It’s the same procedure as every year - while fall approaches, the next iteration of Apples desktop operation system macOS is released. In the evening of October 7th (CET) Catalina, named after Santa Catalina Island, which is located off the coast of southern California, has been released to the public. There are many changes and features ahead, one of them is surely the fact that 32-Bit-applications are not compatible to the new OS anymore.

Catalina is not only the usual polish with some security-updates, indeed it is a first step into a merged world between macOS, iPad OS and iOS - surely one of the key facts that justify an immediate update as long as you don’t need your Mac for professional Audio editing - which is, by the way, a showstopper year by year. Anyway, so what does Catalina bring to the users in detail? Let’s sum up the main aspects!

iTunes is dead, long live the media!

It was no secret anymore that Apple is going to split up the monument that iTunes has become over the years. Now, we have three apps covering the needs for Music, Podcasts and TV. Less burden, more speed - when I listen to Apple Music I don’t need a big framework to do this so the new Music-app looks quite slim and fast for the moment!

New "Music"-app in macOS 10.15 Catalina

Sidecar

Did you ever use third-party apps to bring your Mac’s desktop to your iPad? Once you have an iPad with Pencil-support (that’s the definite requirement besides WLAN and Bluetooth being in an „always on“-state), you may now use your iPad as second screen or mirror your main screen. As always there are rules and regulations - besides from having all wireless functions enabled, both devices must be signed in with the same AppleID, Handoff must be activated on both and no device is allowed to share its internet connection to get the connection running. Besides there are just specific Mac models supporting the feature and once you are running with iPad OS 13, you may even use the iPad as some kind of graphic-tablet powered by the Pencil. Surely one killer-feature once your systems will match all requirements!

Catalyst

Did you ever think of combining macOS- and the iOS / iPad OS-platform on an app-like base, the the UWP-apps in the Windows-world? With Catalyst, developers can compile your favorite apps for the macOS-platform so that the gap between the desktop- and the mobile-world is about to be closed. I am quite keen which apps will do the start, but with GoodNotes 5, a perfect example takes the lead and I hope that many developers will strive for a transferring, too!

‎Deine Lieblings-Apps jetzt auf dem Mac: Mac App Store‑Story
Infos zur Sammlung Deine Lieblings-Apps jetzt auf dem Mac mit GoodNotes 5, Crew, LookUp: English Dictionary und vielen mehr findest du im Mac App Store. Genieße diese Apps auf deinem Mac.

Screen Time

We have tried to have a look on our Screen Time on the mobile devices already so combining all this with your work behavior on your macOS-device just fulfills the 360 degrees of the circle. Finally, it is still astonishing how many time we spend on devices and believe me, there are times where I just don’t want to see how long I’ve spent with different apps…

Screen Time on macOS 10.15 Catalina

Apple Arcade

We already got introduced with Apple Arcade on iOS and iPad OS 13 and now the service (it’s finally all about services, isn’t it?) comes to macOS as well. You will be able to play 100+ games without In-App-purchases or commercials on your Mac and might as well use your Xbox- or PS4 Dual Shock-controller to get the full feeling of Arcade even on your workhorse!

Apple Arcade on macOS 10.15 Catalina

Find My

Dumping the „Find My Friends“ and „Find my iPhone“-apps, „Find My“ combines all this into one single approach, bringing even the functionality of finding devices even if they are offline. Nice polish here.

New Apps

Photos, Reminders, Mail, Safari and Notes were updated as well besides the well-known security updates including enhanced Gatekeeper-protection and the activation lock for all T2-enabled devices, similar to the one we already know from the mobile devices.

Availability

macOS Catalina is available for most Macs from 2012 and on. You may download it from the Mac App Store or via heading to „System Preferences -> Software Update“ to see if it’s ready for your specific machine. The update’s size is 8.09 GB coming from macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Hello, Catalina!

The full list of compatible Macs as follows:

MacBook Pro, 2012 and later
MacBook Air, 2012 and later
MacBook 12 (all models)
iMac, 2012 and later
iMac Pro
Mac Pro, 2013 and later
Mac mini, 2012 and later

Conclusion

It’s always difficult to recommend an OS update on Day One, but as I have got used to regarding macOS-Updates there is no danger if you don’t use any kind of exotic (Audio) soft- and hardware. Just check if all of your used applications are in 64-Bit-mode before deploying the update and you should be ready to go. As of my use case with Adobe-stuff, Microsoft Office and tools like Ulysses, Tweetbot, ImageOptim or Visual Studio Code there are no bad suprises. Everything works as it should but that may be different on your machine.

Don’t forget the backup before proceeding and give this update a second thought anyway if you are earning your money with the device and need it in full shape. In my use case (three devices in the household) everything worked fine but again - I am not using any kind of software that is already known to make problems with each yearly macOS-update as all this Audio-stuff does.

Once you are an early adopter with a certain fetish for software updates (I am!), head on and share your opinion in the comments-section if you like! Happy updating and welcome, macOS 10.15 Catalina!