5 New Features in Mac OS Catalina

Is It the Best Update in Apple History?


Released early October in 2019, Mac OS Catalina implemented a variety of features, improvements, and redesigned applications for its MacBook, iMac, and Mac Pro computers. Although there are many changes, the Mac OS experience beloved by Mac users is still the same. This article highlights some of the biggest new features and how to update your Mac device to Catalina.

catalina update on mac


  • Sidecar:
    • With the implementation of Sidecar, your iPad becomes an external monitor. This provides users the ability to utilize their iPad as a secondary display to either extend or mirror their main display. This is without the mess of wires through Apple’s AirPlay function. The iPad works as an external monitor up to 10 feet way from the connected Mac device. There is an option to use the iPad as an external display over a wired connection to reduce latency and charge it during use. Sidecar also provides users the ability to use their iPad’s Apple Pencil allowing them to take complete control over their Mac OS desktop via their iPad.
  • Screen Time:
    • Launching solely on iPhone’s and iPad’s in 2018, Screen Time has finally made its arrival to Macs running Catalina. Deemed a productivity booster, Screen Time records the amount of time a user spends on applications and how many notifications they receive from an application. Screen Time utilizes enticing graphs and data to illustrate its data. It allows users to monitor how much time they spend on social media, entertainment, and work related applications, which allows them to fix their daily productivity. Users can set daily limits for themselves as well as their children with parental controls. There is also cross platform compatibility with the user’s iOS devices, which show a more comprehensive representation of how they spend their day on their devices.
  • Find My:
    • Find My is a combination of Apple’s Find my Friends and Find my iPhone tracking applications. Utilizing low energy Bluetooth signals, it allows Mac users to track their lost or stolen devices with much more precision and increases the likelihood of it being recovered. Find My works even with the Mac device off as it emits signals of the device in question through small bits of data securely and anonymously to nearby Apple devices. With end-to-end encryption, no one, including Apple and nearby devices, have access to the data and location of the emitting device. Only the authorized user of the lost/stolen Mac has access by logging into their Apple ID. Find My was modified so it does not risk excess network usage, battery life, or privacy. A unique feature exclusively for Apple watch users is that Find My allows them to unlock their Mac devices remotely. The user’s Apple watch is prompted by the Mac device to unlock in which the user can double-tap their watch to unlock the Mac.
  • iTunes split to apps – New App for Every Media Type:
    • Unlike Find My, Apple split up iTunes into separate apps. There is now a new app for every media type.
    • Apple Music: a subscription-based music streaming service.
    • Apple TV: a subscription-based music streaming service.
    • Apple Podcasts: media playing application for podcasts purchased from iTunes.
    • Apple Books: an all-in-one eBook reader, bookstore, and audiobook player.
  • App Updates:
    • Photos: photo’s new design matches its app in iOS 13. It’s easier to browse your gallery by day, month, or year. In addition, it’s now smarter at identifying “moments”, like trips and celebrations.
    • Reminders: reminders was rebuilt entirely from the inside out. Like the Photo’s app, it mirrors its iOS 13 look. You can now add attachments, tag people, and browse your reminders via Smart Lists, with labels like, “Today” and “Flagged.”
    • Notes: notes implemented a new gallery view making it easier for users to browse their content. You can also share folders of notes with others via iCloud and have them contribute their ideas. In addition, there are bulleted lists and easy drag-and-drop reorganization options.
  • Compatible Products:
    • General Requirements:
      • Running OS X 10.9 and later
      • 4 GB of RAM
      • 12.5 GB of available storage
    • Products:
      • 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)
      • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
    • How to upgrade:
      • Ensure your Mac is compatible.
      • Backup your data (updating to Mac OS Catalina may erase or corrupt some of your files).
      • An operating system upgrade is a major change that should be done well after the current COVID-19 crisis, or when an alternate machine is available. Before updating, make sure your applications are compatible since Catalina requires 64-bit applications. This affect Adobe Acrobat 2017 and software for certain hardware such as scanners.
      • Download Mac OS Catalina:
        • Method 1:
        1. Navigate to System Preferences

        2. Click on Software Update

        3. Mac OS Catalina (Version 10.15) should appear, click Update Now

        • Method 2:

        1. Navigate to the App Store

        2. Search Mac OS Catalina

        3. Click on get Get then Install

        4. Input Apple ID credentials if prompted

    • Install Mac OS Catalina:
      • Once the download completes, the installation menu for Catalina opens and will require the user to simply click Continue and follow the on-screen instructions.

      • Ensure the device does not go to sleep or shut down during the installation process as it will stop the install.