RootsMagic 7 On A Mac – Issues and Fixes

RootsMagic 7 runs on many, but not all, Mac operating systems.

Mac users don’t get every RootsMagic 7 feature available in Windows, but the missing few may be of no interest to you. This article describes these features, and some simple workarounds to get the same benefits on a Mac.

Both Windows and Mac users may experience sporadic error messages or hanging applications. We have some advice and potential fixes in this article. And some links to find answers to specific RootsMagic problems on a Mac.

Does RootsMagic 7 Run On A Mac?

RootsMagic 7 runs on many Mac versions by using a Windows emulator included in the Mac installation. Some features are not available, such as To-Go and GenSmarts integration.

RootsMagic does not currently have a native Mac application. They use software from another company that allows the Windows version to run on a Mac operating system.

The next major upgrade to RootsMagic is expected to include a separate install that runs directly on the Mac. RootsMagic 8 is not yet available – this article discusses when RootsMagic 8 may be released.

Does RootsMagic 7 Work On Big Sur?

The latest macOS is Big Sur which was released in late 2020. The latest version of RootsMagic 7 will run on Big Sur.

If you already have RootsMagic 7 on your Mac, you must do a complete reinstall of an upgraded version of the software. Your family tree databases should not be affected. But you need to remove RootsMagic 7 and the “old” emulator from your machine before downloading and installing the latest version. There are full instructions here on the RootsMagic support.

Does RootsMagic 7 Work On Catalina?

RootsMagic 7 will install and run on the Catalina macOS.

When Apple rolled out Catalina in late 2019, all applications needed to be 64-bit to run on the new OS. The problem for RootsMagic users was that the third-party wrapper was 32-bit. A 64-bit version of the wrapper wasn’t available until March 2020.

Many RootsMagic 7 users simply chose not to upgrade to Catalina until the wrapper caught up. If you’ve been holding out, then you can come out of the bat-cave and proceed.

RootsMagic 7 Features That Are Not Available On the Mac

These RootsMagic 7 features are not available on the Mac:

  • Back up to CD
  • Back up to Dropbox
  • Back up to Google Drive
  • Email reports from Print Preview
  • RootsMagic To-Go
  • GenSmarts integration
  • Legacy family tree import

It’s worth reviewing these features to see if you’ll miss them. Most have a simple workaround. So, you can achieve the same task on your Mac with a few more clicks.

The next sections discuss the missing features in rising order of severity (i.e. if there is a work-around).

RootsMagic Backups To CD, Dropbox or Google Drive – A Simple Fix For Macs

RootsMagic lets you back up your family tree database to a folder on your local machine.

It’s very useful to keep frequent backups when you’re making changes to your tree. You can “undo” mistakes – like deleting an entire branch when you only wanted to remove one person. You can restore the most recent backup into a new (old) version of your tree and work from there.

But local backups don’t protect you from losing your hard drive. It’s a good idea to take period copies of your backup to separate storage. CDs are less common nowadays, but Dropbox or Google Drive are popular cloud storage options.

This also allows you to share your family tree with other RootsMagic users. If you give access to your Dropbox or Google Drive folder, then someone else with RootsMagic can download a copy of your tree.

Windows users can back up directly to CD, Dropbox and/or Google Drive. Mac users miss out on these options. But don’t be too despondent, there’s a simple fix.

Mac workaround to backing up to CD, Dropbox, or Google Drive

The Mac version can’t back up directly to anything other than your local machine. But you just need to take the usual steps to copy a local file to external storage.

This may require a few extra clicks or drag-and-drop. Or you may prefer to set up a regular or continuous sync with additional software.

Emailing RootsMagic 7 Reports – A Simple Fix For Macs

Mac users cannot email a report directly from the Report Viewer screen.

However, you can save the report to file. Then use your email program of choice to send the file as an attachment.

Legacy Family Tree Import Is Not Available For Mac – A Workaround

This section is only relevant if you are looking to move your family tree from Legacy Family Tree into RootsMagic 7 on a Mac.

RootsMagic 7 on Windows allows a direct import from the Legacy software. Your workaround for a Mac is to export/import a GEDCOM file. Note that this doesn’t guarantee that every aspect of your Legacy tree will be preserved.

RootsMagic 7 To-Go Is Not Available For Mac

RootsMagic To-Go installs and runs RootsMagic on a USB drive. This lets you plug your external drive into a different computer and work on your tree away from your home machine.

This was a big deal some years ago, as it allowed you to work on a library computer or at your cousin’s house. But it’s probably less used now. Firstly, many open access computers don’t let you use flash drives for security reasons. And modern laptops are far more portable than they used to be.

There’s no simple fix to get the To-Go software working. You could try running Windows on your Mac – discussed in this section. Or more simply – bring your laptop to the library instead.

And if you’re at a friend’s house without your computer, RootsMagic Essentials is a free download. Your buddy can install RootsMagic and connect to the family tree database that you backed up to Dropbox or Google Drive.

GenSmarts Integration Is Not Available For Mac

GenSmarts is a separate utility that examines your family tree and suggests which archives you should research.

I haven’t used GenSmarts myself. This review gives a relatively recent account of putting it through its paces.

The problem for Mac users is that the GenSmarts software won’t run on a Mac. Hence, it can’t integrate with RootsMagic 7.

