macOS Catalina

macOS Catalina (version 10.15) is the sixteenth and current major release of macOS, Apple's desktop operating system for Macintosh computers. It is the successor to macOS Mojave, and was announced at WWDC 2019 on June 3, 2019 and released to the public on October 7, 2019. Catalina is the first version of macOS to support only 64-bit applications and the first to include Activation Lock.[6][7]

macOS 10.15 Catalina
A version of the macOS operating system
Screenshot of the macOS Catalina desktop in Dark Mode
DeveloperApple Inc.
OS family
Source modelClosed, with open source components
October 7, 2019 (2019-10-07)[1]
Latest release10.15.2[2] (19C57)[3] (December 10, 2019 (2019-12-10)) [±]
Latest preview10.15.3 beta 1[4] (19D49f)[5] (December 17, 2019 (2019-12-17)) [±]
Update methodSoftware Update
Kernel typeHybrid (XNU)
LicenseAPSL and Apple EULA
Preceded bymacOS 10.14 Mojave
Support status
Fully supported.

The operating system is named after Santa Catalina Island, which is located off the coast of southern California.

System requirements

macOS Catalina runs on all standard configuration Macs that support Mojave. 2010–2012 Mac Pros, which could run Mojave only with a GPU upgrade, are no longer supported.[7] Catalina requires 4 GB of memory, an increase over the 2 GB required by Lion through Mojave.[8][9]




Catalyst is a new software-development tool that allows developers to write apps that can run on both macOS and iPadOS. Apple demonstrated several ported apps, including Jira and Twitter (after the latter discontinued its macOS app in February 2018).[10][11]


Mac apps, installer packages, and kernel extensions that are signed with a Developer ID must be notarized by Apple to run on macOS Catalina.[12]

Activation Lock

Activation Lock helps prevent the unauthorized use and drive erasure of devices with an Apple T2 security chip (iMac Pro, 2018 MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, MacBook Air, 2019 Mac Pro).[7][13]

Dedicated system volume

The system runs on its own read-only volume, separate from all other data on the Mac.[7]

Voice control

Users can speak more commands to their devices than Siri allows. On-device machine processing is used to offer better navigation.[7]


Sidecar allows a Mac to use an iPad (running iPadOS) as a wireless external display. With Apple Pencil, the device can also be used as a graphics tablet for software running on the computer.[11][14] Sidecar requires a Mac with Intel Skylake CPUs and newer (such as the fourth-generation MacBook Pro), and an iPad that supports Apple Pencil.[15][16]

Support for wireless game controllers

The Game Controller framework adds support for two major console game controllers: the Dualshock 4 of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One controller.[17][18][19][20]



iTunes is replaced by separate Music, Podcasts, and TV apps, in line with iOS. iOS device management is now conducted via Finder.[21][22] The TV app on Mac supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and HDR10 on MacBooks released in 2018 or later, while 4K HDR playback is supported on Macs released in 2018 or later when connected to a compatible display.[11]

Find My

Find My Mac and Find My Friends are merged into an application called Find My.


Among other visual and functional overhauls, attachments can be added to reminders and Siri can intelligently estimate when to remind the user about an event.[7]

Removed or changed components

macOS Catalina exclusively supports 64-bit applications. 32-bit applications no longer run (including all software that utilizes the Carbon API as well as QuickTime 7 applications, image, audio and video codecs). Apple has also removed all 32-bit-only apps from the Mac App Store.[23]

zsh is the default login shell and interactive shell in macOS Catalina,[24] replacing Bash, the default shell since Mac OS X Panther in 2003.[25] Bash continues to be available in macOS Catalina, along with other shells such as csh/tcsh and ksh.

Dashboard has been removed in macOS Catalina.[26]

The ability to add Backgrounds in Photo Booth was removed in macOS Catalina.

