macOS Catalina

macOS Catalina (version 10.15) is the sixteenth and current major release of macOS, Apple Inc.'s desktop operating system for Macintosh computers. It is the successor to macOS Mojave and precedes macOS Big Sur, which is planned to be released later in 2020. It was announced at WWDC 2019 on June 3, 2019, and was 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.[4][5] It is the last version of macOS to have the version number prefix of 10, as the next release, Big Sur, is version 11.0.[6]

macOS 10.15 Catalina
A version of the macOS operating system
macOS 10.15 Catalina wordmark
MacOS Catalina Desktop.png
Screenshot of the macOS Catalina desktop in "dark mode".
DeveloperApple Inc.
OS family
Source modelClosed, with open source components
October 7, 2019; 12 months ago (2019-10-07)[1]
Latest release10.15.7[2] (19H2)[3] (September 24, 2020; 22 days ago (2020-09-24)) [±]
Update methodSoftware Update
Kernel typeHybrid (XNU)
LicenseAPSL and Apple EULA
Preceded bymacOS 10.14 Mojave
Succeeded bymacOS 11.0 Big Sur
Support status

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

System requirementsEdit

macOS Catalina officially 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.[5] Catalina requires 4 GB of memory, an increase over the 2 GB required by Lion through Mojave.[7][8]

It is possible to install Catalina on many older Macintosh computers that are not officially supported by Apple. This requires using a patch to modify the install image.[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]

System ExtensionsEdit

An upgrade from Kexts. System Extensions avoid the problems of Kexts. There are 3 kinds of System Extensions: Network Extensions, Endpoint Security Extensions, and Driver Extensions. System Extensions run in userspace, outside of the kernel.[12][13] Catalina will be the last version of macOS to support legacy system extensions.[14][15]


A replacement for IOKit device drivers, driver extensions are built using DriverKit. DriverKit is a new SDK with all-new frameworks based on IOKit, but updated and modernized. It is designed for building device drivers in userspace, outside of the kernel.[16][13]


Mac apps, installer packages, and kernel extensions that are signed with a Developer ID must be notarized by Apple to run on macOS Catalina.[17]

Activation LockEdit

Activation Lock helps prevent the unauthorized use and drive erasure of devices with an Apple T2 security chip (2018, 2019, and 2020 MacBook Pro; 2020 5K iMac; 2018 MacBook Air, iMac Pro; 2018 Mac Mini; 2019 Mac Pro).[5][18]

Dedicated system volumeEdit

The system runs on its own read-only volume, separate from all other data on the Mac.[5]

Voice controlEdit

Users can give detailed voice commands to applications.[19] On-device machine processing is used to offer better navigation.[5]


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][20] Sidecar requires a Mac with Intel Skylake CPUs and newer (such as the fourth-generation MacBook Pro), and an iPad that supports Apple Pencil.[21][22]

Support for wireless game controllersEdit

The Game Controller framework adds support for two major console game controllers: the PlayStation 4's DualShock 4 and the Xbox One controller.[23][24][25][26]



iTunes is replaced by separate Books, Music, Podcasts, and TV apps, in line with iOS. iOS device management is now conducted via Finder.[27][28] 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 MyEdit

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.[5]

Removed or changed componentsEdit

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.[29]

Zsh is the default login shell and interactive shell in macOS Catalina,[30] replacing Bash, the default shell since Mac OS X Panther in 2003.[31] 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.[32]

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.[33] Future versions of macOS will not include scripting language runtimes by default, possibly requiring users to install additional packages.[34]

Legacy AirDrop for connecting with Macs running Mac OS X Lion, Mountain Lion and Mavericks, or 2011 and older Macs has been removed.[35]


Catalina received favourable reviews on release for some of its features.[36] However, some writers and bloggers said that the OS was unreliable.[37][38][39][40][41] Similar to the addition of User Account Control dialog boxes on Windows Vista the previous decade, prompts for allowing software access to sensitive data were criticized by some writers as annoying.[39][42]

Release historyEdit

Previous release Current release
Version Build Date Darwin Release Notes Standalone download
10.15 19A583 October 7, 2019 19.0.0 Original Software Update release

Security content

19A602 October 15, 2019 19.0.0 Supplemental update
19A603 October 21, 2019 19.0.0 Revised Supplemental update
10.15.1 19B88 October 29, 2019 19.0.0
About the macOS Catalina 10.15.1 Update

Security content

macOS 10.15.1 Update
10.15.2 19C57 December 10, 2019 19.2.0
About the macOS Catalina 10.15.2 Update

Security content

macOS 10.15.2 Update

macOS 10.15.2 Combo Update

10.15.3 19D76 January 28, 2020 19.3.0
About the macOS Catalina 10.15.3 Update

Security content

macOS 10.15.3 Update

macOS 10.15.3 Combo Update

10.15.4 19E266 March 24, 2020 19.4.0
About the macOS Catalina 10.15.4 Update

Security content

macOS 10.15.4 Update

macOS 10.15.4 Combo Update

19E287 April 8, 2020 Supplemental update macOS 10.15.4 Supplemental Update
10.15.5 19F96 May 26, 2020 19.5.0
About the macOS Catalina 10.15.5 Update

Security content

macOS 10.15.5 Update

macOS 10.15.5 Combo Update

19F101 June 1, 2020 19.5.0
Supplemental update

Security content

macOS 10.15.5 Supplemental Update
10.15.6 19G73 July 15, 2020 19.6.0
Jul 5 00:43:10 PDT 2020
About the macOS Catalina 10.15.6 Update

