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.
This is an executive summary of the changes:
- No More iTunes – Apple’a 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.
- 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 organises 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.