Quicken and Lion: Intuit Strikes (Out) Again

| Ted Landau's User Friendly View

So…Mac OS X Lion is due out any day now. Maybe even tomorrow. And my first OS-related hassle, which I have to confront even before updating to Lion on my main Mac…will be to decide what to do about Quicken. I have used Quicken as my financial manager, for better or sometimes worse, since the 1990’s. I remain stuck at Quicken 2007 (the last version that Intuit released). Like an old married couple, we’re comfortable with each other. I put up with its flaws, only occasionally grumbling. Quicken gets the job done for me. It’s reliable. I have no desire to switch to another product at this point.

Too bad for me. Quicken 2007, or any older version, will not run under Lion. Why? Because Quicken 2007 remains a PowerPC program and thus requires Apple’s Rosetta software to run on Intel Macs. Unfortunately, Apple is not supporting Rosetta in Lion. So, after upgrading to Lion, it’s adios to my old Quicken.

There is a small window of hope. Aaron Patzer, VP/GM of Intuit’s Personal Finance Group, previously told TMO’s Dave Hamilton that “Intuit is working closely with Apple …to possibly embed specific Rosetta libraries into Quicken For Mac 2007.” Intuit will let us know by “the end of this summer” if this will actually happen or not.

I’m sorry, but I can’t wait that long to take action. I’ve known about this Rosetta business for months. I’ve procrastinated too long already. It’s time to bite the bullet. Besides, given Intuit’s poor track record regarding support for the Mac, I’m skeptical that we will ever see this vapor-product anyway. 

How does Intuit suggest I resolve my dilemma? Its primary recommendation is for me switch to Quicken Essentials for the Mac. And this is what I will probably do — hoping for the best. I’ve resisted this switch thus far because I’m anxious that, in the end, I will not be satisfied with Essentials. As Intuit itself admits, Essentials is missing some key features found in Quicken 2007 — most notably, you cannot pay bills from within Essentials. On the up side, as of version 1.5, you can at least print checks with Essentials (addressing a critical prior concern of mine).

Intuit offers two other alternatives for Quicken 2007 users. If you like to live in the clouds, you can use the company’s mint.com service. Otherwise, if you’re willing to run Windows on your Mac, you can use the full-featured Windows version of Quicken. Neither option appeals to me. It’s pretty much Essentials or a non-Intuit product.

In considering Essentials, its feature limitations are not my main concern. What makes me most anxious about moving to Essentials is that it’s a one-way street. If you decide you don’t like Essentials after trying it out for awhile, there’s no going back. Or going anywhere at all. Never mind about the Lion/Rosetta problem. Even if that did not exist, you still couldn’t get your data to go from Essentials back to Quicken 2007. Why? Because Essentials does not include QIF file export and thus does not offer a way to export your data back to Quicken 2007 — or to any other competing product (such as iBank, a popular alternative that received a 5/5 rating here at TM0).

It gets still worse. While you can export Quicken 2007 data to Essentials under Snow Leopard (I’ve already tested this out and it works fine), you can’t do the export after you’ve upgraded to Lion — because the necessary converter software won’t run under Lion! For the same reason, if you want to export you Quicken 2007 data to iBank (an iBank video tutorial shows you how), you better do it before upgrading to Lion. [Note: Be careful about moving your data to iBank; I have read a few reports (such as in a ZDNet article) that the Quicken data may get mangled.]

Bottom Line

As of now, if you update your Mac to Lion before first exporting your data from Quicken 2007, your data is toast — unless you have access to another Mac that contains Quicken and runs an older version of Mac OS X. Further, if you transfer your data to Quicken Essentials, you better hope you like it — because there’s no exit route.

Intuit’s position here is indefensible. Plain and simple.

The first Intel Macs were released in January of 2006. Intuit has had five and half years to either upgrade Quicken 2007 to a robust Intel-compatible program or come out with an entirely new program that compares favorably with the Windows version of Quicken. They have chosen to do neither.

