Plugable Microscope not working after macOS 10.15 Catalina? We can help!


One of the biggest changes in macOS 10.15 (Catalina) is support for 32-bit legacy applications has been phased out. Catalina and future versions of macOS operating system support only 64-bit applications. (You can read more about this in our Catalina blog post and on Apple’s site if interested.)

As a result, if you’ve recently updated your macOS version to 10.15 (Catalina), you may have noticed that your 32-Bit applications no longer launch. The software we’ll be focusing on here is the 32-bit version of Plugable’s Digital Viewer, used by the Plugable USB2-MICRO-250X and USB2-MICRO-800X microscopes. The 32-bit version of Digital Viewer will show an error when attempting to run in Catalina, stating “Digital Viewer needs to be updated.”

Thankfully, we’ve been working on a solution! Just in time for Catalina, we’ve got an updated version of the Digital Viewer software which fully supports Apple’s 64-bit application requirements and includes several other usability improvements. Read below for step-by-step instructions on how to upgrade to this new version.

Please note, our Digital Viewer software and troubleshooting steps are intended only for use with the USB2-MICRO-250X and USB2-MICRO-800X microscopes that we manufacture. If your microscope was made by another manufacturer, we would suggest to reach out to that company directly for support.

Step-by-step instructions are presented below. For those seeking a quick summary: we suggest uninstalling the current 32-Bit version of Digital Viewer on your Mac and restarting. After uninstalling and restarting, download Plugable’s 64-bit Digital Viewer software here and install: Plugable Digital Viewer v3.3.30.pkg.

Installation Instructions

Step 1: Uninstall the current 32-Bit Version: Go to your Applications folder, click and drag the 32-Bit version of the Digital Viewer into your trash bin, and delete it

Step 2: Download the new 64-Bit Package Installer, launch, and click “Continue” to proceed

Step 3: Click “Install” to begin the installation

Step 4: Enter your password, and then click, “Install Software” to continue

Step 5: You should receive this message about successful installation. Go ahead and restart your Mac

Step 6: After restarting, open up the new Plugable Digital Viewer application, and make sure to set the, “USB Microscope” as the default device in the Settings. Click “Apply” to save this change.

Please feel free to comment below, or reach out to us directly at:

16 comments on “Plugable Microscope not working after macOS 10.15 Catalina? We can help!”

  1. Oksana Sakalo Reply

    I uninstalled the old file and installed the 64-bit program. In settings, the USB Microscope did not appear and could not be found. What have I done wrong?

    • Kevin Lamb Reply

      Hello Oksana,

      Thanks for reaching out to us! I am really sorry to see you’ve had this trouble with the microscope, and I am here to help. I’m sure you didn’t do anything wrong. Are you able to try the microscope on a different computer ot see if you get the same result? I understand if this isn’t a possibility to try.

      We should check the Privacy and Security settings to make sure the microscope is enabled. Please feel free to reach out to us directly at:, and we’ll be here to help.

      Thank you,

      Plugable Support


    My name is Belvi Cáceres from Perú, I bought the Digital Microscope MODEL USB2-MICRO-250X and I don’t know how to install it to make it work, I need help, wait fro your answer.

    Belvi Cáceres

    • Kevin Lamb Reply

      Hello Mike,

      Thanks for reaching out to us, and thanks for the feedback. Glad to see the updated application is doing the trick for you on macOS 10.15 Catalina.
      Catalina has been a great update overall, but, it has complicated the installation process of some programs and drivers. Please let us know if anything comes up, and we’ll be here to help.

      Thank you,

      Plugable Support

  3. Russell Rhoades Reply

    Thanks for making a software version for macOS Catalina, I have used this Microscope for a few years with my old computer,
    I was worried that I could not with my new computer , I was just ecstatic when ni found their was a new version for this Mac.
    Thank you

    • Kevin Lamb Reply

      Hello Russell,

      Thanks for reaching out to us! Glad to see our latest release of Digital Viewer did the trick for you on macOS Catalina. This has been a good update so far, but, it has prompted updates from other programs such as ours for compatibility. Feel free to reach out to us directly at: with any questions or concerns, and we’ll be here to help.

