Apple Catalina

Aug 09, 2020 Apple Footer. This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple may provide or recommend responses as a possible solution based on the information provided; every potential issue may involve several factors not detailed in the conversations captured in an electronic forum and Apple can therefore provide no guarantee as to the. Safari uses these links to find the old installers in the App Store. After downloading from the App Store, the installer opens automatically. MacOS Catalina 10.15 can upgrade Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks.

macOS Catalina was the next step in Apple's modern initiatives to control the user experience from top to bottom. This update closed off more walls, built up more security, and offered more ecosystem parity across devices. It also introduced Mac Catalyst, a system allowing developers to bring more iPad apps to Mac, including Apple's own apps. This update also ditched iTunes in favor of three new apps; music, podcasts, and TV.

● Mac Catalyst
● New Apple Apps
● Sidecar
● Apple Arcade
● Screen Time
● Apple Watch authentication
● New security features
● New and improved accessibility features
● Public release on October 7, 2019

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission when you buy through our links. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

macOS Catalina was an update that added almost as much as it took away, and it was one of the Mac's most important updates because of it. We lost 32-bit app support, the iTunes app, and even dashboard, but we gained iPad apps, new coding frameworks, and more ecosystem-driven features. macOS Catalina not only benefited Mac users but iPad users as well, because of initiatives like Sidecar and Mac Catalyst.

Mac Catalyst

Mac catalyst is a developer system allowing developers to take advantage of existing iPad app frameworks and implement the app in macOS with very little rework or alteration. Apple hopes a low barrier to entry will be enough to cause a large developer adoption. The introduction of Mac Catalyst seems to be a direct reaction to the slow decline of the Mac App Store because developers who make iOS apps had very little incentive to develop for Mac.

Apple's push for developers to make iPad apps run on macOS should see a trickle-down effect that improves the app on iPad as well.

An update released in February 2020 added the ability for developers to bundle their iPadOS and macOS apps under one price. This extends to tvOS, iOS, and watchOS as well.

Now, with a single purchase, you can have access to the same app across all of your Apple devices. This was introduced as a part of Mac Catalyst, but can be applied to any apps that exist across app stores.

Apple very rarely adds first-party apps to macOS, but in Catalina, there were several additions in the wake of Mac Catalyst and the death of iTunes.

Apple Music and Apple TV are both full Mac apps meant to replace iTunes. Podcasts also helps with replacing iTunes, and is a Mac Catalyst app built from the iPad app. These apps all share the same design language as their iPad counterparts, with the addition of Mac UI norms like sidebar navigation.

Podcasts and TV will look familiar to iOS users, but feel at home on the Mac.

Two more Mac Catalyst apps were introduced as well: Reminders and Find My.

The Reminders app was rebuilt from the ground up to replace more modern task systems and has an all-new design layout for better scaling to large screens. Find My is a combination of Find My Friends and Find My iPhone. Both apps are good examples of properly executed Mac Catalyst apps.

Apple’s Reality Converter app will let developers manipulate objects like this in 3D on Mac

Apple introduced Reality Converter for developers alongside its 2019 macOS update. It's a Mac app capable of viewing and customizing USDZ 3D objects. This will allow developers to create objects with an AR quick on websites or apps. This is part of Apple's larger AR push, alongside ARKit, as it builds up to the rumored 'Apple Glass.'

Sidecar brings new functionality to the Apple ecosystem, further binding iOS and macOS devices together. Now owners of both iPad and Mac products can take advantage of the unique use cases of both devices in several ways.

The iPad can act as a mirrored or extended desktop display for the Mac, a drawing tool with the Apple Pencil, or a digital-annotation tool for notes and documents.

iPad acting as an external display for this MacBook using Sidecar.

When using the iPad as an extended or mirrored display, you get access to new controls. Sidecar adds a digital Touch Bar, identical to the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar, to the bottom of the iPad screen. It also adds a sidebar with shortcuts to macOS functions.

Multi-touch iPad gestures still work in Sidecar. An especially savvy user might consider using scripts to launch Sidecar via Siri Shortcuts, allowing a mirrored desktop to show up on your iPad from anywhere in the home.

Screen Time was originally released on iOS as a time-management tool for iOS users and family administrators. Now on Mac, users can see a breakdown of each app and website you visit throughout the day.

With this data, you can set limits and control viewable content. Apple created this in the hope that parents would no longer need to rely on third-party app services with upsetting privacy concerns.

Just like its iOS version, Screen Time lets users adjust downtime and app limits on the Mac. It generates a usage report so users can see what they have been using across all devices.

Pro Mode is a possibly canceled feature that was discovered in the macOS Catalina 10.15.3 beta. When turned on, users would be able to bypass built-in limits that prevent battery exhaustion and force the computer to operate at maximum potential.

