macOS Catalina's Biggest Changes: What to Check Out After Upgrading

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macOS Catalina, which came out on Monday, is the newest version of the operating system that runs on the Mac. Catalina brings some significant changes, including the removal of the iTunes app, a new Sidecar feature, an updated Find My app, and more.

In our latest YouTube video and in the article below, we're going to go over some must-know macOS Catalina features that will be useful to those who have just updated and want to familiarize themselves with the changes.



[*]No More iTunes - Apple removed iTunes in macOS Catalina, splitting it up into three new apps: Music, TV, and Podcasts. These three apps offer all of the functionality that was previously in iTunes, so you can still get to your music library, access TV shows and movies you purchased, and listen to your favorite podcasts. You can still make iTunes Store purchases, too.
[*]Finder Syncing - Since there's no iTunes app, you won't use iTunes to manage your devices that are plugged in. Instead, when you plug in an iPhone or iPad to your Mac, you'll see it in the left side of the Finder window where you can get to all the same controls you had in iTunes.
[*]Apple Watch Password Authentication - You've long been able to unlock a Mac with an Apple Watch, but in macOS Catalina, the Apple Watch can also be used to authenticate passwords or approve app installations when you double tap on the Side button. This is especially handy on Macs that don't have Touch ID. Get to the settings by opening up System Preferences and choosing the Security and Privacy section.
[*]Sidecar - Sidecar is a new feature in macOS Catalina that lets you use your iPad as a secondary display. The easiest way to activate Sidecar is to click on the AirPlay icon on the Mac. If you have a Sidecar-compatible iPad, it will show up in the list of available devices. Sidecar is limited to newer Macs and on the iPad, it only works with iPads that support the Apple Pencil. Make sure to check out our Sidecar guide for more info.
[*]iPad Apps for Mac - Apple in macOS Catalina introduced new "Catalyst" developer tools that are designed to make it easier for developers to port their iPad apps to the Mac, which means you can expect some of your favorite iOS apps to be available on the Mac. Catalyst apps are still rolling out, but some high-profile options are already available like GoodNotes 5, Carrot Weather, HabitMinder, and more.
[*]Find My - There's a new Find My app on the Mac, which brings a dedicated app for finding friends and devices for the first time. Find My combines Find My Mac and Find My Friends, so it's the one-stop shop for whatever you're looking for. Find My even lets you find your Mac when it's closed and has no WiFi connection by leveraging a Bluetooth connection to other iPhones and Apple devices that are nearby. The new Find My capabilities give you a better chance of finding a lost or stolen device.
[*]No More 32-Bit Apps - macOS Catalina does not support 32-bit apps, which means some older apps might not work after upgrading. This mostly only applies to apps that haven't been updated in a long time, but it's still something that may take users by surprise. For more info, make sure to check out our 32-bit Mac app guide.

Many of the apps on the Mac have been overhauled with new features. Reminders, for example, has a whole new look and an easier to use interface, while Photos has a new view that organizes everything by day, month, or year. Notes lets you share folders for the first time, and there's a Picture by Picture option in Safari.

For a full rundown on all of the features that you'll find in macOS Catalina, take a look at our macOS Catalina roundup.

Article Link: macOS Catalina's Biggest Changes: What to Check Out After Upgrading
 

GekkePrutser

macrumors 6502a
Aug 18, 2005
944
227
Barcelona, Spain
Pretty meh release from a user experience point of view for me as a power user (and using it for work heavily)... I'm not really interested in dumbed-down iPad apps on my Mac, nor the explosion of iTunes (which I never used) into multiple apps in my dock - though they're easily removed. Screen time is irrelevant to me (I don't get why adults need something that's basically a parental guidance tool to control themselves :)). On the UX side Mojave was much bigger for me with its dark mode and selectable accent colours.

But there's lots of goodness under the hood though! More security with read-only OS partition, single-sign-on plugins that fix the mess that SSO was on Mac (especially when apps start supporting it), managed Apple IDs for work, user enrolment (though it'll need another iteration to be actually useful).