Apple announced the forthcoming release of Mac OS X Lion in October 2010, around nine months ago. Why is Intuit apparently just now trying to figure out a solution that allows Quicken 2007 to run under Lion? Why must we wait to the “end of the summer” to find out if such a solution will even see the light of day? Why couldn’t they have had made a decision and informed us about it weeks ago? And why can’t they at least provide a converter that allows a Quicken 2007 to Essentials transfer under Lion?

Intuit has always made Mac users feel like second-class citizens — compared to how it treats Windows users. Now Intuit has gone a step further — treating Mac users with a disregard that comes close to contempt. If Intuit cares at all about maintaining their Mac user base, they sure have a strange way of showing it.

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and what are they planning on doing with TurboTax come the end of the year?


I too have the Quicken problem & am very hesitant to support a company that provides so little.to the Mac community. I am currently using a trial copy of iBank and keeping double books until the trial period runs out or I update to Lion.


My decision was easy.  I’m running Windows 7 via VMware.  Quicken / Quickbooks and some corporate software is really the only reason I still use Windows.

Intuit has essentially given up on doing anything with Apple as far as I’m concerned.  I tried Mint.com as a potential replacement, but found it a joke if your needs extended farther than the finances of a teenager.

Intuit, if you’re reading these comments… Put your full-fledged Quicken software in the cloud (not Mint.com), charge a small monthly fee, and you’ll have plenty of takers.

Juan Carlos de Burbon

Intuit’s founder sits on Apple’s board.  He needs to be removed.

Customers need to spend their money with another company.  It’s insulting that companies like Inuit and Adobe have lagged so far behind on the Mac platform yet they spend a tremendous amount of money on the PC side.  They claim it’s because they make more money from them, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that if they had a better product on the Mac platform, people would be apt to spend more money on it.

It’s time to leave them and support another vendor.


I use essentials after years of Quicken on Windows.  Poor excuse but it works.  Miss many features of QW.  Cannot download from my brokerage account as they do not support the new QW download format, even though in QW it works fine.  Moneydance is a good alternative and imports everything from QW or QEM.  Aaron Patzer is great for promising enhancements but he never came through with QEM.  Plays second fiddle to his true love Mint…


Although Ted is not looking for a non-Intuit solution, I’ve been very pleased with MoneyWell (http://nothirst.com/moneywell/). They have both a Mac OS X version and an iOS version, with Dropbox synchronization between the two coming soon.


Quicken refused to support OS X’s Xcode and Cocoa development environment, when they came out in, I believe, 2002.  Quicken then refused to support Apple’s move to Intel chips.  Perhaps, one can say Quicken didn’t want to spend resources on a then marginal OS, but OS X is now not only approaching 15% of the market for personal computers, its customers are among the most attractive demographic:  younger, except for me, and wealthier.  So what is Quicken’s excuse now for not making the investment to update Quicken for OS X on modern Macs, where any company can make good to excellent profits with a quality app?

I think that the answer is that Quicken’s problem here is that its code base for Quicken is so old and obsolete that trying to update it is either technically impossible or prohibitively expensive.  But that is Quicken’s fault for not moving with Apple as it innovated its OS and its hardware.

If I still used Quicken, given its history of shoddy treatment for Mac users, I wouldn’t wait for Quicken to decide whether to produce a modern version of Quicken for the Mac; I’d simply move on to other alternatives.  Perhaps TMO will help us make that move by offering a retrospective of its reviews of alternative personal finance apps and update those reviews to include current products.


I have been using Quicken for Windows under Parallels for the last few years.  It is fully featured, works very well, and is seamless in operation.  Personally, I would not consider a program which does not permit bill pay.


Wouldn’t another option be to run Snow Leopard on your machine using Virtual Box?  Then you could run Quicken in your SL virtual install.


Last week I bit the bullet and switched to iBank. I had years (since 94) in one account and a couple of years in two other accounts. All came over fine?though I had to try three times because of a mistake I kept making! So far so good though, it downloads all my TD bank transactions fine. I don’t print checks, and I haven’t tried paying from within iBank, though I rarely do that anyway.

Windsor Smith

and what are they planning on doing with TurboTax come the end of the year?

I just checked my copy of TurboTax Premier 2009 for Mac, and it’s tagged as “Universal”, so it appears that the TurboTax codebase doesn’t need Rosetta anymore and won’t face the same high hurdle that Lion has placed in front of Quicken.