However, this setting would come with some risks, and it presents the user with a dialogue confirming that battery life may decrease.

More details have not surfaced about expected performance increases or what sustained operations in this manner will do. Since it has yet to materialize in either Catalina or macOS Big Sur, it's possible Apple explored Pro Mode but ultimately passed on releasing it to the public.

Apple Catalina Wallpaper

macOS Catalina rebuilds the app-permission system across the OS. Now, when you install any app, it must request permission to access specific folders, contacts, and location data. However, the system can be a little too overbearing at times, and it offers no good way to manage these permissions on a wide scale.

App dialog boxes will appear much more often in macOS Catalina.

This meant users spent much of their initial macOS Catalina run fighting with dialog boxes. To ensure all apps are secure and operable, macOS will also check for proper app notarization.

Apple required by February 3, 2020 that developers notarize all apps running on macOS Catalina for security. Users worried about 'Windows Smartscreen' levels of abuse need not because the feature that looks for app notarization can be disabled if needed.

Voice Control received a major update across the entire Apple ecosystem with macOS Catalina. Now a user can reliably navigate and control any app entirely with their voice.

Text selection and zooming are both easily performed with natural voice commands. If a user wants to click on a link, the 'show numbers' command places numbers by every link on the page.

Voice navigation innovations like these are a game-changer, greatly enhancing the use case for many users. Other accessibility additions include tinting the display, filtering color, and iCloud sync of accessibility settings like custom punctuation pronunciation.

The addition of Apple Arcade to macOS Catalina is as much a boon for the nascent service as it is for users. Now more than ever, gaming sits at center stage in consumer electronics, and Apple is finally jumping in headfirst. However, it's doing it not with a console but with a gaming service. It is yet to be seen if any games will eventually be 'Mac only' on this service, but some hope that including it in macOS will mean more robust gaming experiences in the future.

The iTunes app

iTunes had only become increasingly complex and bloated with time.

iTunes had been clinging for life with each and every update, and Apple kept shoveling new tasks at iTunes over the years without much change in how it looks or operates. Finally, with macOS Catalina, we see Apple dump iTunes, for better or worse in some cases, for the new fresh apps inspired by iOS.

This was partially the fault of Mac Catalyst since it was a prime opportunity for Apple to show off its own system. It was discovered, however, that only the new Podcasts app for Mac was a Catalyst app. Apple Music bore much of the same structure as iTunes, and Apple handed off device-syncing duties to Finder.

However, the death of the iTunes app does not mean the end of the branding. The iTunes Store lives on as a digital marketplace where you can buy music, movies, or TV for your digital collections.

Apple ended 32-bit app support on macOS with this release after a long period of preparing developers and users for the transition. The death knell for 32-bit architecture rang when iOS dumped support for 32-bit apps in iOS 11. This transition will only affect specific types of users who cling to old versions of software that now require subscriptions or deprecated apps that their developers abandoned.

If you haven't yet upgraded, you can find the most comprehensive list in the Mac System Information menu, and AppleInsider covers how to do this in detail.

Dashboard as it looked on older versions of Mac OSX

Apple initially released Dashboard for OSX 10.4 as a way to view widgets and web snippets all in one place. By OSX 10.10, it was disabled by default and widgets were placed in the Notification Center. Now Dashboard is completely deprecated, but widgets still live on.

The next update to macOS would not be 'macOS 10.16' but instead became macOS 11.0. Apple moved to the new version after nearly a decade on version 10. Updates will now follow the iOS structure with the version going up by 1.0 every year.

The biggest reason for this change was Apple's transition to M-series processors. The macOS Big Sur update introduced an OS that could run on Intel and Apple Silicon with UI changes that made everything closer to iOS.

Apple catalina 2019

Apple introduced developers to the idea behind bringing iPad apps to the Mac with macOS Catalina and Mac Catalyst. While that process still exists, Apple now encourages developers to create universal apps that work on every platform using the same codebase.

Apple Catalina

macOS Catalina gives you more of everything you love about Mac. Experience music, TV, and podcasts in three all-new Mac apps. Enjoy your favorite iPad apps now on your Mac. Extend your workspace and expand your creativity with iPad and Apple Pencil. And discover smart new features in the apps you use every day. Now you can take everything you do above and beyond.

Music, TV, and podcasts take center stage.

iTunes forever changed the way people experienced music, movies, and podcasts. It all changes again with three all-new, dedicated apps — Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts — each designed from the ground up to be the best way to enjoy entertainment on your Mac. And rest assured; everything you had in your iTunes library is still accessible in each app. iCloud seamlessly syncs everything across your devices — or you can back up, restore, and sync by connecting the device directly to your Mac.

Presenting Apple Music on Mac.

The new Apple Music app is the ultimate music streaming experience on Mac.1 Explore a library of 60 million songs, discover new artists and tracks, find the perfect playlist, download and listen offline, or enjoy all the music you’ve collected over the years. And find it all in your music library on all your devices.

