Rogue Amoeba’s apps updated for M1 – With a catch

Jason Snell:

I love Rogue Amoeba’s audio apps and rely on them every day. Audio Hijack is the best. Loopback is a vital tool when I’m streaming video live.

With you on this, Jason. I use Audio Hijack every week to record The Dalrymple Report. It is lightweight, easy to use, and let’s me customize my recording process precisely.

This year, though, Apple made some major changes to how audio on macOS is handled, and that required major changes to ACE, the engine that enables most of Rogue Amoeba’s apps. The company managed to get versions supporting Big Sur out just before the official release of the operating system, and today it posted beta versions that work with M1 Macs.

I wanted to do this week’s podcast from my new M1, but ran into a brick wall trying to run Audio Hijack. It put up a “this won’t work” alert when I launched it. Feh.

But good news on the new M1 beta versions. But, as Jason says, there’s a catch:

There is one big caveat, however, and it’s all down to Apple’s increased focus on security. To install an app like ACE, which requires a system extension to function in Big Sur, you have to reboot. That’s not great—rebooting to install software feels very 1990s to me—but at least it’s palatable.

On M1 Macs, though, the situation intensifies. Before you can reboot to enable ACE, you first have to reboot into Recovery Mode in order to tell the system to allow extensions. Then you have to change a setting from “Full Security” to “Reduced Security,” and check a box allowing kernel extensions from identified developers.

I’ve jumped through these hoops, and they are both intimidating and cryptic. Neither are Rogue Amoeba’s fault. If I want to use Audio Hijack, I have to jump through the cryptic hoops, and trust that it’s OK to accept “reduced security”.

I get it. I just hate that this is where we’ve landed. And, hopefully, I’ll be using Audio Hijack to record this week’s podcast.