BTW, for the 2010 tax year I installed Windows 7 under Boot Camp (and, later, Parallels) so I could use TurboTax with the latest version of Quicken Home & Business. That’s worked out well so far, but now I have to hold my nose and use Windows every once in a while.


I personally use MoneyGuru, and am happy with it, as it meets my needs, but as has been suggested, iBank is a very credible and Quicken-like replacement. MoneyDance is a bit further off, as it is a genuine double-entry accounting program that feels more like Quicken’s categories. It is also very powerful. Then there’s SeeFinance, which also seems to be quite capable.

Intuit has shown itself completely incapable of being trusting with the finances, (and their purchase money) of Mac customers. I left them in 2009, and will never look back, regardless. And Quicken was not “reliable” for me. I suffered irrecoverable file corruptions on multiple occasions with Quicken (my original reason for leaving Quicken). If Intuit disappeared, the world would probably be a better place. wink


Anon. Y. Mous


Have you considered creating a separate partition on your hard drive with bootable clone of your Snow Leopard set up? It doesn’t have to be big, 20 Gb would be over kill. With that, you can upgrade your primary boot partition to Lion while retaining your Quicken set up until you find and acceptable solution or Intuit gets their head out of…, well, I suspect you know where…



Perhaps some will recall that Intuit was going to totally drop Mac software development in 1997, until Steve Jobs stepped in and (most likely) told them that they had a new computer (the original iMac) coming out.  They stuck with the Mac, but only begrudgingly.

I am also old enough to remember the days when TurboTax was called Mac-in-Tax, and the Intuit’s founding was as a MAC-ONLY company!  So sad.

I am going to try Quicken Essentials, but I don’t have high hopes.


I am no longer using any Intuit applications.  I’m tired of giving them my money and being treated like a red headed step child.

Lee Dronick

Fortunately TurboTax is a universal app and should work. However, I am just about convinced not to upgrade my iMac to Lion. I will upgrade my MacBook Pro and if it works fine I will upgrade my wife’s MBP.


When I decided to switch to a mac in 2001, I was excited to find that there was a version for the mac. Perhaps too excited.  I found that the file formats were totally incompatible and I had to do an export and import.  This resulted in a huge mess—much like what happened when trying to convert from quicken to iBank v2.  So I scrapped the idea of converting the file and since I wasn’t throwing out the windows machine, I just kept it around for archival purposes.  (I did this again with quicken for mac—I still have the data and program for archival purposes.  Granted, that’s going to quit working soon.  Perhaps I’ll revisit the QIF export and iBank import.)


i’m bailing on Quicken (hell, they bailed on Mac users years ago) forever. I probably will switch to iBank or something similar. What the worst that can happen, they will support me less than Intuit has or will? iBank has already shown they can build a product for OS X and Intel, and that effort made good business sense to them. Seems to me, they deserve my business in return.


Tubo Tax is an effing joke. NEVER AGAIN will I spend even one dime with Inuit. For anything. Unless I decide that I want a crap purchase experience, a crap install experience, a crap upgrade experience, and impossible to contact support at some date in the future.

I’m not surprised that Intuit is bending over its Mac Quicken customers once again. This has all happened before.

Tony Wasserman

In your position, I would take a look at GnuCash, licensed as free software under the GPL, and available for MacOS X and other platforms.  There’s a straightforward mechanism for importing Quicken files, too.


I gave up on Sicken years ago. I am a happy iBank user. I didn’t bring over 15 years of old data. The old files are still available; but now won’t be accessible on my iMac. Guess I’d have to borrow time on my son’s Quadra if I needed to get at them for any reason.


I just finished setting up Checkbook Pro on my Mac after years of using Quicken. I tried MoneyWell but it didn’t do it for me. The same with iBank and others.

Checkbook Pro did, so I finally switched. I was able to import my Quicken data from ‘99 to this year without an issue. I was even able to easily correct some category issues that had been bothering me.

I only need a check register to log credits/debits and reporting. The reporting aspect will be the real test, though it looks like it will support my needs,  but will find out for sure come tax time next year.


