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macOS 10.15 Catalina
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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 = 10th October 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 has an upgraded version of the Reminders application - when using Reminders, if you choose to upgrade to the new format, it will then only synchronise with iOS 13 or later | macOS 10.15 or later
  • Catalina does not support Apple's hardware RAID and Apple's RAID Utility has been removed
  • Catalina splits iTunes into separate applications but also removes support for Playlist XML files - many popular DJ applications no longer work in Catalina and will need to be upgraded
  • Safari 13 in Catalina does not support .safariextz packaged Safari Extensions - see our Catalina Third Party Product Compatibility Information article
  • Safari 13 in Catalina does not support legacy NPAPI browser plug-ins except for Adobe Flash
  • 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 disables legacy smart card support that uses TokenD
  • 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. Catalina was released on the 7th October 2019. Buy it now on the Mac App Store
Q. How much does macOS 10.15 Catalina cost?
A. It is a FREE download via the Mac App Store Buy it now on the Mac App Store
Q. What's with the Catalina name?
A. Who cares. Dark Mode right??? Oh, that was a year ago…
Q. In our family/household/business the different Macs have different iTunes / App Store accounts on them. Do I have to download Catalina multiple times?
A. No. You can have more than one iTunes / App Store authorisation on a single machine. Use one of the iTunes / App Store accounts to authorise each computer in the family/household/business in turn to download and install Catalina (in the App Store application click on the "Purchases" tab).
NOTE: Mac App Store authorisations (for consumers) are different to iTunes authorisations. Mac App Store authorisations are unlimited whereas the iTunes authorisation limit is 10.
Q. How do I install Catalina on multiple computers?
A. Option 1: Download Catalina individually on each computer at ~8GB in size each time.
A. Option 2: Download the Catalina installer on one computer (at ~8GB in size), quit the installer and copy the installer to each computer's Applications folder that you want to install Catalina on.
A. Option 3: Download the Catalina installer on one computer (at ~8GB in size) and obtain the macOS Install Disc Image to use on each computer that you want to install Catalina on.
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)
NOTE: You will also need at least OS X 10.9.5 and an Apple ID to be able to obtain Catalina from the Mac App Store.
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. I have a compatible Mac but I am running Mac OS X 10.6.8 so how do I install Catalina?
A. You will need to upgrade to a newer operating system first, then upgrade to Catalina, e.g. install one of the following first:
Q. I have a compatible Mac but I am running OS X 10.7.5 so how do I install Catalina?
A. You will need to upgrade to a newer operating system first, then upgrade to Catalina, e.g. install one of the following first:
Q. I have a compatible Mac but I am running OS X 10.8.5 so how do I install Catalina?
A. You will need to upgrade to a newer operating system first, then upgrade to Catalina, e.g. install one of the following first:
Q. I have a compatible Mac and I am running OS X 10.9.5 or later so how do I download/install Catalina from the Mac App Store?
A. See this article.
Q. I have OS X 10.9.5 or later but my internet connection is slow. Will this be a problem?
A. No, but be warned, the Catalina installer is ~8GB in size so it may take some time to download.
Q. I have OS X 10.9.5 or later but I don't have a permanent connection to the internet. Will this be a problem?
A. Yes. The Mac App Store purchase of Catalina will require an internet connection. See the options listed in answer to the next question.
Q. I have OS X 10.9.5 or later but I have an internet access data cap in place / I cannot download something that is ~8GB in size. What can I do?
A. Catalina will not be available on optical disc or a USB thumb drive so your options are:
  1. Use a different internet connection to yours that does not have an internet access data cap in place.
  2. Go to an Apple Retail Store where you can install Catalina from their local server.
Q. If there is no physical Catalina disc/USB thumb drive and I install Catalina but run into trouble what can I do?
A. If you downloaded Catalina from the Mac App Store: A. If your Mac came with macOS 10.15 Catalina:
Q. What new features does Catalina have?
A. See Apple's macOS 10.15 Catalina 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 (also replaces Parental Controls)
  • 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
  • New game controller support - specifically: Xbox One S + PlayStation 4 DualShock
  • 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 application - upgraded reminders require iOS 13 or later, macOS 10.15 or later
  • Sidecar feature with an iPad - use your iPad running iPadOS 13 or later as an additional screen/tablet with your Mac (wired or wirelessly) [a modern Mac model required + your Apple ID must have 2FA enabled]
  • 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)
  • Apple Watch unlocking + OS/application user confirmations
  • WPA3 Wi-Fi encryption
  • iCloud Drive folder sharing - coming in Spring 2020 with a free update to macOS 10.15…
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 the new Reminders application requires iOS 13 or later / macOS 10.15 or later to synchronise what if I have (older) hardware running earlier operating system versions?
