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Guide To The MacOS 10.15 Catalina


It’s time to say goodbye to iTunes. The software, which has been around for almost 20 years, was eliminated in Apple’s latest macOS update.

The new macOS was first announced in spring 2019, but it didn’t arrive until the fall. Now users are switching over.

What is Catalina and what changes does it bring with it? This guide has all your answers.

What is Catalina for?

MacOS Catalina is officially version 10.15. It replaces Mojave.

Not every Mac device will be able to support Catalina. If you want to upgrade to the new OS, you’ll need to have one of the following:

  • 12” MacBook (2015 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2012 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (2012 and later)
  • Mac mini (2012 and later)
  • iMac (2012 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017)
  • Mac Pro (2013 and later)

If your device is an older version, it won’t support Catalina.

Trading 32-Bit for 64-Bit

Perhaps the most major change in macOS 10.15 is the switch from 32-bit apps to 64-bit apps. This has to do with how much RAM an app can use. Older apps may be 32 bits, and they won’t run on Catalina.

If you have an app you’re not sure will work with the new update, you can check it out using one of several tools. Most up-to-date apps are 64 bit already.

Checking to see if an app is 32- or 64-bit is fairly easy. If you do have a 32-bit app you need, it’s time to see if you can upgrade. If there’s no 64-bit version available, it’s time to look for another app.

What is Changing with Catalina?

The software developers working on macOS updates are always able to roll out some interesting new features. Catalina is no exception to the rule.

Catalina is a hefty update for the OS, and one of the reasons for that is its integration with iPad devices.

With the Catalina update, Mac users can now use their iPad as a second screen. Developers will also be happy to know their work on iOS13 and iPadOS will port over to macOS.

The feature is called “Project Catalyst.” It represents a move to integrating mobile devices with desktop devices more thoroughly. It’s unlikely iOS will merge with macOS, but the change does make syncing your devices easier.

Another sign of the times is that iTunes, the software that came with Apple’s revolutionary iPod, is no more. The Catalina update discontinues this program.

Your music isn’t going anywhere though. Catalina splits iTunes into three distinct apps:

  • Apple Music
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Apple TV

Dividing the app makes sense. Each app can support a different streaming function better than iTunes ever could.

If you want to buy music, the iTunes store is still available. You can also choose to subscribe to Apple Music’s streaming service instead.

The macOS Finder app will now handle syncing your mobile devices. This echoes Project Catalyst’s move toward integration. Apple claims it will be easier to drag and drop with Finder, making transfers between devices much faster.

Other Updates

Safari, Mac’s native browser, has also received an overhaul. Its new startup page uses Siri Suggestions to help you navigate.

Mail has some new features as well. You can now block senders, mute threads, and send unsubscribe requests. Reminders has also been updated.

Catalina also boasts improvements to the Photos and Notes apps. The new Find My app combines Find My Friends and Find My iPhone into one app.

One app has made the leap from iOS to macOS 10.15 as well. iOS 12 featured “Screen Time,” which tracks how much time you’re spending on your devices.

As the app makes the leap to macOS, the information will sync across devices. This gives users a more complete picture of how much screen time they have each day.

A new “one more minute” feature allows you to finish up a game or work if you’ve reached your screen time limits for the day.

Catalina also adds voice controls. Security also gets an upgrade with the Gatekeeper app. Siri’s settings now let you opt out of sharing recordings with Apple.

New emojis, support for AirPods, and more round out the features of the update.

What is Catalina’s Biggest Problem?

As with almost any software update, macOS updates usually roll out with a few bugs. Catalina has been no exception.

The macOS Catalina problems users have faced so far range from the run-of-the-mill to some more unusual ones.

Typical issues are the update failing to install properly or getting stuck during installation.

Issues unique to Catalina seem to be stemming from Sidecar, which allows it to use an iPad as a second screen. For some users, the Sidecar app isn’t working at all.

The issue may be that your iPad’s OS is outdated. Your Apple laptop or computer may also be too old. Although Catalina is supported by devices dating back to 2012, Sidecar is only compatible with devices newer than 2015.

Catalina’s switch to 64-bit apps is also causing some issues. Older apps may no longer be supported. As we mentioned, your best bet is to update or find an alternate.

Other common issues include Internet connections, Bluetooth problems, and the dock disappearing.

Some issues may be caused by your Mac not being in tip-top condition. Check for apps that could be taking up extra storage or draining your battery life. It’s a good idea to do some spring cleaning on the hard drive before upgrading to Catalina.

To Upgrade or Not

Now you know the answer to the question, “What is Catalina?” You may be deciding whether or not you want to upgrade.

Apple has already sent macOS 10.15.2 to beta testing. You might want to wait just a little longer before updating.

Once you’ve upgraded, you’ll want to keep your machine in great condition. Check out our library for tips on keeping your computer running as long as possible and so much more.

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