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Find help here when The Sims 3 isn’t working on your Mac.

Minimum requirements Graphics Install or load errors Clear your cache Change your language Missing save files

First things first, make sure your Mac meets the minimum requirements for The Sims 3, and for the most recent expansion pack you have installed.

Here’s how to check requirements for an expansion pack:

  1. Find the game tile for your expansion pack in the Store on or in the Origin client.
  2. Click the game tile to open the game details.
  3. Click on System Requirements to see the minimum requirements.

The Sims 3 System Requirements.

Keep macOS updated

To keep everything running smoothly, we recommend keeping your graphics drivers up-to-date. macOS does this automatically with each new version of the operating system.

We also recommend you always run the latest version of macOS for your Mac. Origin only supports more recent versions of macOS.

Changing your graphics settings

If your graphics are glitching, it may help to lower your graphics settings:

  1. Open The Sims 3.
  2. Click on the (options) button at the bottom left of the screen or press F5 on your keyboard.
  3. On the Graphics tab (usually the one that opens by default), slide all the sliders under Graphics details to low.
  4. Click on the blue check mark at the bottom right to save your changes.
  5. Restart The Sims 3 and check to see if it runs better now.

 Still not better? Try running in Windowed mode:

  1. Open the Graphics options again.
  2. Uncheck the box beside Enable Fullscreen Mode.
  3. Click on the blue check mark at the bottom right to save your changes.
  4. Restart The Sims 3, and see if Windowed mode works better for you.

Some Macs have two graphics cards in them, one that is built in to the processor and used for standard tasks, and another that is used for high-performance applications, like games.

Use About this Mac to check what kind of graphics cards you have.

If your Mac does have a dedicated graphics card, check your Energy Saver settings if you notice your Mac slowing down when you’re playing The Sims 3.

Here’s how:

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Energy Saver.
  3. Check these two things:
    • Graphics options – if you see this, click on Higher Performance.
      • You’ll need to log off and back on to your Mac to apply this change.
    • Automatic graphics switching – turn this off to force your Mac to use the dedicated graphics card all the time.

Is your game crashing? Get help on Answers HQ.

Disk authorization failure error

If you’re playing on macOS X Yosemite or earlier, repairing your disk permissions can help with this one.

Follow the steps in this Apple support article to run Disk Utility on your Mac.

Newer versions of macOS automatically maintain and protect system file permissions, so there should be no need for you to repair file permissions.

Installation stuck error

  1. Open Origin.
  2. Click the Origin menu and choose Preferences or press ⌘, the command key and comma).

    This image shows how to choose Preferences from the main Origin menu.
  3. Click Installs & Saves, then click the Browse installers box.

    This image shows how to click Browse Installers on the Installs and Saves screen in Origin.
  4. In the Finder window that opens, delete any folders you see with Sims 3 in the name.
  5. Log out of Origin and restart it.
  6. Start your download again and the game should now install properly for you. 

Unknown error

We’re still looking into what causes this error to pop up for some players on Mac. These solutions might help you resolve the issue:

  • Update to the latest version of Origin.
  • Reset Origin on your Mac.
  • If it happens after you’ve installed a new expansion pack, try uninstalling it.

System requirements for an expansion pack are often higher than the ones for The Sims 3 itself, so sometimes a Mac that will run the base game has trouble running some of the later expansion packs.

If you’re sure that your Mac meets requirements, and you installed your expansion from a disk, try installing a digital copy through Origin instead. You won’t need to buy the expansion again, just redeem your code in Origin if the expansion is not showing on your account.

If none of these fixes work, visit Answers HQ for troubleshooting steps and a video walkthrough.

Have you updated your game or run the super-patcher?

It’s best to make sure The Sims 3 is fully up to date before you install an expansion. Then, check for updates for that expansion before you try to install another one.

If you’re playing through Origin, it’ll keep everything up to date for you.

