I was disappointed to see that I could no longer run iMovie HD (available here) after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The Finder gave me an error saying, You can’t use this version of the application “iMovie HD” with this version of OS X. You have “iMovie HD” 6.0.3. I was delighted to discover a workaround that works, well, for now. Here’s how.

UPDATE, Sept 2015: Looks like this trick works in El Capitan too.

UPDATE, Nov 2015: Skip straight to Rolando’s comment below for the best solution yet.

iMovie HD error message on Yosemite

I am not sure why the Finder in Yosemite will not launch iMovie HD, which was around during the PowerPC and Intel transition and has a fat binary at its core.

$ file /Applications/iMovie HD.app/Contents/MacOS/iMovie HD
/Applications/iMovie HD.app/Contents/MacOS/iMovie HD: Mach-O universal binary with 2 architectures:
[ppc_7400: Mach-O ppc_7400 executable]

iMovie HD Get Info in Yosemite

With an i386 binary it ought to be fine but apparently it is not. I tried running iMovie HD from the Terminal to see if I could get any details about the error, and I was pleasantly surprised at the results.


From the Terminal, launch iMovie HD like so:

$ /Applications/iMovie HD.app/Contents/MacOS/iMovie HD

You’ll get a bunch of warnings about deprecated API calls that will one day be removed (meaning iMovie HD’s days are still numbered).

iMovie HD Terminal Launch in Yosemite

If you like you can download this two-line script file that will launch iMovie HD for you (assuming it is located as /Application/iMovie HD):

:: Update 4/20/20 – removed this broken link – iMovie-HD.command.zip ::

In the end iMovie HD ran fine. I was able to edit a project and export it as a DV file.


I have no idea if there is some other API lurking in iMovie HD that will cause the computer to crash, but I am happy to have the chance to find out — and keep using iMovie HD!

Font Book cannot run on Yosemite iconI found a few other application such as Font Book that Yosemite’s Finder block from running but run OK with the Terminal hack. I do not know how Apple determines what can and cannot be run. Try it out on other older applications that Yosemite’s Finder blocks you from running. Maybe you will get lucky.