Apple TV. Premiering on Mac.

The Apple TV app for Mac is the new home for all your favorite movies and Apple TV+.2 Watch everything directly in the app or enjoy it offline, and discover the best of what’s on in the Watch Now tab. You can even pick up where you left off on any screen, across all your devices. And for the first time, 4K3 and Dolby Atmos4–supported movies are available on Mac.

Listen up. Podcasts on Mac.

The best entertainment, comedy, news, and sports shows are now available on your Mac with Apple Podcasts. Search for podcasts by title, topic, guest, host, content, and more. Subscribe and be notified as soon as new episodes become available. And in the Listen Now tab, you can easily pick up where you left off across all your devices.

The apps you love.
Right on your Mac.

Experience your favorite iPad apps now on your Mac. With Mac Catalyst, developers can easily create Mac apps from the iPad apps you already know and love. They run natively alongside your existing Mac apps so you can drag and drop content between them. They take full advantage of the larger screen and powerful architecture of your Mac. And because they are built from their iOS versions, they provide a seamless experience across your devices. Enjoy a broad range of Mac apps — from travel, entertainment, and gaming to banking, education, and project management.

The Twitter for Mac app takes full advantage of the native Mac features like multiple windows, drag and drop, keyboard shortcuts, and more. See more of what’s happening on a larger screen and easily work alongside your other Mac apps.

Morpholio Board for Mac lets interior designers create their mood boards on a larger screen with much more detail. Users can scroll through a huge library of furnishings; use new editing, composition, curation, and organization tools; and work alongside web browsers, notes, and email.

With the Post-it® App on Mac, users can easily organize all their notes on the big screen. Grouping and sorting is much faster using a keyboard and mouse or trackpad. And importing boards from other users is even easier.

With Jira for Mac, manage projects like a boss. Take advantage of native Mac features and move through Jira faster than ever, push notifications, keyboard shortcuts, drag and drop, custom menu bar, and more.

The American Airlines app for Mac lets users check in and choose their seats, and even see three-dimensional renderings of their seats powered by SceneKit.

With TripIt on Mac, you can review all your plans in one place, edit and share your trip details, and research your destination, all while multitasking with other Mac apps. Your itinerary is even available offline, whether you’re at your desk or at 35,000 feet.

The Crew app for Mac is the first communications app designed for workers who don’t have easy access to communication technology on the job. Managers often use Mac computers in the back of house at stores, so users can access the experience they expect on the platform they prefer.

This popular language-learning solution opens a whole new world on Mac. The desktop is wonderfully suited for focus and learning. Rosetta Stone is tightly integrated with the Mac microphone and includes an offline mode for a seamless app experience that’s just not possible on the web.

Proloquo2Go on Mac is designed for people with communication challenges who are unable to make themselves understood using their own voices. The app lets parents, teachers, and therapists customize the app vocabulary using the keyboard and provide new words without requiring access to their child’s device, which may be at school or at home.

Even more amazing Mac apps.Even more amazing Mac apps

Developers are continuing to build for Catalyst as many more of your favorite iPad apps will be coming to Mac.

  • app-1
  • app-2
  • app-3
  • app-4
  • app-5
  • app-6
  • app-7
  • app-8
  • app-9
  • app-10

The apps you use every day, made extraordinary.

With macOS Catalina, the apps you love are now more beautiful and intelligent than ever. So your everyday tasks are easier than ever.

Focus on your best shots.

Photos has a new immersive, dynamic look that showcases your photos and memories. See only the best shots in your library, without the duplicates and clutter. Browse your favorite photos by days, months, and years and get larger previews of all your photos. And Photos is even smarter, so it can highlight important moments like birthdays, anniversaries, and trips.

Easier to find. And easier to share.

A new gallery view and more powerful search help you find your notes quicker than ever. Shared folders let you collaborate on entire folders of notes with another person or a group. And new checklist options let you move completed items to the bottom, quickly reorder items using drag and drop, and more.



The Reminders app has been completely rebuilt, with an all-new design and new ways to easily create, organize, and keep track of reminders. Add attachments to reminders, create or change reminders with the quick edit buttons, and let Siri suggest new ones found in Messages. Smart lists automatically organize and display your upcoming reminders. And if you tag someone in a reminder, you’ll be notified the next time you’re chatting in Messages.

Start browsing.

An updated start page helps you easily and quickly access your favorites and frequently visited sites. And Siri suggestions surface bookmarks, iCloud Tabs, and links from your reading list, as well as those you receive in Messages.

Play extraordinary.

Unlimited access to over 100 ad-free games for your Mac — all in a game subscription service unlike any other. Start playing on your Mac and jump to your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

Try it free5

Extend your desktop. With iPad.