Another negative though is the many added dialog boxes with apps asking for permission to send notifications. You totally get swamped with them after the upgrade (which is a bit stupid considering how Apple made fun of Windows Vista's frequent UAC popups). They should have just enabled all of the pre-existing apps by default (as it was under Mojave!) and let the user disable them if needed through the preferences panel. The same with the "<app> wants to access Documents" - if I didn't trust an app I wouldn't install it in the first place :rolleyes:. Really missing a "I know what I'm doing - stop bothering me" option - which incidentally Vista DID have :p
 
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Aaargh!

macrumors member
Mar 21, 2007
87
28
The Apple Watch password authentication is super inconsistent. For example, it doesn’t work for Safari auto-fill. You’d expect it to work in every instance where TouchID works but it doesn’t. A bit disappointing.
 

maverick28

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2014
234
211
My opinion of using Catalina for a couple of hours, compared to Lion, Mavericks and – the newest one I run – High Sierra: it is as beautiful as useless. Finder syncing UI sucks big time: I don't see anything what's on my iPhone unlike I was able to in the "bloated" iTunes. Could go on and on but I stop here. It's not an upgrade, it's a downgrade, so I upgraded by returning to High Sierra and sticking to triple boot with the other two OSes that I still use and that give me more usage benefits than this abomination of software. Real shame on Apple.
I don't give a dime about sidecars, screentime, catalyst crappy apps, Apple Watch link. This is not productivity.
 
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StellarVixen

macrumors 68020
Mar 1, 2018
2,033
3,307
Earth
My opinion of using Catalina for a couple of hours, compared to Lion, Mavericks and – the newest one I run – High Sierra: it is as beautiful as useless. Finder syncing UI sucks big time: I don't see anything what's on my iPhone unlike a "bloated" iTunes. Could go on and on but I stop here.
What happened to Yosemite, El Capitan and Sierra?
 

Macalway

macrumors 68030
Aug 7, 2013
2,718
1,094
Man, this update is wrought with danger.

i'll pass. They expect me to go through all my apps to weed out 32bit? Like i'm not lazy? Good to know Apple has such confidence in me. Poor fools.
 

redheeler

macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
7,408
6,976
Not one of Apple's better updates from the look of things. Seems like more people are having trouble updating than usual, and the removal of 32-bit execution, Dashboard, iTunes, and legacy AirDrop in one update is a tough pill to swallow. Then there's the planned obsolescence going on with the Mac Pro 5,1, which I'm definitely not happy about...

My hope for the Sidecar feature has been overshadowed by these issues unfortunately. I will be keeping Mojave on the iMac.
 
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calisurfboy

macrumors regular
Feb 26, 2008
179
139
Have they updated the Messages App?

In iOS 13 they updated messages so the search function actually works. Have they done the same for macOS Catalina?
 

SBlue1

macrumors 65816
Oct 17, 2008
1,432
1,578
Since I would like to still be able to use some old classic games like Tropico, Sim City and Civilization along with my Amiga emulator as well as the current WOWS I took an old internal drive I had that was just gathering dust and put it in a $10 enclosure and installed Yosemite on it. Now I can boot from it and use it as an alternative after I install Catalina.
 

GekkePrutser

macrumors 6502a
Aug 18, 2005
944
227
Barcelona, Spain
I skipped them
I did the same actually... I never liked the new look introduced in Yosemite on standard-res (non-"retina") screens. UI text was too thin, borders too flat. So I stayed on Mavericks as long as it was supported.

Only when I got a 4K display it started being decently readable again. Still think it looks too bland though.
 

BornAgainMac

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2004
6,352
3,215
Florida Resident
... the removal of 32-bit execution, Dashboard, iTunes, and legacy AirDrop...
I didn't know about legacy AirDrop. Didn't see what mentioned anywhere.

I reviewed my 56 32-bit games and decided to just replace with Windows or iOS versions that are still available on the games I wanted to still play. Decided against just keeping a dedicated Mac for 32-bit legacy code. Happy about iTunes gone and Dashboard just has been rotten for a decade with no active development of widgets. Now they need to add more features and focus around Music.
 

szw-mapple fan

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2012
1,584
1,027
I'm not really interested in dumbed-down iPad apps on my Mac, nor the explosion of iTunes (which I never used) into multiple apps in my dock - though they're easily removed.
Catalyst apps are not necessarily dumbed-down iPad apps. It all depends on the implementation obviously, but it can save a lot of app developers from having to maintain two code bases and only keeping around a lackluster mac app. For example, the GoodNotes 5 beta on the mac instantly gained all of the features of the iPad app instead of having the developer incrementally add features over months and maybe years to reach feature parity. It’s still a little rough around the edges but I feel that catalyst has a lot of potential.
 

e1me5

macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2013
278
450
Cyprus
is there a widget for the notification centre for Find My? It used to have for Find my Friends but now its gone. It was very useful to coordinate heists. (Joking but still where is it?)