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Should Mac Users Upgrade to Catalina?

upgrade to catalina

Apple will be releasing the next version of its Mac operating system soon. Called Catalina, it will have features and enhanced security many will want. Even though it’ll be free, should you upgrade to Catalina? Maybe! Maybe not!

Some Features & Improvements

Apple is proud it’s OS (operating system) improvements with this version of macOS. It looks very promising!

  • Sidecar: a feature that lets you to turn your iPad into a second display
  • Screen Time: bringing the parenting tool to the Mac (it has been on iOS devices for about a year)
  • Splitting the iTunes app into three apps to line up with iPhones and iPads
  • Improved security, including a better method of unlocking a Mac with an Apple Watch
  • And more!

I’m especially excited about how Sidecar may improve my work when traveling on planes!

Why the Cautionary Tone, Nick? 
One of Catalina’s new features is that it will only run 64-bit apps. Though the macOS has been a 64-bit OS for some time, this will be the first version that will only allow running 64-bit apps. It’s a good and important step forward, but it could mean that some of the apps you’ve come to love and rely on will not work on a Mac running Catalina.

What Should You Do Before Upgrading?
 Because 32-bit apps will not work on Macs running Catalina and going forward, it’s important that you find out which of your apps will be affected, and then upgrade those to 64-bit versions Here’s how:

  1. Click the Apple symbol ( ) on your Mac’s menu bar
  2. Click About This Mac
  3. On the Overview view, click the System Report button
  4. Scroll down to the Software section in the sidebar, and select Applications
  5. The right column of that list has64-Bit at the top, and that’s the column you’ll focus on.
  6. Clicking on the 64-Bit header will sort the list by apps that are not 64-bit and those that are.

The apps that are not 64-bit are the ones that will not work on a Mac with the Catalina macOS.

  1. Click on any of the No lines, and you’ll be able to see in the lower section of your screen the company that provided that app
  2. Contact those companies and let them know you need a 64-bit version (see pic).

Some apps will require purchasing a newer version. If the app is one you like using and thus rely on, it may be worth purchasing the newer version.

Your only other option at this time may be to not upgrade to Catalina. And that’s not necessarily an unacceptable option at this time. The decision is yours. The main thing is to know in advance so you don’t get caught by surprise.


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Nick Nicholaou is President of MBS, Inc., a team of IT strategists who evaluate, engineer, and support servers, Mac & Windows computers, and mobile devices. In MBS’ private cloud datacenter they host email, databases, VoIP phone systems, SPAM filtering, file servers, and more.