A. When you launch the new Reminders application you will be offered a choice to upgrade to the new version (Upgrade Now) or not (Upgrade Later). If you do upgrade, then the data will only synchronise with iOS 13 or later / macOS 10.15 or later. If you have (older) hardware running earlier operating system versions then choose not to upgrade (although, obviously, you won't get any of the new features/benefits of the upgraded version).
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 update this article as more information/differences become known:
  • Playlist XML support has been removed - this affects many DJ type applications which will need to be upgraded to work with the new way of accessing this data
  • 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 but under the new Finder > General there is an option for "Show this iPhone/iPad/iPod touch when on Wi-Fi". 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. Yes. All compatible audiobooks will be moved over to the Books application.
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. How do I connect a wireless game controller?
A. Apple has official instructions online.
Q. Catalina appears to rely on iCloud a lot. Do I have to have an iCloud account (Apple ID) to install/use Catalina?
A. You will need an Apple ID to use the Mac App Store to purchase Catalina in the first place but once it is installed you may not need to use iCloud. An Apple ID can be your iTunes account if you have one.
macOS 10.15 Catalina - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud. You have control over:
  • iCloud Drive - with individual control over "Desktop & Documents Folders" + individual application storage
  • Photos†
  • Mail†
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders† - upgraded reminders require iOS 13 or later / iPadOS 13 or later / macOS 10.15 or later
  • Messages - requires iOS 11.4 or later, macOS 10.13.5 or later
  • Safari†
  • Notes† - requires "upgraded" Notes with iOS 9 or later, OS X 10.11 or later
  • Siri (if your Mac supports Siri)
  • Keychain (in the cloud)†
  • Find My Mac
  • News
  • Stocks
  • Home
† - This information can only be synchronise across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
Q. Which Macs support the new Sidecar feature?
A. It would appear that the following Macs are compatible with the new Sidecar feature:
  • 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 21.5" (Late 2015 or newer)
  • iMac 27" (Late 2015 or newer)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (2019? or newer)
Q: How do I use the new Sidecar feature with an iPad?
NOTE: Sidecar requires a compatible Mac running macOS 10.15 Catalina or later and a compatible iPad running iPadOS 13 or later.
  1. On your Mac, go to the AirPlay menu icon in your menu bar (the square above a triangle icon in the top right of your screen)
  2. NOTE: If you do not have an AirPlay menu icon, go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Displays > TICK "Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available"
  3. If you have an iPad that's compatible with Sidecar it will show up in the AirPlay menu list with it's name
  4. Select the iPad you want to use as a Sidecar additional display from the AirPlay menu list - the iPad should automatically switch to being an additional display
Some notes about Sidecar:
  • The iPad can be used in Sidecar mode either over Wi-Fi or via a physical USB connection - using a USB connection will power the iPad
  • Most touch gestures on the iPad will be switched off while in Sidecar mode - a few things may still work such as scrolling a window
  • The Apple Pencil can be used on the iPad but it works as a mouse alternative
  • Any keyboard connected to the iPad still works
  • A control sidebar will appear on the iPad while in Sidecar mode - this can be moved or turned on/off via the Sidecar System Preferences pane
  • A Touch Bar will appear on the iPad while in Sidecar mode (this is similar to the Touch Bar found on specific Touch Bar model MacBook Pros) - this can be moved or turned on/off via the Sidecar System Preference pane
  • While an iPad is attached in Sidecar mode you get further options/controls at Apple menu > System Preferences > Sidecar
  • You can arrange the position of the Sidecar display in the normal way via Apple menu > System Preferences > Displays > Arrangement tab
Q. Which Macs support the new Apple Watch unlocking and WPA3 Wi-Fi encryption features?
A. It would appear that the following Macs are compatible with these new features:
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2013 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro 13"/15" (Early 2013 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2014 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2013 or newer)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 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.
Q. If I install macOS 10.15 Catalina and don't like it can I easily downgrade back to 10.14/10.13/10.12/10.11/10.10/10.9?
A. Unfortunately, depending on your Mac model it may not be very easy. We're working on an article about that - check back soon.
Q. What should I do to prepare and be ready for installing Catalina?
A. See this article.

Article Keywords: macOS 1015 Catalina Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

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