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macOS 10.15 Catalina Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Article ID = 220
Article Title = macOS 10.15 Catalina Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 4th June 2018
Article Last Updated = 25th June 2019
Article URL = https://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?220

Article Brief Description:
Frequently Asked Questions about macOS 10.15 Catalina

WARNINGS!

  • Catalina does not support 32-Bit Applications
  • Catalina does not support legacy media formats
  • Catalina no longer trusts TLS certificates signed with the SHA-1 hash algorithm
  • Catalina does not support Apple's hardware RAID and Apple's RAID Utility has been removed
  • Catalina has removed the Dashboard feature - it is no longer available in the Mission Control System Preferences
  • Catalina has a dedicated system volume - backup/cloning/disk repair software will almost definitely need to be updated/upgraded to work with this new version of macOS
  • Catalina's default shell is Zsh not Bash - this appears to be a licensing issue
  • Python 2.7 is no longer included - use Python 3 instead

macOS 10.15 Catalina Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When will macOS 10.15 Catalina be released?
A. macOS 10.15 was announced at Apple's 2019 World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) on the 3rd June 2019 - it will be released to the public in the autumn of 2019.
Q. How much will macOS 10.15 Catalina cost?
A. It will be free, as in, a free download via the internet.
Q. What's with the Catalina name?
A. Who cares. Dark Mode right??? Oh, that was a year ago…
Q. Which Macs can I install Catalina on?
A. Apple has officially confirmed that the following Macs are compatible with Catalina:
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 13"/15" (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
Q. How can I check what specifications my computer has or graphics capability it has?
Q. Which Mac do I have?
A. You can check "Processor", "Memory" and macOS/OS X/Mac OS X "Version" by going to Apple menu > About This Mac > Overview tab if necessary (hint - clicking on the version number will give you the "build" number).
A. To check your Mac's "Model Name" go to Apple menu > About This Mac > Overview tab if necessary > check for the computer name in the top line e.g. "MacBook Pro" (this can only be checked with OS X 10.7 or later)
A. To check your Mac's model date version go to Apple menu > About This Mac > Overview tab if necessary > check the details after the Model Name e.g. "Early 2015" (this can only be checked with OS X 10.7 or later) - to be more specific and exact you can check what "Model Identifier" your Mac has by:
  • If you are running Mac OS X 10.6 or earlier go to Apple menu > About This Mac > click the "More Info…" button > (the System Profiler application will open) select "Hardware" in the top left > check what it says for 'Model Identifier' on the right.
  • If you are running OS X 10.7 or OS X 10.8 go to Apple menu > About This Mac > click the "More Info…" button > (the System Information application will open) select "Hardware" in the top left > check what it says for 'Model Identifier' on the right under 'Hardware Overview'.
  • If you are running OS X 10.9 or later go to Apple menu > About This Mac > click the "Overview" tab in the top left > click the "System Report…" button > (the System Information application will open) select "Hardware" in the top left > check what it says for 'Model Identifier' on the right under 'Hardware Overview'.
A. To check what graphics capability your Mac has:
  • If you are running Mac OS X 10.6 or earlier go to Apple menu > About This Mac > click the "More Info…" button > (the System Profiler application will open) select "Graphics/Displays" under 'Hardware' in the top left (click the triangle down if necessary) > click on the 'Video Card' on the right to see the technical information below.
  • If you are running OS X 10.7 or OS X 10.8 go to Apple menu > About This Mac > click the "More Info…" button > (the System Information application will open) select "Graphics/Displays" under 'Hardware' in the top left (click the triangle down if necessary) > click on the 'Video Card' on the right to see the technical information below.
  • If you are running OS X 10.9 or later go to Apple menu > About This Mac > click the "Overview" tab in the top left > click the "System Report…" button > (the System Information application will open) select "Graphics/Displays" under 'Hardware' in the top left (click the triangle down if necessary) > click on the 'Video Card' on the right to see the technical information below. With OS X 10.11 or later here you will also find whether your GPU supports "Metal".
A. To check your Mac's "Model Number" it is usually printed/engraved on the outside of the computer somewhere (it usually begins with the letter A or M).
Q. What new features does Catalina have?
A. See Apple's macOS 10.15 Catalina preview web page. MacStrategy's recommended features to note are:
  • Voice control - control your iOS device with your voice (initially US English only) - all audio processing occurs on your Mac
  • Screen Time
  • Activation Lock - requires a T2 chip
  • Dedicated system volume - macOS Catalina runs in its own read-only volume for security
