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Apple just released macOS Catalina to the public

Published Oct 7th, 2019 1:06PM EDT
macOS Catalina
Image: Mary Altaffer/AP/Shutterstock

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Back in the day, a new macOS release (or OS X if you want to be particular) was a huge event for Mac users. But as the world shifted from desktop to mobile computing en masse, Apple arguably started to neglect the Mac. While iOS would routinely receive a boatload of new features, macOS updates started becoming less and less compelling.

In recent years, though, Apple has picked up the pace a bit. And while new macOS releases still aren’t as exciting as iOS releases, they’ve become more compelling than you might remember. With that said, Apple today released macOS Catalina, a desktop update with a number of new features that you’ll definitely want to download as soon as possible.

One of the biggest changes in macOS Catalina is that the iTunes you came to know and love is no more. Instead, the app has been split into three distinct apps: Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts. While it may make take some getting used to, it was an inevitable change given how bloated iTunes had become over the years.

One feature worth highlighting is SideCar, a feature that will allow macOS users to use their iPad as a secondary display. Other macOS Catalina features worth mentioning include a completely revamped Photos app, an improved ability to locate a lost or misplaced Mac (even if it’s not connected to a Wi-Fi network), access to Apple Arcade, enhanced security features, and a new Screen Time app similar to what already exists on iOS.

The Photos app revamp is particularly intriguing, with Apple describing some of the more sweeping changes as follows:

Photos has a new immersive, dynamic look that showcases your photos and memories. See only the best shots in your library, without the duplicates and clutter. Browse your favorite photos by days, months, and years and get larger previews of all your photos. And Photos is even smarter, so it can highlight important moments like birthdays, anniversaries, and trips.

A full list of all the new features arriving with macOS Catalina can be viewed over here.

The list of Macs capable of running macOS Catalina is quite broad and includes the following:

  • 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 (from 2017)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or newer)

To download and install macOS Catalina, ideally after you have everything backed up, you can simply go to the App Store and search for macOS Catalina, whereupon it should pop right up. From there, simply hit “download” and you’ll be well on your way.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.