The release of macOS Catalina – the official name for macOS 10.15 – is almost here, and we should see it on our Macs by October 2019.
Apple first unveiled macOS Catalina at its WWDC 2019 conference in San Jose, California earlier this year, during which the company highlighted some of the exciting new features that macOS Catalina has to offer, including the nifty capability to use an iPad as a secondary screen.
Apple’s macOS Catalina has been available as early beta software to app developers, allowing them port their iPhone and iPad apps to Mac more easily. Apple has introduced a new feature, christened "Project Catalyst," solely for this purpose, allowing them to seamlessly port their iOS 13 and iPadOS apps to the macOS environment.
Apple's head of software, Craig Federighi, also announced at WWDC that when the macOS 10.15 Catalina is finally available to the public, it will say goodbye to iTunes and give way to new apps. These apps include Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. Each of these macOS Catalina apps will have new and improved features that aren't available in their previous versions currently running on other devices.
macOS 10.15 Catalina, whose public beta is now on hand to download, will also add into the mix Sidecar, a new built-in tool for using an iPad as a secondary display for your Mac or MacBook device. This feature will work both wired and wirelessly.
Here's every major change coming to Apple's OS for Macs and MacBooks in 2019 when we usher in macOS Catalina.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? macOS 10.15 Catalina, the successor to macOS 10.14 Mojave.
- When is it out? October 2019
- How much will it cost? Nothing. Apple software updates are always free.
macOS Catalina release date
The public beta of macOS Catalina is now available for free, and is available for anyone to try out at this link. If you're feeling particularly adventurous and have 100 bucks or quid just sitting around, you can even test out the special developer preview beta.
For anyone who isn't an app developer or willing to step into the beta now, macOS Catalina will be available to the public in October, as listed in its landing page on the Apple website.
Though Apple hosted its iPhone 11 event on September 10, the show came and went with nary a mention of macOS 10.15. However, Apple's macOS 10.15 Catalina page was updated with an "October 2019" release window.
If you’d rather not wait a few more weeks, however, we’ll show you how to download the macOS Catalina beta. Otherwise, keep this page bookmarked as we will be updating it as more details regarding macOS 10.15 Catalina come to light.
macOS Catalina compatibility
Of course, one of the first questions that come to mind must be: can the Mac or MacBook I own right now work with this new hotness?
Luckily, every piece of Mac hardware that could upgrade to the current macOS 10.14 Mojave will be able to receive the new macOS 10.15 Catalina update. Here's the full list of devices:
- 12-inch 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)
Goodbye, iTunes – hello, Apple Music, Podcasts Books and TV
WWDC 2019 and macOS 10.15 Catalina make it official: iTunes is no more. From its ashes, however, rises the new apps for macOS: Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Podcasts – and they’re going to be improved versions of those that already appear on iOS.
Apple Music will give macOS users access to their entire music libraries regardless of whether the tracks have been downloaded or are being streamed. This is also where music ripped from CDs will live, assimilated into the same libraries.
Apple TV, meanwhile, will have the app's channels and have more than 100,000 iTunes movies and TV shows available to browse, buy or rent. All of this content will be available in 4K HDR video and Dolby Atmos audio wherever offered. Apple TV+ will also be accessible through this app as soon as the service rolls out later in the year.
Apple Podcasts will bring the service's more than 700,00 podcasts, as well as new episode updates, to the Mac in a brand new interface. This version of the app will also boast better search functions that can pull up episodes by hosts, guests or even discussion topics.
Last but not the least, Apple Books will home all the audiobooks you can purchase, download and listen to. Like with the other new apps, it will feature a familiar interface for anyone who is used to iTunes.
Apple has revealed more information about these apps that will replace iTunes following WWDC and how they will work.
If you’re worried about all your existing music and playlists, as well as iTunes gift cards and credit, don’t. Apple has confirmed that all your music and playlists will be transferred over to the Apple Music app in macOS 10.15 Catalina. In addition, any iTunes gift cards or unspent iTunes credits are still valid to be used in the new apps.
In macOS 10.15 Catalina, the iTunes Store, which will be accessed through the Sidebar in the Apple Music app, can still be used to buy new music. And of course, you can also subscribe to the Apple Music streaming service through the app – if you do, you can hide the iTunes Store for a cleaner interface.
With iTunes making its exit, Apple also explained that syncing devices in macOS Catalina will now be handled by the Finder app, which will be able to backup and sync those devices. According to Apple, it will also be easier to drag and drop files for quick transfers as well.
Sidecar turns your iPad into another display
This is probably the most exciting update to macOS with macOS 10.15 Catalina: the capability to extend your Mac's display to a nearby iPad, both wired and wirelessly. Since a good amount of MacBook users are already iPad owners, this means that a sizable amount of mobile workers just received a secondary display without having to spend extra.
Possibly even more importantly for designers, this connected iPad can also be used as a drawing tablet with various specifically supported apps. Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Illustrator and iWork are the first apps listed to support this feature.
We currently don’t have the official word on which iPad models will support the Sidecar feature, but it'll most likely be those models that can also run the new iPadOS, which is expected later this year as well.
Apple says that the following Mac apps will support Sidecar's Apple Pencil input and other enhanced features:
- Adobe: After Effects, Illustrator, Premiere Pro
- Affinity Designer & Affinity Photo
- Cinema 4D
- DaVinci Resolve
- Final Cut Pro & Motion
- Substance Designer & Painter
Screen Time comes to macOS
One of Apple's most impactful changes to iOS 12 was Screen Time, an app that tracks your iPhone or iPad usage time and offers insights into the trends. This capability will not only come to macOS with Catalina, but also offer a new “One more minute” feature, giving you more time to save your work or finish up a game.
This information will be synced across your other Apple devices so that you have a complete profile of how often you stare at your collective screens, as well as advice on what to do with that information. This will also include parental controls on time spent using a Mac as well as with whom children are able to communicate with.
Project Catalyst – is this Marzipan?
It seems that what was formerly referred to in rumors and leaks as "Project Marzipan," Apple's master plan to bring more apps from the iPhone and iPad to the Mac, is now known as Project Catalyst. For developers, it all seems to start with simply ticking off a box within the Xcode app in macOS 10.15 Catalina.
A series of new features and protocols then become available to the app in the development phase, from which the developer can choose to add to their apps – presumably with additional yet lighter coding. It seems to make the process more seamless and speedier, with even Twitter utilizing the tool to quickly bring its native app back to macOS from iOS.
Other fun improvements
Safari browser will have a new startup page that uses Siri Suggestions to surface commonly visited websites, bookmarks, iCloud tabs and more.
Mail will lets users to block messages from senders, mute message threads from issuing push notifications and send unsubscribe requests from within the app to mailing list providers.
Lastly, Reminders will soon get an overhaul in visual interface so that it will let users more easily create, keep track and organize their reminders.
- This is the new Mac Pro for 2019