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[32-bit] Sims 3 - Mac Help, Guides and Troubleshooting
[ Edited ]

 The Sims 3 is no longer updated to support macOS or the hardware Apple have used since 2013. Consequently this can result in a lot of issues when trying to get the game to work. Below you'll find various troubleshooting steps and links to all known issues and, where applicable, a workaround or potential fix.


The 5-step guide to installing the Sims 3 on a Mac

 Jump to this post below


Optimal gameplay tips

Jump to this post below


Information you should be aware of:

  1. The current version of the game is 32-bit and therefore will not work in macOS 10.15 Catalina. EA have announced that they are working on a 64-bit version but this has not yet been released. If you want to play The Sims 3 but have updated to Catalina please see your options here.
  2. The Mac version of the game is not natively written for macOS like Sims 1, Sims 2 and Sims 4 are. It is the Windows version of the game 'wrapped' using software called Cider which basically tricks the game into thinking it is running in Windows, an emulator of sorts. This is the root of most problems that users experience and why it is extremely difficult to diagnose and fix any errors in the game. There is a more detailed explanation here.
  3. The Mac version of the game can only utilise up to 2Gb RAM, as opposed to the 4Gb RAM the Windows version can use. This is because the LAA issue that was patched for Windows users was never addressed for the Mac version of the game. This 2Gb limit is why the Launcher causes so many crashes as it uses a large of amount of RAM just to load, especially if you have CC/Mods and Exchange items.
  4. The Mac game is patched to 1.67, not 1.69 like Windows users. Mac users do not have the ability to disable Expansion and Stuff Packs through the Launcher.
  5. Mac users do not need Origin to actually play the game. You need it to download a digital version of the game but that's it. Once downloaded an external installer will pop up guiding you through the installation process. Once the game is installed into your Applications folder you can load it directly from there without having to open Origin.
  6. It is not possible to repair or uninstall the game through Origin, no matter what EA customer support tell you. It is impossible as the option is not, and never has been, available.
  7. The only solution for a proper Simming experience on your Mac is to play it in Windows, the OS which the game was written for. For detailed instructions on how to install Windows on your Mac please read this thread: How to install Windows using Boot Camp

Steps to try if your game will not load, crashes, or displays an error message:

  1. Navigate to the Electronic Arts folder, this time opening The Sims 3 folder. Trash the following files then try loading the game again: 
    • CASPartCache.package
    • compositorCache.package
    • scriptCache.package
    • simCompositorCache.package
    • socialCache.package
  2. Try a new game, without any CC, mods, saves etc. This will help figure out if your install is dodgy or you have corrupted data. Doing this is simple, open your Documents folder then open the Electronic Arts folder. You will see a folder in there called The Sims 3. Drag this to the desktop. DO NOT DELETE IT. This folder holds all your game data like downloaded content, saves and everything precious to your game.
  3. Now, start up your game (it regenerates the folder you just moved) and see if you can play with a new Sim in a new world. Make sure you open CAS and make sure you try out Build/Buy mode. Try playing for at least an hour or so. If that works then the installed game and EPs/SPs is fairly stable so the issue lies somewhere within the folder you moved out. The difficult part is figuring out where the problem is within the data. For an extensive explanation of the files and folders in the Sims 3 folder please read Crin's guide here.
  4. To put your game back to how it was (not working presumably if you had to just do that step!), navigate through to the Electronic Arts folder again and trash the Sims 3 folder the game just recreated. Put your old folder, the one you moved to the desktop, back in it's place. If you want to move back individual files or folders from your moved folder make sure to delete the newly created ones first.

Properly uninstalling the game or an individual Expansion/Stuff Pack:

If all else fails then be prepared to completely uninstall and reinstall your game in an effort to get it working again. Just using the uninstaller is not enough though as it leaves residual files behind which can cause issues with a new install. You must use the uninstaller, if available and not corrupted, and then manually remove the residual files. For full instructions on how to do this successfully please read this page. For uninstalling just an Expansion or Stuff Pack please read these instructions.


Known and common issues:

Click on the issue you are having to be taken to further help and instructions if available.


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