At WWDC 2019, Apple announced the next big update to macOS, which supports the Mac mini, iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. MacOS 10.15 Catalina will this fall although an exact date hasn't been announced. There are plenty of new features coming our way, including the following.
What's new with macOS 10.15 Catalina?
There are dozens of new features coming to macOS 10.15 later this year. Some are bigger than others, of course.
Three new Apps to replace iTunes
In Mac, Apple is splitting iTunes into three separate apps: Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV.
Not surprisingly, Music is a lot like iTunes and even more like Music on iOS 12. It also offers syncing capabilities for those who still like to sync iPhone and iPad with Mac. For those who love buying music, there's a store built into the app.
Apple Podcasts offers an interesting search feature that uses machine learning to help you find a podcast you heard about but forget its name by title, topic, guest, host, and more. Apple says there are now over 700,000 podcasts available.
Finally, the new Apple TV app supports 4K and Dolby Atmos-supported films for the first time on Mac. It looks similar to the iOS version of the Apple TV app.
All three apps — Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV — sync your content through iCloud across your devices. Or sync it from each of the apps if you prefer using a cable.
Sidecar with iPad
With Sidecar, you can use your iPad as a second display for Mac! This feature works wirelessly and wired. Sidecar also lets you use the same Multi-Touch gestures with your Mac that you do with your iPad. Draw and sketch is also supported.
At launch, various third-party apps will support Sidecar, including Adobe Illustrator, Cinema 4D, Sketch, and more.
On macOS Catalina, there is now Voice Control, a new way to fully control your Mac, iPadOS, and iOS devices with your voice. It's just one of many new accessibility features in macOS Catalina.
Find My iPhone and Find My Friends have been merged on both Mac, iPhone, and iPad as Find My. The combined apps lets you locate the people and devices that are important to you.
Available on all Macs with a T2 Security Chip, Activation Lock allows you to erase and deactivate your Mac in the event that it's stolen. It's similar to a feature already available on iPhone and iPad.
Existing Mac apps like Reminders are getting minor updates in macOS Catalina.
In Notes, there's a new gallery view that displays your notes as visual thumbnails, which makes it easier to find specific content. There's also the ability to share notes or entire folders as view-only. With new shared folders, you can collaborate on a folder level with ease. Look for more powerful search functionality as well.
Reminders is completely new in macOS Catalina and includes a new design and more powerful features. These include enhanced Siri intelligence, the ability to add attachments, new edit buttons, and more.
In the Photos app, you'll now find a new Photos tab, larger photo previews, day, month, and year organization, and auto-playing of Live Photos and videos.
Safari has received a new start page and other features.
Next, Mail now includes block sender, mute, and unsubscribe features.
Screen Time for Mac
One year after it arrived on iOS, ScreenTime is coming to macOS too. The controls allow you to keep track of your usage on Mac and also restrict the content that's available. You can also use ScreenTime to turn off features at certain times of the day.
Goodbye, Marzipan, hello, Project Catalyst. This new program will allow developers to create apps that will work across multiple Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, and Mac. This integration will be available for games, of course, plus travel, entertainment, banking, education, project management, and more.
Approve with Apple Watch
You can soon double-click the side button of your Apple Watch to authenticate on your Mac. In doing so, you can unlock a locked note, approve app installations, and view your passwords in Safari preferences without having to enter one.
And many more!
We're just scratching the surface on macOS Catalina. Be sure to bookmark this blog for updates.
When can I download the official version of macOS Catalina?
macOS 10.15 is available as a beta for developers right now. If you're not a developer you'll be able to download it for free this fall.
If you plan on downloading the developer beta, be smart about it: If you only have a single Mac, make sure you create a partition to run beta software or install on a secondary Mac you don't rely on for everyday use. Remember this is an early beta and is not meant for primary use. (You have been warned!)
The final version — the public version that is no longer in beta — will be available this fall as a free
update in the Mac App Store.
My Mac is old, can I upgrade to macOS Catalina?
The latest Mac operating system will run on the following devices:
MacBook (2015 or newer)
MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)
Mac mini (2012 or newer)
iMac (2012 or newer)
iMac Pro (2017 or newer)
Mac Pro (2013 or newer)