MacOS Catalina Download Now Available to All Mac Users
Apple has released MacOS Catalina 10.15 to download for all users with supported Macs.
MacOS Catalina is the next major Mac operating system update, and includes a variety of new features and capabilities, including Sidecar which allows an iPad to run as a secondary display for a Mac, the replacement of iTunes by three separate apps to manage Music, Podcasts, and TV, updates and revisions to bundled apps like Notes, Photos, Reminders, and Safari, Screen Time to track and limit app usage, Find My app to track friends, family, and Apple devices, new security measures including a locked down system folder and app-level access requests for accessing many user folders, the loss of 32-bit application support, and much more.
How to Download MacOS Catalina
Downloading MacOS Catalina requires visiting the Mac App Store first, then downloading the MacOS Catalina installer file as follows:
- Go to macOS Catalina 10.15 from the Mac App Store, then click on “Get”
- This will launch System Preferences and the “Software Update” section where MacOS Catalina will appear available to download, click on “Upgrade Now” to download MacOS Catalina to the Mac
The upgrade to MacOS Catalina will require a system reboot to complete, as usual.
Always be sure to backup the Mac with Time Machine or your backup method of choice before installing any system software update.
Advanced users may wish to dual boot MacOS Catalina with Mojave to test out the new operating system before committing to upgrading their entire Mac to the latest MacOS 10.15 release.
The final build of MacOS Catalina is 19A583, making it different from the GM build released previously.
System Requirements for MacOS Catalina
System requirements for installing MacOS Catalina include having sufficient free disk space (aim for about 15GB free to complete the installation), and having a Mac which supports MacOS Catalina, which is basically any Mac computer built in 2012 or later.
If you aren’t sure how old your Mac is, you can check when the Mac was made here.
Also noteworthy is that no 32-bit apps will work in MacOS Catalina, requiring updates for those apps to be 64-bit or they will be unusable. You can find 32-bit apps on a Mac if you aren’t sure which of your apps fit that bill.
Because of the new 64-bit app requirement, along with some of the new security features, some Mac users may want to delay updating to macOS Catalina for now, at least until their required apps are updated to support the latest operating system. If your current Mac operating system setup is working just fine for you, there is likely little rush to update right now.
MacOS Catalina Features
MacOS Catalina includes a variety of new features including:
- Sidecar – use an iPad as an external display with the Mac (requires iPad with ipadOS 13 or later)
- iTunes is gone – replaced by Music, Podcasts, and TV apps. Device syncing, backups, and management is done through the Finder instead
- Revisions to Photos, Reminders, Notes, Mail apps – many of the default application suite have been revised, updated, and improved with new features and capabilities
- Find My – allows you to easily locate computers, devices, iPhones, iPads, friends, and family in a single app, combining both the “Find My iPhone / Mac / iPad” features with “Find My Friends” capabilities into a single app
- Screen Time – keep track of where you spend your time on a Mac, including the ability to put time limits on apps (just like in iOS and iPadOS)
- Apple Arcade – support for the new Apple Arcade subscription gaming service
- iPad apps on the Mac with Catalyst – many iPad apps can now run on the Mac thanks to Catalyst
- Voice Control – powerful new accessibility feature allows you to control a Mac entirely by voice, never having to use a cursor or keyboard
- Stricter security – new restrictions on system level directories, notarization requirements for installing third party apps, new abilities to grant or deny app access to system functions like Bluetooth, Location, and Microphone, apps must get permission before accessing many folders, and much more
- 64-bit only – 32-bit apps will no longer work at all in MacOS Catalina
Are you going to install MacOS Catalina right away, or are you holding off for now? Are you already running macOS Catalina? What do you think of the new operating system? Let us know in the comments below.