  • Restore from snapshot - restore the macOS installation prior to a system update (that might go wrong)
  • New Apple ID System Preference for managing your Apple account
  • iTunes application split into separate applications > Music + Podcasts + Apple TV
  • Apple TV application now supports 4K, 4K HDR, 4K Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and HDR10 content (only Mac models introduced in 2018 or later with 4K-resolution screens)
  • New Reminders app
  • Sidecar feature with an iPad - use your iPad running iOS 13 or later as an additional screen/tablet with your Mac (wired or wirelessly) [a modern Mac model required]
  • More data privacy - applications must now get your permission before directly accessing files in your Documents and Desktop folders, iCloud Drive, and external volumes
  • One single Find My app now incorporates iPhone/iPad/iPod/Mac/Friends
  • Hardware can be securely located even if the device is sleeping - requires you have at least two Apple products running either macOS 10.15 or iOS 13
  • Notes - new Gallery view
  • Notes - shared folders
  • HomeKit secure video via iCloud - 10 days of "free" iCloud storage that doesn't count against iCloud data plan limits (however, one video camera requires the 200GB iCloud storage plan and 2-5 video cameras requires the 2TB iCloud storage plan)
  • iCloud Drive folder sharing
NOTE: For the minimum system requirements of various new features see the relevant Q&A further down this page.
Q. Does macOS 10.15 support all 64-bit applications?
A. No. All components and resources used by the 64-bit application must also be 64-bit (compatible). Apple has already stated some things will not work in macOS 10.15 or later:
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still get iTunes for older operating systems/Windows?
A. Yes. The splitting of the iTunes application is specific to macOS 10.15 Catalina. iTunes will, for some time, still exist for older versions of macOS and Windows.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still buy and download music from the iTunes Store?
A. Yes. The iTunes "Store" is not being discontinued. You will still be able to make purchases from within each of the three new applications. This facility still includes iTunes Gift Cards and iTunes credits.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still play locally stored MP3/AAC/ALAC music on my Mac?
A. Yes. macOS 10.15 Catalina's new Music application still supports locally stored MP3/AAC/ALAC music - Apple has now published an official support document with details.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone will the new Music application work with my old playlists and smart playlists?
A. Yes. Playlists and smart playlists will automatically be imported into the new Music application.
Q. So the new Music application is identical to the music parts of iTunes?
A. Not quite. It's not identical. We'll list any significant differences here and upadte this article as more information/differences become known:
  • There is no Column Browser view
  • When importing a CD there is no progress bar at the top of the window - there is now "Activity in progress…" text in the bottom left of the window which when clicked, gives you an Activity progress window
  • When burning a CD there is no progress bar at the top of the window - there is now "Burning CD…" text in the bottom left of the window which when clicked, gives you an Activity progress window
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still synchronise media to my iOS device/check the summary of my iOS device/back it up/update it?
A. Yes. If you're using iCloud for the relevant media the synchronisation is automatic via the internet. If you want to synchronise media manually via USB cable/check the summary of your iOS device/back it up/update it, you can still do this via the Sidebar in macOS 10.15 Catalina's Finder - iOS devices appear under the "Locations" heading.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still synchronise photos from a folder (not the Photos application) to my iOS device?
A. Unknown at this time. We'll update this article when we get more information.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still synchronise my iOS device over Wi-Fi?
A. Unknown at this time. We'll update this article when we get more information.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still play films in the new "Apple TV" application?
A. Yes. The Apple TV application supports the video media from iTunes i.e TV Programmes + Films.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still play/buy audiobooks?
A. Yes. They are moved to and played via the Books application. You can also purchase audiobooks via the Books application.
Q. Will Apple's Books application work with third party audiobooks e.g. audible.com?
A. Unknown at this time. We'll update this article when we get more information.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still share my media over the network?
A. Yes. This feature has now moved to the "Sharing" System Preference where there is a new "Media Sharing" option.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still "rip" a physical CD?
