS Catalina. I tried calling IBM (1-800-IBM-7378). The rep directed me to because IBM doesn’t provide phone support for students. This webpage is useless for my concern. Please help! I bought this a month ago for a very specific and urgent need.

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