Security content

macOS 10.15.6 Update

macOS 10.15.6 Combo Update

19G2021 August 12, 2020 19.6.0
Jun 18 20:49:00 PDT 2020
Supplemental update macOS 10.15.6 Supplemental Update
10.15.7 19H2 September 24, 2020 19.6.0
Mon Aug 31 22:12:52 PDT 2020
About the macOS Catalina 10.15.7 Update

Security content

macOS 10.15.7 Update

macOS 10.15.7 Combo Update


  1. ^ "macOS Catalina". Apple Inc.
  2. ^ Juli Clover (September 24, 2020). "Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.7 With Fixes for WiFi Bug, 27-Inch iMac Graphics Issues". MacRumors. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  3. ^ "macOS Catalina 10.15.7 (19H2) - Releases - Apple Developer". Apple Developer. Apple Inc. September 24, 2020. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  4. ^ "Apple previews macOS Catalina" (Press release). Apple Inc. June 3, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "macOS Catalina". Apple Inc.
  6. ^ "Apple unveils macOS 11.0 Big Sur, featuring a new aesthetic and redesigned apps". TechCrunch. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  7. ^ "How to upgrade to macOS Catalina". Apple Support.
  8. ^ "How to upgrade to macOS Mojave". Apple Support.
  9. ^ "macOS Catalina Patcher". Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  10. ^ Statt, Nick (February 16, 2018). "Twitter discontinues its Mac desktop app after years of spotty support". The Verge. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Warren, Tom (June 3, 2019). "Apple unveils new macOS update with iPad apps". The Verge. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  12. ^ "SystemExtensions". Apple Developer Documentation.
  13. ^ a b System Extensions and DriverKit. Apple Developer Documentation.
  14. ^ "Kernel Extensions Won't Work in macOS 10.16". The Mac Observer. March 26, 2020.
  15. ^ "Apple begins phasing out kernel extensions in macOS 10.15.4". AppleInsider. March 25, 2020.
  16. ^ "DriverKit". Apple Developer Documentation.
  17. ^ "Developer ID: Upcoming Requirements". Apple Developer.
  18. ^ Shankland, Stephen (June 7, 2019). "Here are 6 MacOS Catalina security changes coming from Apple this fall". CNET.
  19. ^ "Voice Control" (PDF). September 2019. Voice Control lets users control the entire device with spoken commands and specialized tools, while Siri is an intelligent assistant that lets users ask for information and complete everyday tasks using natural language. Voice Control offers comprehensive capabilities such as voice gestures, name and number labels, grid overlays, text editing commands, and deep customization, while Siri assists with setting reminders, making appointments, looking up directions, and learning game scores.
  20. ^ O'Hara, Andrew. "You can use your iPad as a second display with Sidecar in macOS Catalina". AppleInsider. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  21. ^ Cunningham, Andrew (October 7, 2019). "macOS 10.15 Catalina: The Ars Technica review". Ars Technica. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ "Supporting New Game Controllers". Apple Developer. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  24. ^ "Apple adding support for PS4, Xbox One controllers to iOS, TVOS and MacOS". CNET. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  25. ^ "iOS 13: How to connect a PlayStation controller or Xbox game controller to your iPhone and iPad". 9to5mac. September 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  26. ^ "How To Connect PS4, Xbox One Controller To iPhone, Apple TV, Mac". ValueWalk. September 2, 2019. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  27. ^ Carman, Ashley (June 3, 2019). "Apple breaks up iTunes, creates separate Podcasts, TV, and Music apps for macOS". The Verge. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  28. ^ Roettgers, Janko (June 3, 2019). "Apple Is Officially Killing iTunes, Replacing It With Three Dedicated Media Apps". Variety. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  29. ^ Conner, Katie (September 10, 2019). "235 Mac apps get the ax with Apple's next update. Here's how you find them on your rig". CNET.
  30. ^ "Use zsh as the default shell on your Mac - Apple Support". Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  31. ^ Landau, Ted; Frakes, Dan (December 20, 2005). Mac OS X Help Line, Tiger Edition. Peachpit Press. ISBN 9780132705240.
  32. ^ Statt, Nick (June 4, 2019). "Apple will permanently remove Dashboard in macOS Catalina". The Verge. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  33. ^ "macOS 10.15 Catalina Deprecates UNIX Scripting Languages". The Mac Observer. June 5, 2019.
  34. ^ "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.
  35. ^ "Can not connect my 2 macs with AirDrop".
  36. ^ Cunningham, Andrew. "macOS 10.15 Catalina: The Ars Technica review: Conclusions". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  37. ^ Shayer, David. "Six Reasons Why iOS 13 and Catalina Are So Buggy". TidBITS. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  38. ^ Mod, Craig. "Brilliant Hardware in the Valley of the Software Slump". Craig Mod. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  39. ^ a b Gruber, John. "My 2019 Apple Report Card". Daring Fireball. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  40. ^ Bohn, Dieter. "macOS Catalina review: transition period". The Verge. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  41. ^ Gruber, John. "What You See in the Finder Should Always Be Correct". Daring Fireball. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  42. ^ Snell, Jason. "Apple in 2019: The Six Colors report card". Six Colors. Retrieved June 23, 2020.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
macOS 10.14 (Mojave)
macOS 10.15 (Catalina)
Succeeded by
macOS 11 (Big Sur)