Built-in support for Perl, Python 2.7 and Ruby are included in macOS for compatibility with legacy software. Future versions of macOS won't include scripting language runtimes by default, and might require users to install additional packages.[27]

Release history

Previous release Current release Beta
Version Build Date Darwin Release Notes Standalone download
10.15 19A583 October 7, 2019 19.0.0 Original Software Update release N/A
19A602 October 15, 2019 Supplemental update
19A603 October 21, 2019 Revised Supplemental update
10.15.1 19B88 October 29, 2019 19.0.0
About the macOS Catalina 10.15.1 Update macOS 10.15.1 Update
10.15.2 19C57 December 10, 2019 19.2.0
About the macOS Catalina 10.15.2 Update macOS 10.15.2 Update

macOS 10.15.2 Combo Update

10.15.3 beta 1 19D49f December 17, 2019


  1. "macOS Catalina". Apple Inc.
  2. Juli Clover (December 10, 2019). "Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.2 Update With Apple News Improvements, iPhone Remote Control Support for Music and TV Apps". MacRumors. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  3. "macOS Catalina 10.15.2 (19C57) - Releases - Apple Developer". Apple Developer. Apple Inc. December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  4. Juli Clover (December 17, 2019). "Apple Seeds First Beta of Upcoming macOS Catalina 10.15.3 Update to Developers". MacRumors. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  5. "macOS Catalina 10.15.3 beta (19D49f) - Releases - Apple Developer". Apple Developer. Apple Inc. December 17, 2019. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  6. "Apple previews macOS Catalina" (Press release). Apple Inc. June 3, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  7. "macOS Catalina". Apple Inc.
  8. "How to upgrade to macOS Catalina". Apple Support.
  9. "How to upgrade to macOS Mojave". Apple Support.
  10. Statt, Nick (February 16, 2018). "Twitter discontinues its Mac desktop app after years of spotty support". The Verge. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  11. Warren, Tom (June 3, 2019). "Apple unveils new macOS update with iPad apps". The Verge. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  12. "Developer ID: Upcoming Requirements". Apple Developer.
  13. Stephen Shankland (June 7, 2019). "Here are 6 MacOS Catalina security changes coming from Apple this fall". CNET.
  14. O'Hara, Andrew. "You can use your iPad as a second display with Sidecar in macOS Catalina". AppleInsider. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  15. Cunningham, Andrew (October 7, 2019). "macOS 10.15 Catalina: The Ars Technica review". Ars Technica. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  16. Peters, Jay (October 7, 2019). "You need a MacBook with a butterfly keyboard or a modern Mac desktop to use macOS Catalina's Sidecar". The Verge. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  17. "Supporting New Game Controllers". Apple Developer. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  18. "Apple adding support for PS4, Xbox One controllers to iOS, TVOS and MacOS". CNET. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  19. "iOS 13: How to connect a PlayStation controller or Xbox game controller to your iPhone and iPad". 9to5mac. September 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  20. "How To Connect PS4, Xbox One Controller To iPhone, Apple TV, Mac". ValueWalk. September 2, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  21. Carman, Ashley (June 3, 2019). "Apple breaks up iTunes, creates separate Podcasts, TV, and Music apps for macOS". The Verge. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  22. Roettgers, Janko (June 3, 2019). "Apple Is Officially Killing iTunes, Replacing It With Three Dedicated Media Apps". Variety. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  23. Katie Conner (September 10, 2019). "235 Mac apps get the ax with Apple's next update. Here's how you find them on your rig". CNET.
  24. "Use zsh as the default shell on your Mac - Apple Support". Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  25. Landau, Ted; Frakes, Dan (December 20, 2005). Mac OS X Help Line, Tiger Edition. Peachpit Press. ISBN 9780132705240.
  26. Statt, Nick (June 4, 2019). "Apple will permanently remove Dashboard in macOS Catalina". The Verge. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  27. "macOS 10.15 Beta Release Notes". Apple Developer. Retrieved June 6, 2019. Scripting language runtimes such as Python, Ruby, and Perl are included in macOS for compatibility with legacy software. Future versions of macOS won’t include scripting language runtimes by default, and might require you to install additional packages.
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