Apple’s macOS Catalina is now officially available for download. macOS Catalina brings Apple Arcade to Macs, along with new entertainment apps and also bids goodbye to iTunes. It also adds new features like Sidecar, which will let users expand their Mac workspace with their iPad. Here are details about the macOS Catalina to keep in mind.
macOS Catalina: How to download, list of compatible devices
Apple’s macOS Catalina is compatible with the following devices: MacBook (Early 2015 or newer), MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer), MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer), Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer), iMac (Late 2012 or newer), iMac Pro (2017) and Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer).
General system requirements for macOS Catalina are as follows: OS X 10.9 or later running on the current device, 4GB of memory and 12.5GB of available storage.
In order to upgrade, users can go to the Software Update option in System Preferences to find the macOS Catalina upgrade. Then click on the Upgrade Now option, and follow the onscreen instructions to install the new operating system. These instructions are for those who are running macOS Mojave on their Macs.
If you are upgrading from macOS High Sierra (10.13), Sierra (10.12) or El Capitan (10.11), which are older versions, then go to the App Store to download macOS Catalina. Those still running Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8) will need to upgrade to El Capitan (10.11) first, and then they can download macOS Catalina.
macOS Catalina: Apple Arcade
MacOS Catalina will bring Apple Arcade to the App Store on Macs as well. Apple Arcade is the company’s exclusive gaming service, which has select titles that are only available on iOS and macOS. Apple Arcade costs $4.99 in the US per month, but in India, it costs just Rs 99 per month. It is already live on iOS.
Games can even be played across devices, so players can pick up from their last game saved. On the Mac, games can be played with keyboard and trackpad or mouse. Games also offer support for console controllers such as Xbox Wireless Controllers with Bluetooth and PlayStation DualShock 4.
macOS Catalina: Bye iTunes, hello Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV
With macOS Catalina, the iTunes app is gone. In its place, Apple is adding three separate apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. The Apple TV app will have the Apple TV+ service, which goes live on November 1.
The Music app is similar to the one on iOS and features 50 million songs, playlists and music videos. Users will have access to their entire music library and new music can still be purchased from the iTunes Store, according to Apple.
macOS Catalina: Sidecar for Macs and iPads
The Sidecar will let a user rely on their iPad as a second display, allowing them to spread their work out across devices. Sidecar lets users rely on the iPad display for inputs such as drawing, sketching, etc, in any Apple or third-party Mac app that supports stylus input. This feature relies on a wired connection so users can charge their iPad as they work or on a wireless connection as well.
macOS Catalina: Accessibility
For accessibility, macOS Catalina is adding Voice Control to help those with disabilities to make it easier to control their Macs. Voice Control on macOS Catalina uses the latest version of Siri speech recognition technology to transcribe spoken text, and enable editing of text via voice. For users with impaired vision, there’s a new Hover Text feature, which displays high-resolution text in a dedicated window when hovering over text and user interface elements.
macOS Catalina: Mac Catalyst
Apple is also introducing its Mac Catalyst technology, which will let app developers build Mac-friendly versions of their existing iPad apps. Apps like Twitter, GoodNotes, Post-it, Morpholio Board, Rosetta Stone, Jira, Proloquo2Go and others will available on the Mac App Store for users to download and try.
macOS Catalina: Screen Time
The iOS feature is now making its way to Macs. It gives users insight on the apps, websites where they are spending maximum time. Users will be able to schedule Downtime away from their Mac, and also add App Limits to control over how much time is spent on specific apps, websites and categories of apps. Family Sharing will gives parents visibility for their kids’ activities across all of their devices.
macOS Catalina: Security and Privacy
With macOS Catalina, the system now runs on a dedicated, read-only system volume which is completely separate from all other data. Apple claims nothing can accidentally overwrite critical operating system files. All apps will now need permission before accessing user documents.
Further, every Mac with the Apple-designed T2 Security Chip now supports Activation Lock. So if a Mac is misplaced or stolen, only the owner can erase and reactivate it. A new approve with Apple Watch feature will also let users approve specific security prompts by simply tapping the side button on their Apple Watch.
The Find My App now combines the Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into a single app. This has already live with iOS 13, and Apple is just extending this to Macs. Find My can help users locate a missing Mac, even if it’s offline and sleeping by sending out Bluetooth signals, which can be detected by Apple devices in use nearby. The detected location of the Mac is relayed to iCloud so a user can can locate it in the Find My app. Further, a user can rely on the Find My app on their iPhone to find a missing Mac.
macOS Catalina: Other features
macOS Catalina also brings a revamped Photos app, which will intelligently showcase the user’s best pictures. Safari gets an updated start page that uses Siri Suggestions to elevate frequently visited sites, bookmarks, etc.
The Mail app in macOS Catalina adds the ability to block email from a specified sender, mute an overly active thread and unsubscribe from commercial mailing lists. Apple has added a new Gallery View to Notes, along with better search tools. The Reminders app has also been redesigned with a new user interface.