I also was a long time Quicken user. But I’ve now dropped Quicken (Slowen) in favor of iBank based on reviews and using the demo. ALso I dropped Quicken Bill Pay (not an easy thing to do) and will use my bank’s free service. Took a while to set up and another learning curve, but I now have $10 more per month for some good craft beers!

Lee Dronick

I need to qualify this by saying that my book keeping needs are pretty simple and your milage will vary

I haven’t had much a problem using TurboTax. We zip along now quite quickly and I have PDFs as well as print copies of my documents.

About 5 years ago I started keeping my check register and stuff in Excel, then two years ago I switched to Pages. This works well for my needs and I will probably stick with it.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Wow, not a single comment questioning why Apple canned Rosetta. There are plenty of custom applications in use today by all sorts of users that never made it to Intel but are still very useful or critical for someone. Giant whatever.


That’s the price of progress. You could say the same thing about Apple dropping “Classic” support years back. Time marches on.

You can march on with it or stick with Snow Leopard, as it will still continue to run on your current Mac even after Lion is released.

Hell, I still fire up my old PowerComputing box for old time sakes bang out a letter in AppleWorks and then complain on posting forums when I email it to someone who can’t open it.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@fultonkbd: Moving to the future is a tired line. You’re talking about some software that is 5 years old now being totally obsolete. Apple also won’t be offering the option of buying new machines with SL installed instead of Lion. This will be a PITA for many long-time Apple customers. It creates a fake problem that these customers will be expected to buy their way out of. I guess that’s how businesses become wildly profitable these days.


Tubo Tax is an effing joke

There is clearly some pent up ire and ill-will, not undeserved, towards Intuit on this post. However, the above has not been my experience with TurboTax (TT). I too remember TT on the Mac when it was called MacIntax (or some such spelling) for filing my US income taxes.

That said, I have a complex tax situation, living in more than one country, and having different income streams. I routinely have to itemise and complete forms that most US taxpayers do not. This past year, I had a question that independent tax attorney consultations could not readily answer. I called Intuit and requested a consult with a tax attorney. Despite my being in motion on the other side of the world, and 11 time zones away, the tax attorney called me on three successive nights, and spoke with the software developers at Intuit to make sure he understood the intent of TT’s calculation, until we had an answer that he could back with the tax code.

At least in my experience, that’s a serious product and service package.

To second a recommendation above, it would be instructive to see a comprehensive review not only of financial management, but tax filing software available for the Mac; and which of these are compatible as financial and tax packages.


I have been a faithful Quicken user for I believe about twenty years. I have bought every update. But no more.

Quicken Essentials for Mac is a joke. It is unusable. I use Direct Connect and that is not supported in Essentials as it is in Quicken 2007 for Mac.

I switched to iBank and am VERY HAPPY!

The arrogance of Intuit is pathetic, and their Mac compatible Quicken products are now worthless.

I highly recommend that everyone try iBooks. It really is quite good. And top it off their support is far superior to Intuit’s.

John Dingler, artist

Rosetta was apparently a lifeline to those lazy asses—like the maker of Quicken—who had no confidence that Apple would survive. Even NBC’s Tom Brokaw declared it dead. He never apologized, as far as I know, for reporting that lie.

That Quicken is made to dry rot on the beach is pathetic.


Embedding specific portions of Rosetta code. I am not a coder, but it would seem simpler to write some new code and be done with it.

As far as users go, why not run a virtual machine with an older OS or even (cough) Windows to run it in the mean time?


I just received this from my friendly Quickbooks for Mac Team:

Like a lot of Mac users, everyone here on the QuickBooks for Mac team is excited about the upcoming release of Mac OS 10.7 ?Lion.? You may be wondering how Lion will affect you as a QuickBooks for Mac user.

At this time, no version of QuickBooks for Mac is supported on Lion. We are working hard testing QuickBooks 2011 for Mac with Lion and will keep you posted on compatibility.

