Music notation software and macOS Sierra (updated)


The official release of macOS Sierra (Mac OS X 10.12) is Tuesday, September 20, 2016. The golden master version — the same build that will be released to the public — was made available to developers on September 15.  While it includes new features like Siri integration and deeper integration with Apple Watch, Messages and iCloud, on this blog we’ll keep tabs on its compatibility with music notation software.

Please share your experience using any of these products in the comments section, and we’ll continue to update this post as warranted.

Updated September 22, 2016 at 11:10 am with information about Sibelius compatibility.
Updated October 6, 2016 at 2:08 pm with information about MuseScore compatibility.



Avid’s Joe Pearson has said (updated September 22):

We’ve completed our testing on the latest builds of macOS Sierra and I’m pleased to say that we’ve found Sibelius runs well. All users are recommended to update to Sibelius 8.4.2 which contains a fix for an issue we discovered in Sibelius’ video window when running on Sierra. [Application Manager] also been tested and fully qualified. Please make sure you’re running at least 2.5.9 (the latest version).

Regarding earlier Sibelius versions, Joe said:

As for legacy versions of Sibelius, we have not performed any official testing, but anecdotally I can say that older versions of Sibelius launch and I’ve been able to work with them. They are relatively quite stable, although I have seen crashes that would cause a user to lose work.

This information is also reflected in Avid’s knowledge base article.

In summary, Sibelius 8.4.2 is supported on Sierra. Versions of Sibelius such as 7.5.1 and earlier should run but are not officially supported, and will not be updated further.


In a blog post from September 15, MakeMusic has said:

We have confirmed that Finale v.25, Finale 2014.5, and Finale 2014d work well in the upcoming OS, as does Finale PrintMusic 2014.5 and 2014.

We are aware of two issues. Palettes do not resize properly, and the SmartMusic Markers utility (found only in Finale) will crash. (This doesn’t impede your ability to save SmartMusic accompaniments.) While we will address both issues in an upcoming free-of-charge update to Finale v.25, there will not be updates to any 2014 or 2014.5 apps.

MakeMusic’s entry-level NotePad and SongWriter products cannot be installed in the new OS and do not run properly on updated systems. MakeMusic has notified Apple of these incompatibilities, but do not anticipate that they will be addressed.

Users of these products, whether on Mac or Windows, can take advantage of discounts to trade-up to PrintMusic. The price for NotePad users is $69.95 and the price for SongWriter users is $49.95. Promo codes are required (follow the links in this paragraph) and the offer expires on October 17. Since NotePad is a free product, this effectively equals a $50 discount on PrintMusic for a limited time.

Additional information is found in this MakeMusic knowledge base article.

Earlier versions such as Finale 2012 and 2011 are not supported, and MakeMusic said:

While migrating the software over from a previous version of the Mac operating system (in other words, having them installed before updating) may keep them installed, we do not expect them to work properly on 10.12. We would expect you to experience issues like crashing on playback (trying to deactivate Human Playback [MIDI/Audio > Human Playback > None] may help with this), cut-off menu items, etc.


MuseScore 2.0.3 users reported one problem upon upgrading to Sierra, where the score view turned solid black.

An update to MuseScore will fix this problem. MuseScore’s Nicolas Froment said:

The release for MacOS is exactly like MuseScore 2.0.3 but it contains 2 fixes:

  • The black screen or black page bug is fixed
  • For retina displays, the icons are now better looking

And this is it! You can safely upgrade to if you run MacOS Sierra or not.


Steinberg’s in-development new Dorico software has not been released to the public yet. A Q4 2016 release is expected and closed beta testing is currently underway.

In a post from June on the public Dorico forum, Steinberg’s Daniel Spreadbury said:

Our plan is that Dorico will be compatible with and supported on whatever are the current versions of macOS and Windows at the time of its release, in line with Steinberg’s general practice of operating system support.

Regarding support for earlier operating systems, he said:

Officially, Steinberg only lists the latest versions of the operating systems as compatible, but in practice, I expect you will be able to run Dorico on 64-bit Windows as far back as Windows 7, and on Mac, as far back as OS X 10.9 Mavericks. That could change if we run into any specific problems on those older operating systems, but at the moment that is what I expect.

However, if you run into incompatibilities with older operating systems, you may well find that our support team advises you to upgrade to a newer operating system rather than being able to dig into the problem in huge detail. Using older operating systems is to some extent at your own risk.

Regarding currently available products, Steinberg said on September 12: “We are about to test our current line-up of products on macOS Sierra. Therefore we strongly recommend waiting with the update to macOS Sierra until the entire compatibility chart for all Steinberg products has been published, especially if you rely on a trouble-free operation of our products.”


  1. Alan Humphrey

    Pleased to have found your site. Look forward to using it regularly!

  2. Fabian

    Hey Philip,
    great article! Thank you for the summarized information.
    I am running Sibelius First 7 (latest Version, 7.1.3; still available on AVIDs Website) for Mac and wonder, if I can run it on the new macOS Sierra without big hickups.
    Do you have any information for me, as I am desperately searching the web and couldn’t find any. Thanks man!

  3. Christophe

    Content de voir qu’ils ont été plus rapides pour rendre sibelius compatible avec Sierre qu’avec El Capitan

  4. Michael

    Hi guys –

    I’m running Sibelius 6 (I know it’s outdated, but I’ve used it for years without any major obstacles or shortcomings).

    I updated to Sierra last night, and my Sibelius files are wrecked. My biggest issue is with fonts… All of the fonts– lyrics, measure numbers, tempo text have shrunk down to smallest possible sizes, and I’m in the middle of a huge project right now, so I NEED these working.

    Do you have any ideas of how to fix this without reverting back to El Capitan?

    Thanks. I’m hoping someone else has this same issue – it’s made my current project unworkable.

    1. Marc

      Same problem, except I’m running Sibelius 6 Student version. In the middle of several major projects and font sizes won’t change!

    2. Paolo

      Maybe reinstalling Sibelìus’ fonts, and/or selecting the House Style fonts again can fix the issue?

    3. Mark Tatlow

      Did you manage to solve this problem, with out reverting to El Capitan?
      I have exactly the same experience

      1. Philip Rothman

        I have the same problem with Sibelius 6, and haven’t found a fix yet, I’m afraid.

      2. Philip Rothman

        I downloaded and ran the font cache cleaner in Onyx: and now everything looks normal again in Sibelius 6.

    4. Paolo

      I’ve just tried witha fresh copy of Sierra installed on an external disk, and Sibelius 6.2 with several of my existing files. After installing the Opus fonts, everything worked fine.

      I didn’t try with updating from Yosemite to Sierra, just because I fear I can find your same issues when updating. But starting fresh seems to work just fine.

  5. Isaac Weiss

    Just a note that there was a compatibility problem found for MuseScore 2.0.3 and Sierra, where a miswritten setting would cause the score view to be solid black. This has been patched. Mac users are advised to update to MuseScore before upgrading their operating system

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Isaac! I’ve updated the post.

  6. Ralf

    So it´s possible to run Sibelius 6 on a new (Sierra) Mac without problems?
    Thanks for your tipps!

    1. Don

      Ralf, Did you run into problems running your Sibelius 6 on Sierra? I’m trying to get the courage to upgrade from Yosemite to macOS Sierra without wrecking my Sibelius 6.2 files. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

      1. Don

        I actually am running a pre-Yosemite version on my Mac. It is running OS X 10.9.5.

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