In Depth

Apple’s macOS Catalina: new features, install instructions and compatibility list

iTunes gets the axe as the tech giant positions computer system closer to iOS

Apple’s new macOS Catalina operating system is now available to download for Mac computer users.

The computer software, also referred to as version 10.15, builds on last year’s macOS Mojave release by introducing a raft of usability improvements and some key new features. 

In addition, iTunes is being axed in a bid to bring the computer software on a level with the iOS and iPadOS systems that power iPhones and iPads respectively. 

Here’s what else Mac users should know: 

How to update

To update, simply click on the Apple logo in the top left-hand side of the screen and select “About This Mac”. Once there, click on the “Overview” tab and then tap “Software Update”.

“Remember to back up all you stuff before installing new software”, Engadget advises, just in case anything goes awry during the update process.

What are the new features?

Apple used WWDC, held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in California, to confirm rumours that it would be dropping its iTunes app. The move comes 18 years after former boss Steve Jobs unveiled the multimedia software at the firm’s Macworld conference. 

Whereas iTunes stores the users’ music, video and podcasts in one place, macOS Catalina will split them over three separate apps - Music, TV and Podcasts - matching the company’s strategy on its iOS devices.

The company is also making it easier for third-party iPad developers to import their apps to Apple’s computers, reports The Verge. Twitter has already confirmed that its iPad app will be transferred over to macOS Catalina, and other developers are expected to follow the social media company’s lead.

Other new features include a “Sidecar” that makes it possible to use an iPad as a secondary display. This could be particularly handy for digital artists, who will be able to use their tablet as a drawing pad.

Accessibility has been improved, too. Mac users can now use voice commands alone for tasks including editing Pages documents and tweaking pictures in the Photos app. 

What devices are compatible with macOS Catalina?

According to ZDNet, the compatibility list for macOS Catalina is almost identical to that for last year’s Mojave update. Only the mid-2010 and mid-2012 models of the Mac Pro desktop computer have been dropped for this year’s release.

Here’s the full list of computers that can run the new software:

  • iMac Pro (2017-present)
  • MacBook (2015-present)
  • Mac Pro (2013-present)
  • iMac (2012-present)
  • MacBook Air (2012-present)
  • MacBook Pro (2012-present)
  • Mac Mini (2012-present)

These devices won’t be compatible with macOS Catalina: 

  • Mac Pro (mid-2012)
  • Mac Pro (mid-2010)

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