Sidecar lets you extend your workspace by using your iPad as a second Mac display.6 Work in one app while you reference another or view your artwork on your Mac while you use tools and palettes on your iPad. You can also mirror the screens so they both display the same content, making it perfect for sharing exactly what you see with others.

View the Sidecar white paper (PDF)

Express your creativity. With Apple Pencil.

Bring the ease and precision of Apple Pencil to your favorite creative Mac apps with Sidecar.7 Just drag your app window from your Mac to your iPad as you would with any second display. Then use Apple Pencil to design in Illustrator, edit photos in Affinity Photo, or create 3D models in ZBrush. The handy sidebar puts essential Command, Control, and Shift keys right at your fingertips.

Make your mark on Mac.

Use Apple Pencil for everyday tasks like drawing and sketching or marking up screenshots and PDFs. You can easily insert a sketch from your iPad into any document on your Mac.

Powerful apps. Made even more powerful.

Discover all the amazing apps that are compatible with Sidecar, including illustration, photography, and 3D apps.

Affinity Photo


Screen Time.
Now on Mac.

macOS Catalina brings all your favorite Screen Time features to Mac, giving you greater insight into how you’re spending your time. Monitor usage, schedule downtime, and set limits for both apps and websites across all your devices. And with Family Sharing, you can set app and communication limits for your kids to help them focus on the right things.

Communication Limits

Communication Limits let you choose who your children can communicate with throughout the day and during downtime, so you can make sure they’re always reachable.

Combined Limits

With Combined Limits, you can combine individual apps and websites, and even whole categories, into a single, easy-to-manage limit. Set a limit for a group of apps and websites, like gaming or your favorite streaming apps.

One More Minute

Need an extra minute to wrap up what you’re doing? You’ll get a notification when you’ve reached your time limit, so you can quickly wrap up a conversation, save a file, or close a game session before your time runs out.

Increased security.
Greater privacy.

With macOS Catalina, there are enhanced security features to better protect macOS against tampering, help ensure that the apps you use are safe, and give you greater control over access to your data. And it’s even easier to find your Mac if it’s lost or stolen.

More secure hardware.

The Apple T2 Security Chip keeps your Mac secure by ensuring that you’re running trusted software and automatically encrypting your stored data. It also provides secure authentication for Touch ID. And now macOS Catalina features Activation Lock, so only you can erase and reactivate your Mac.

Safer-running software.

macOS Catalina runs in its own read-only volume, so it’s separate from all other data on your Mac, and nothing can accidentally overwrite your system files. And Gatekeeper ensures that new apps you install have been checked for known security issues before you run them, so you’re always using good software.

Data protections.

Apps must now get your permission before directly accessing files in your Documents and Desktop folders, iCloud Drive, and external volumes, so you’re always in control of your data. And you’ll be prompted before any app can capture keyboard activity or a photo or video of your screen.

The new Find My app combines Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into a single, easy-to-use app on Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Find My can help you locate a missing Mac — even if it’s offline and sleeping — by sending out Bluetooth signals that can be detected by Apple devices in use nearby. They can then relay the detected location of your Mac to iCloud so you can locate it in the Find My app.

Apple Catalina Update

It’s all anonymous and encrypted end-to-end so no one, including Apple, knows the identity of any reporting device. And because the reporting happens silently using tiny bits of data that piggyback on existing network traffic, there’s no need to worry about your battery life, your data usage, or your privacy.

Apple Catalina Dmg

Powerful features to empower everyone.

macOS Catalina includes new features to help everyone get the most out of Mac. Tools for users with low vision allow you to zoom in on a paragraph of text or the entire screen.

Zoom Display

If you have two screens, you can keep one screen zoomed in close while the other remains at a standard resolution. It’s great for everyday work and giving a presentation.

Hover Text

Hover Text makes it easier to view text on your Mac display. Just hover over any text with your cursor and press Command. You’ll get a dedicated window with large, high-resolution text. You can even choose the fonts and colors.

macOS Catalina

The power of Mac.
Taken further.

Featuring all-new, dedicated apps for music, TV, and podcasts. Smart new features in the apps you use every day. And Sidecar, which lets you use iPad as a second Mac display.

See if your Mac can run macOS Catalina.


2015 and later

Learn more

MacBook Air

2012 and later

Learn more

MacBook Pro

2012 and later

Learn more

Mac mini

2012 and later

Learn more


2012 and later

Learn more

iMac Pro

2017 and later

(all models)

Mac Pro

2013 and later

Learn more

New tools to build new worlds.

If you can imagine it, you can create it. ARKit 3 gives you new tools to build incredible experiences on the world’s largest AR platform.

Develop for macOS Catalina.

The Apple SDK offers enormous possibilities for developers to create apps that will work across Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Upgrade to start your free trial.

Most Viewed Posts