A. Yes. The process is exactly the same as before, but now done by the new Music application - inserting a CD launches the Music applications, looks up the Gracenote/CDDB metadata, and offers to import the CD.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone can I still "burn" a physical audio CD directly from the new Music app?
A. Yes. The process is similar to before, but the burning progress feedback is much diminished - you won't see any obvious feedback that anything actually is happening. There is a small "Burning CD" text in very small type in the bottom left corner of the Music app sidebar. Although it's not obvious that "Burning CD" is clickable, it is, and a small window will appear with a small progress wheel and the name of the track currently being burned.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone does the Music application still have Equaliser features?
A. Yes. The traditional iTunes Equaliser remains accessible via the Music application's Windows menu.
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone is all my media still stored in one single location (e.g. "iTunes Media" folder) or is it spread out across separate folders for each of the applications/system areas now?
A. Media is now spread out across separate folders for each of the applications and stored separately:
  • Music/Music Video media files are stored in Macintosh HD > Users > ~your home directory~ > Music > Media
  • Apple TV media files are stored in Macintosh HD > Users > ~your home directory~ > Movies > Apple TV > Media
  • Podcast media files are stored in Macintosh HD > Users > ~your home directory~ > Library > Group Containers > 243LU875E5.groups.com.apple.podcasts > Library > Cache (but they may not have easily recognisable names)
  • Books/Audiobooks media files are stored in Macintosh HD > Users > ~your home directory~ > Library > Containers > com.apple.BKAgentService > Data > Documents > iBooks > Books (but they may not have easily recognisable names)
Q. If iTunes is discontinued/gone are the three new individual applications still scriptable?
A. In a blog post over on Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes web site, Doug states that it looks like the Music and Apple TV applications are scriptable but, currently, the Podcasts application isn't.
Q. The new "hardware can be securely located even if the device is sleeping" feature sounds great. But is it secure/private?
A. According to WIRED, yes it should be.
Q. Which Macs support the new Sidecar feature?
A. It currently looks like only the following models:
  • MacBook (Early 2016 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2018 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 13"/15" (Mid 2016 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2018 or newer)
  • iMac 27" (Late 2015 or newer)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (2019 or newer)
Q. Which apps support Continuity Camera?
A. According to this Apple technote the following apps do:
  • Finder
  • Keynote v8.2 or later
  • Mail
  • Messages
  • Notes
  • Numbers v5.2 or later
  • Pages v7.2 or later
  • TextEdit
Q. Does Catalina use Core Storage?
A. Yes. Disk Utility (in Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities folder) gives you access to some Core Storage features and formatting.
Q. Does Catalina use Apple File System (APFS)?
A. Yes. See our separate Apple File System (APFS) article.
Q. Does Catalina support "Back To My Mac"?
A. No. See this Apple support page for more information and alternative options.
Q. I've heard Catalina includes something called System Integrity Protection (SIP). Will this stop me installing and using older software?
A. Possibly. See our separate article all about System Integrity Protection (SIP).
Q. I've heard Catalina includes something called Gatekeeper. Will this stop me installing and using older software?
A. No. You can configure Gatekeeper in one of two different ways:
  1. Mac App Store = only software downloaded and installed from the Mac App Store will run (highest security)
  2. Mac App Store and identified developers = only software downloaded and installed from the Mac App Store or that have been digitally signed by an authorised developer will run (medium security - default)
Q. Does Catalina have Rosetta? Does it run PowerPC applications/software?
A. Just like OS X 10.7 Lion and later, Catalina does not include Rosetta.
Q. Does Catalina include X11?
A. No. X11 on Catalina now uses install on demand. When you first launch an app that requires X11 libraries, you are directed to a download location for the most up-to-date version of X11 for Mac e.g. XQuartz.
Q. Does Catalina include Personal Web Sharing?
A. No. But the underlying software needed (Apache) is still included in macOS. However, you can no longer use Apple's own macOS Server to configure this so you will need to install/purchase third party products e.g. MAMP, VirtualHostX, etc, or get jiggy with Terminal commands for free.
Q. Does Catalina include Xgrid Sharing?
A. No. Just like OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and later it has been removed.
Q. Does Catalina include Java?
A. No. Java is available to download from Oracle - see our Java article for more information and download links to obtain the latest free Java software.

Article Keywords: macOS 1015 Catalina Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

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