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What's New in macos Catalina?

[this is a guest post from a colleague]

Launched last October 2019, macOS Catalina, also known as macOS 10.15 is Apple’s latest version of the operating system for the Mac lineup. The name macOS Catalina derived from the Channel Islands on the coast of Southern California, popularly known as Santa Catalina Island. This free upgrade features some major changes in the OS that continue to give off better service to Apple users. Here are the new features of the macOS Catalina:
In macOS Catalina, Apple made many new features, which includes a new more advanced interface, improvements to bundled apps like Safari, Photos, Reminders, and Notes, the splitting of iTunes into three major apps, and some intriguing new features and capabilities that bundle well with iOS 13 on iPad (now called iPadOS).
Definitely, Apple has made new features that every true Mac user will love. For many years, Mac users have been throwing petitions to Apple to split up iTunes, since this has been the core of the Mac operating system since 2001. Finally, this became a reality when Apple launched the macOS Catalina last October 7, 2019. Later on, in this article, I will give you the general details about the macOS Catalina, all the new features, which Macs are compatible with, etc.
I already covered a list of built-in apps that come with every new Mac in my post
“What Software Comes With a MacBook Pro or Air” (
To give you a brief summary of some of the best features of macOS Catalina, here is a list below:

  • Sidecar

  • No more iTunes

  • Photos App Redesigned

  • Find My App

  • Screen Time

  • New music, Podcasts, and TV Apps

  • Safari Updates

  • No More 32-Bit Apps


This new feature gives you an extra display with your Mac by connecting your iPad. This is the first-ever arrival of an extended workspace on Mac. With an available iPad, you can access it on the System Preference App or easier, you can access it on the AirPlay interface of your Mac to get into the Sidecar mode. What’s good with this new feature is that you can enable the mirror view to your iPad, if you want to use Sidecar for sharing what you are working on. With the power vested on the Apple Pencil that works in Sidecar mode, you can actually use Apple Pencil as either mouse or as a drawing tool in apps like Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, Photoshop, and many more.
If you are creating a sketch in Photoshop, once you enabled the sidecar mode, whatever you draw or do on your iPad became a replicate with your Mac. To put it simply, you can turn your iPad into a Mac-connected drawing tablet. This is so cool, right? In addition to this, you can also do other things such as writing and sketching on PDFs or markup documents on your iPad using the Markup feature.
Sidecar works easily on supported devices, however, it is limited to newer versions of Mac. Here is the list of Mac products where Sidecar is compatible:

  • 2019 Mac Pro

  • Late 2018 Mac mini or newer

  • Late 2018 MacBook Air or newer

  • 2017 iMac Pro

  • Mid 2016 MacBook Pro or newer

  • Early 2016 MacBook or newer

  • Late 2015 27” iMac or newer

For the iPad, Sidecar works only with iPad models that support the Apple Pencil. Here is the site where you can check all the iPad models that support Apple Pencil.
Fact: You can use Sidecar feature wirelessly with up to 10 meters distance between your iPad and your Mac.

No more iTunes

Yes, you’ve read it right, iTunes, which has been the staple of the Mac operating system since 2001 dissolved in the new upgrade of the macOS. With the macOS Catalina that eliminates the iTunes app, it favors every mac user a new series of split up apps that is much better than what iTunes used to do.
Instead of one media library that houses music, podcast, and TV-related content, with macOS Catalina, you will get a dedicated app for Music, Podcasts, and TV. Good thing, the iTunes Store will still be available for you to access and purchase music. Therefore, it is not totally #NoMoreiTunes; instead, it just lives with a different life now.

How to manage these devices?

No worries, just like the old times you can sync Apple TV, Apple Music, and Apple Podcasts using iCloud across all your Apple devices. For those who prefer cables to sync directly from a Mac, that functional feature is still available.
Alternative: Using your Mac through the Finder, you can still back up, update, and restore your iOS. For those who prefer a cable, just simply connect an iOS device to a Mac with a cable, which is located in the Finder sidebar, where you can see all the tools and functionality previously available through iTunes.
The macOS Catalina has also revamped some apps like Photos, Safari, Notes, Mail, Reminder, and many more. To give you an overview of these new app features, here are my insights below:

Photos App Redesigned

With the new, upgrade of macOS and iOS 13 that redesigned and implemented a new Photos tab to find, your best photo in front and remove duplicates from your gallery. This app lets you experience the personalization you have never seen before and it has new options for viewing images organized by day, month, and year. The Day view shows you the photos you have captured that day, while for the Month view, it shows your photos organized and classified into events. The Year view presents you the photos taken within the year and over the past years.
What’s more, in this redesigned Photos app is the learning capabilities of your Mac to recognize who is in your photos and highlight some important events like birthdays, anniversaries, and trips.

Safari Updates

If you have just switched, you will also notice the new start page in Safari that gives you more smart redirects to open new tabs like frequently visited sites, Siri suggested contents, bookmarks, iCloud tabs, and many more. Talk about nice!
What I love with this Safari update is the ability to tell you whether the password you will use in signing up is weak and easy to guess password. Hence, it offers you a stronger replacement password that is hard to guess. Moreover, there is also a new option that Apple allows authentication using Touch ID when you logged in iCloud in Safari.

Notes App
The macOS Catalina improves the app with enriched new tools that allows you to manage your folders and subfolders. It has a built-in document scanner to search and recognize images inside your notes.
It also has an improved checklist with options to reorganize your items and allows you to reuse your checklist with a click to uncheck all of the items listed.
Find My App

This new app combines the Find My Mac and Find My Friend app on the iOS device into one app. This is the very first time that Mac has this kind of app that is designed to locate your devices and your friends easily when they share their location in a single app. What is good with this app is the new feature, which allows you to locate a missing Mac even though it is not connected in a Wi-Fi or cellular connection. Read my other post how to prevent thieves from getting into your Mac here (
Screen Time

This app allows you to create custom usage reports to see how much you spend time using your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. It syncs Downtime and App Limits to all of your devices, which is perfect for parental control and for personal use. You can set dedicated app or communication limits to control who can communicate with your children throughout the day and during the night.
There is also a new feature called “One More Minute”, which limits your working time and provides you to save your work, end a game or a conversation.
No More 32-Bit Apps
Before you update to Catalina, make sure whether you are using any 32-bit apps that you cannot live without, because in macOS Catalina, these 32-bit apps are no longer able to function and run. Apple is phasing out 32-bit apps because 64-bit apps can be more beneficial to the system, giving you more memory and faster system performance. In short, 32-bit apps are inefficient.
To know more about this significant change in macOS, make sure to check this helpful
site for a guide.

Whether you have made a decision to upgrade or not, make sure your Mac is ready for this new functionality. A detailed guide is here if ever you wish: How to upgrade to macOS Catalina.
About the author:

Al Abdukadirov – is a founder of  You can reach him at