Installing the super-patcher after installing expansions may not cause any issues. If you still see some problems with unknown errors and you installed all expansions before using the super-patcher, try following these steps.

If you’ve done this a little out of order, you may not see any problems, but if you think it could be what’s causing the unknown error, try this:

  1. Uninstall The Sims 3.
  2. Reinstall The Sims 3 and update it (if you’re using Origin) or run the superpatcher (if you’re using disks).
  3. Then, install your expansions one by one.
  4. When you install and update everything, try launching The Sims 3 again.

Having trouble with your exchange downloads?

Follow the steps in this article to troubleshoot them.

In case there’s a problem with a corrupted save file or a piece of custom content, try clearing the cache of The Sims 3 on your Mac:

  1. In Finder, click on your hard drive (usually Macintosh HD unless you renamed it).
  2. Click on Users, then on your username.
    • On older Macs, this could be called Places.
  3. Open Documents, then Electronic Arts, then The Sims 3.

    This image shows how to  find your Cache files inside The Sims 3 folder in Finder.
  4. Delete these files (they’re safe to remove, the game will rebuild them when it launches):
    • CASPartCache.package
      • (this is the Create-a-Sim cache, it’s highlighted in the picture above)
    •  compositorCache.package
      • (this is the Build/Buy mode cache)
    • scriptCache.package
      • (this is the Mod and custom content cache)
    • simCompositorCache.package
      • (this is the New Sims and skins cache)
  5. Open the Thumbnails folder and delete the files inside it (keeping the folder itself).
  6. Empty Trash and try The Sims 3 again.
  7. If you’re still seeing the same problem, run through the previous steps again, then open the World Caches folder and delete the files inside it (keeping the folder itself).

If you’ve followed these steps and are still seeing a problem, try removing your custom content and mods too.

Removing custom content and mods

Back up your mods and packages before doing this, by copying the Mods and Packages folders to your desktop.

  1. Follow steps 1-5 above, to clear your cache.
  2. Open the Mods folder and delete the files inside it (keeping the folder itself).
  3. Open the Packages folder and delete the files inside it (keeping the folder itself).
  4. Empty Trash and try The Sims 3 again.

Start by going in to Finder and open the Applications folder.

  1. Click The Sims 3, then on TheSims™
  2. Click the cog icon and choose Show Package Contents.
  3. In the new window that opens, click Contents.
  4. Click Resourcesthen Preferences.
  5. Click the update_always.reg file, then on the cog again.

    This image shows how to find the option to edit your text file
  6. Click Open With.
  7. Choose Other.
  8. Select in the Choose Application window, then click Open.

    A picture showing this file open in TextEdit.
  9.  Change the Locale to match the language you want to use, using our list below.
  10.  Save and close the file.
  11.  Start The Sims 3 and check that it’s now running in the correct language. 

Languages and locales

Chinese (Simplified)
Chinese (Traditional)
Portuguese (Brazilian)
Spanish (Mexican)

If your game crashes when you load it, you may want to switch to a previous save file to get things working properly again.

First, back up your game files:

  1. In Finder, click your hard drive (usually Macintosh HD unless you renamed it).
  2. Click Users, then your username.
    • On older Macs, this could be called Places.
  3. Open Documents, then Electronic Arts, then The Sims 3.
  4. Click the Saves folder, and hold down ⌘ C (Command and C) to copy it.
  5. Switch to your desktop and press ⌘ V (Command and V) to paste it there.
  6. Rename the folder to something like Sims 3 backup saves so it’s different from the original.

Now, we’re going to move and rename another file.

  1. Head back to your original The Sims 3 folder in Finder (steps 1-3 above).
  2. Open the Saves folder and drag the file that ends in .sims3 to your desktop for safe keeping.
  3. You should only have one file left in this folder, with a filename ending in .sims3.backup
  4. Rename this backup file, changing the ending to .sims3
    • This tells your game to use this save file when it loads.
  5. Restart The Sims 3 and see if it now loads properly for you.

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