      Thank you,

      Plugable Support

  4. Heidi Reply

    Thanks for the updated 64bit version, however, I had saved files from the previous version and I cant find them. Any ideas are welcome.
    After installing, I had to plug the camera so the program could recognize the USB Camera option

    • Derek Nuzum Reply

      Hi Heidi,

      Thanks for your message! The default save location is typically in the Documents folder in macOS for each specific user in a folder named Plugable Digital Viewer or Digital Viewer. This setting is user-configurable via the Settings (cog wheel) menu. If you are unable to find this folder, please send a message to with Ticket #310916 in the subject line and we would be happy to help!

      Thank you,

  5. Sarah Reply

    I keep getting this message:

    The installation failed. You need to have administrative privileges to install this software. You do not have the necessary authorization to install this software. Make sure you have administrative privileges before trying again.

    It’s my computer, though, so why would I not have administrative privileges? I can’t get this to work.

    • Kevin Lamb Reply

      Hello Sarah,

      Thanks for reaching out to us! I’m sorry for any trouble with the microscope, and I’d be glad to help. May I ask, is your profile set as an administrator? You may need to set the profile as an administrator even if you are the only user of the computer.

      The app installation may also be blocked by Gatekeeper, so we would suggest to check in Security & Privacy to see if the app installation is blocked there. Please feel free to reach out to us at our support email at :, and we can provide you with direct troubleshooting.

      Thank you,

      Product Owner
      Plugable Support

  6. Ed Anderson Reply

    I have a new Plugable 250x USB microscope, and have installed the latest v3.3.30 64 bit driver under Mojave per your Youtube instructions for Mac.

    There is no “More…” menu under the setup page for adjusting brightness and contrast. That menu is also missing from your screenshot of the v3.3.30 Settings dialog shown above.

    One difference is that the device shows up as “Digital Microscope” rather than the expected “USB Microscope” described in both of your instructions.

    Here is the MacOS system profile USB 3.0 info for the Plugable 250x device:
    Product ID: 0x6369
    Vendor ID: 0x0c45 (Sonix Technology Co., Ltd.)
    Version: 1.00
    Speed: Up to 480 Mb/sec
    Manufacturer: Digital Microscope
    Location ID: 0x14200000 / 12

    I do have an older device and your v3.1.07 (.08) app. The app works with the new device and has the More… menu adjustments for hue/brightness/contrast, but they are nonfunctional with the sliders having no effect on the video.

    One suggestion for your app development. The capacitive touch trigger is cool, but the microscope moves. Single frame snapshots of the video are also noisy. A capture mode that stacks multiple images with averaging could take much better images, and also exclude the motion from bumping the camera.

    The hardware construction is very nice. One issue is that specular reflection from the LEDs goes right back into the lens, especially when the camera is facing squarely down onto the grid. This can be almost entirely eliminated with separate crossed polarizers for the lens and LED. I modified my older camera this way, and it works great. You would lose 50% of natural illumination for low light imaging, but stacking easily solves that.

    • Sam Morgan Reply

      Thanks for the detailed inquiry!

      The “More…” menu disappeared with the 64-bit only version of the software. macOS dropped the API that included direct device control, so we weren’t able to keep that feature in the latest versions of macOS.

      The difference in USB friendly name you’re seeing is an (unadvertised) upgrade in the chipset. We moved from an Etron Technology chip to the newer Sonix Technology controller partially to enable higher framerates at maximum resolution. Since you possess both devices, I’d invite you to compare the experience at 1600×1200 with both side-by-side on the latest software.

      With the capacitive button, you should be able to take snapshots with very light touches. However, we’re working at microscopic levels here, so the tiniest movements can affect the image clarity. To get clear snapshots, it’s usually best to click the capture button in the software rather than handling the device directly. Counter to that, when you’re placing the microscope on an object directly instead of using it with a stand, the snapshot button is pretty helpful for taking quick pictures while using both hands to manipulate the subject.

      Your other suggestions have definitely been considered over the life of this device, but we already have very tight margins on this product to sell it at such a low price, which prevents us from adding any additional features or sinking significant time into development.

      Please feel free to reach out to for any other inquiries!

      • Ed Anderson Reply

        Thanks for the official response, Sam.

        If there’s no longer any way to adjust brightness/contrast, then please modify your defaults so that dark areas are not clipped to black.

        If your margins are so low that you can’t afford to make any software improvements, then please consider releasing the code to open source. I’m sure that many of us techies would gladly add the killer features for you.

        For those on MacOs, there’s a free app called Lynkeos that can stack images to reduce noise and improve resolution. Instead of capturing single frames, take a movie and then post-process it to get a clean result.

        (Also explore the free Fiji/ImageJ app for writing your own Java plugin.)

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