QuickBooks 2010 for Mac and earlier
Although QuickBooks 2010 for Mac and earlier versions may run on Mac OS X 10.7, some features may not run correctly. These versions of QuickBooks were designed and built to run on the Mac OS version that was available at that time, not Mac OS X 10.7. (We?re sorry. Our accountants made us do it.) You can read more here: http://bit.ly/qyca5F

So what should you do?
Just keep using QuickBooks with your current, supported Mac OS X version. This will help ensure your financial data remains safe and you can continue working without disruption. The last thing we want is for QuickBooks not to work properly when you need it to. If you must upgrade to Lion, you can set up a separate Snow Leopard partition on your Mac to continue running QuickBooks. You can learn more about setting up a partition at this article by Apple: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4722

We really appreciate your business. Stay tuned for more information about QuickBooks 2011 for Mac compatibility.

You can also receive updates by following us on Twitter or Facebook. We?re also posting updates to Little Square, the online magazine for QuickBooks for Mac, at bit.ly/o4JgUb


The QuickBooks for Mac Team


Ted, I agree with everything you said 100%. I’ve used Quicken since 1995 and still do. However you are missing one huge thing… Intuit hasn’t cared about Mac users for 10 years or more and I don’t see them starting to care now. I believe Intuit can take a long walk off a short pier and it won’t effect us at all, as my money is betting they have no intention of updating Quicken for Lion. I’ll be updating to Lion January 2, one day after I switch to another accounting program.


I actually like Quicken Essentials. I never used any of the features that are missing. I like it much better than earlier versions of Quicken because it will automatically download transactions from my bank & all of my credit cards, which older versions couldn’t do.


@Bosco (Brad Hutchings); as tired as that line is… it’s true. Same reason why we don’t use a horse and carriage to get around any more. Something better came along.

Unfortunately for you, you aren’t the CEO of Apple so you don’t get to dictate how long any software is supported by the company. But hey maybe one day… then you can decide that 6 or 7 years would be better.

In the mean time… call Apple and tell them you think Rosetta should be supported longer. Don’t upgrade, Snow Leopard works. Hell Intuit is telling you not upgrade.

As far as people buying new Macs goes. They have other options so you need not worry about them.

Tom B

I switched to Moneydance over a year ago. No import issues—have to convert your data to “QIF” first, though. Intuit clearly has a death wish. I think they must make more off TurboTax than Quicken and they just don’t care about Quicken anymore.


Ok, so I jumped on the I-hate-Intuit bandwagon and didn’t consider Rosetta.  Apple did such a good job of making it magical that I can’t tell when an app needs Rosetta?  I have no idea what is going to break when I upgrade but I will upgrade.  I still have a PowerMac G5 as a backup plan but I may consider an external drive to boot an older copy of OS X as it provides a much smaller, cooler, and quieter foot print.

Every now and then I have fits of nostalgia and boot my Apple //gs which, surprisingly, still runs fine.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Ok, so I jumped on the I-hate-Intuit bandwagon and didn?t consider Rosetta.? Apple did such a good job of making it magical that I can?t tell when an app needs Rosetta?? I have no idea what is going to break when I upgrade but I will upgrade.

You don’t have to worry. According to everyone else here, the only software that will “break” is from companies that don’t care about the Mac grin. Perhaps your software that no longer works has a ready replacement that you can buy from the Mac App Store. It’s the future.

Windsor Smith

Wow, not a single comment questioning why Apple canned Rosetta. There are plenty of custom applications in use today by all sorts of users that never made it to Intel but are still very useful or critical for someone. Giant whatever.

The reason blame immediately fell on Intuit is because that company already has a history of snubbing Mac users.

Besides, for a developer that successfully updates its tax preparation software every year to account for numerous changes to the tax codes of the U.S. gov’t plus 43 states, six years should be plenty of time to port its financial software.


Have you considered creating a separate partition on your hard drive with bootable clone of your Snow Leopard set up? It doesn?t have to be big, 20 Gb would be over kill. With that, you can upgrade your primary boot partition to Lion while retaining your Quicken set up until you find and acceptable solution or Intuit gets their head out of?, well, I suspect you know where?

can you explain how to do this?  would I have to erase my current hard drive to make this happen?


Intuit has completely dropped the ball on this and it pisses me off to no end. I have more than 10 years of data in one of my Quicken files and now I’ll have to throw out much of that history when I switch to new software.

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