As with To-Go, you have the option of running Windows on your Mac – see the next section. A review back in 2011 said that it ran perfectly under Parallels (an emulator) – if you really want to give it a go.

RootsMagic 7 on Virtual Windows on a Mac

There is an alternative way to run RootsMagic on a Mac: create a Windows virtual machine and avoid the bundled emulator.

For this to work, you need to install the virtualization software. VirtualBox is a popular free option, while Parallels or VMware are commercial options.

Of course, you will also need a copy of the Windows operating system. Microsoft usually has 90-day evaluation versions.

I’ve checked the genealogy forums, and there are plenty of Mac users reporting success with this approach.

Using RootsMagic 7 On Both Mac And Windows

The RootsMagic 7 application is the same on the Mac and Windows, and so is the database that holds your family tree. The database technology is SQLite, which runs on both operating systems.

This means that you can transfer or copy RootsMagic data files and backups between a Windows machine and a Mac. The same database will open on both systems.

So if you want to switch from a Mac to Windows or vice versa, you’ll have no problem. And some Mac enthusiasts choose to keep a Windows computer around for working with RootsMagic. This is usually due to experiencing issues with slowness or freezing.

Freezing Issues and RootsMagic on a Mac

Freezing is one of the more common complaints about working with RootsMagic 7 on a Mac. This is where the application won’t respond for a lengthy period of time. Eventually you must restart it.

This problem is certainly not exclusive to the Mac. I have also encountered freezing on a Windows installation. Sometimes I can’t even kill the application using Task Manager. Occasionally I have to reboot my Windows machine to restart RootsMagic.

How often does this happen for me on Windows? Freezing occurs at least once a week. A reboot maybe two or three times since I started using the software. The problem seems to happen more often for me when I’m switching screens.

Some Mac users report on genealogy forums that they never have a problem. Others have complained about frequent freezing.

Internet Access and Freezing

If you’re on a Mac there may be an easy fix for a particular cause. If you find that freezing occurs when RootsMagic is reaching out to the internet, then check your firewall settings.

RootsMagic should be added to the firewall exception list. There are step-by-step instructions here.

Always Try to Force Quit Instead of Shutting Down

If RootsMagic freezes, try to force quit the application instead of rebooting your machine. This gives the operating system a chance to perform some clean-up tasks.

Force Quit is a menu item under the Apple drop-down in the top left corner.

Run RootsMagic Database Tools After A Force Quit Or Shut Down

If you do have to kill RootsMagic or reboot your machine, you should run the RootsMagic Database Tools when you restart it.

Just start at the top option (Database Integrity) and work your way down.

RootsMagic Code Errors on the Mac

Do you get an occasional pop-up error warning you about access violations? Snap, and I’m on Windows. This is not a Mac problem, it’s a RootsMagic problem.

The error occurs most frequently for me when I’m using TreeSync to bring down a family tree from Ancestry. Sometimes four error boxes pop up in a row. Yet the sync process completes successfully.

So I suggest that you don’t worry too much about these errors. Click OK, keep calm, and carry on.

RootsMagic and Wine Gecko Error Messages

RootsMagic 7 needs Wine Gecko in order to run on the Mac. This ensures it can embed HTML within the application windows.

If you see an error message telling you to install Wine Gecko, proceed with the installation. You can usually just press an install button provided by the error dialog, and the install will take its course.

Getting Help And Support For RootsMagic On A Mac

You have quite a lot of good options if you’re stuck on a technical issue.

Online Forum

There is a dedicated bulletin-board style forum for RootsMagic Mac users.

Do you think a BB board is a little old-skool? This is RootsMagic you’re dealing with – the app with a 20th century-looking interface.

If you’ve encountered a problem, the odds are that some other Mac user has been there before you. Use the Search feature to find previously answered questions. You don’t need to be a member to use the search facilities and browse the threads.

And if you strike out, join up and post a question. There are seasoned Mac veterans in there alongside support staff from RootsMagic.

I’ve noticed forum members commenting that fewer people are hanging out in this Mac forum. I suspect that this is partly due to the rise of Facebook.

RootsMagic Facebook Group

There are lots of people posting questions in the RootsMagic Facebook group.

You do have to send a request to join the group. The application form asks a very difficult question – something like “why do you want to join this group?”. Just don’t forget to answer it, so that your request can end up with an admin.

Do a quick search for your problem. Searching on Facebook is nowhere near as effective as on most forums. So post your technical question if you can’t see a helpful result to your search queries.

If you want to hang out with the cool FB kids, my advice is: don’t ask when RootsMagic 8 will be available (you can read my article for answers here). I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek – it’s just that the question is asked so often that the regulars get slightly peeved when they see it for the umpteenth time…that day.

RootsMagic Support

The RootsMagic knowledge base is a good repository of instructions and tips. This link will pull up Mac related topics.

If you’re a paid customer, you can get direct technical support via an online Chat system.

Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

2 thoughts on “RootsMagic 7 On A Mac – Issues and Fixes”

  1. Thank you so much for this very complete article! I am preparing to dip my toes into the water – I’m hearing so many good things about RootsMagic that I want to use RootsMagic on my Mac. It looks to me like this article will be my go-to resource as I begin the transition!

    I very much appreciate the work you have gone to in gathering all this information, and your willingness to share it!!


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