- MacOS Catalina, the next major software update for Apple's computers, arrived on October 7.
- Apple previewed the new features launching with macOS Catalina during its keynote address at the 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference.
- The Catalina update introduces complete voice control, a new app called Sidecar that lets you use an iPad as a wireless display, and eliminate iTunes in favor of three different apps.
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Apple has officially released Catalina, the next major software update for its MacBook, iMac, and Mac Pro computers.
First announced during Apple's 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Catalina introduces some big changes to native Mac apps, including the elimination of iTunes and the new ability to control your computer with voice commands.
Catalina also features some important updates for iPad owners and developers. A new app called Sidecar will let iPad owners use their tablet as a second screen, complete with Apple Pencil support. New developer tools for Catalina called Project Catalyst will also make it easier for iPad developers to bring their apps directly to MacOS.
MacOS Catalina is a free update for all Mac devices released after 2012, and you can download it directly from the App Store.
Here are the biggest changes you can expect from Catalina:
Catalina will eliminate iTunes in favor of three separate apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV.
After more than 18 years, Apple is ready to move on from iTunes. Rather than using iTunes as a catch-all for different types of entertainment, Apple is introducing three separate macOS apps for users to manage their content.
A macOS version of Apple Music will become the default app for users to manage their music library, while Apple Podcasts will organize podcast subscriptions. Apple TV will manage downloaded video content and introduce Mac owners to Apple's streaming TV service.
Sidecar is a new app that lets you use an iPad as a wireless second display, with support for Apple Pencil.
Using Sidecar will turn your iPad into a wireless second monitor, and Mac apps with stylus support like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator will let you draw using the Apple Pencil too.
Apple has also released new developer tools for macOS Catalina, called Project Catalyst, that makes it easier for software makers to bring their iPad apps to Mac.
The new voice-control features in Mac OS, iOS, and iPadOS will give users complete control of their device using specific vocal commands.
Voice Control incorporates new technology that lets users who can't operate traditional input devices control their Mac entirely with their voice. Even touch gestures like tapping, swiping, and scrolling can be controlled using Siri's on-device speech recognition.
New numbered labels and grids will let users interact with many apps using the specific navigation tools, with audio processing happening on-device. Voice Control is also available on iOS and iPadOS, so users can control their handheld devices entirely with their voice too.
Catalina includes new security features to protect lost and stolen Macs.
Catalina has a number of handy security improvements. Gatekeeper now checks all apps for known security issues, while new data protections require all apps to get permission before accessing user documents. Approve with Apple Watch adds an extra layer of security by letting users approve many security prompts by simply tapping the side button on their Apple Watch.
All Macs with the T2 Security Chip will support Activation Lock to further ensure that a stolen device can't be unlocked without the original user's permission. The overhauled Find My app will be able to detect the location of a lost or stolen Mac — even when it's "offline," thanks to a secure Bluetooth beacon that your computer can transmit to nearby Apple devices.
The Screen Time app from iOS will make its first appearance on Mac.
Apple first introduced the Screen Time app in 2018 to help iPhone and iPad users manage how much time they spend using specific apps and websites.
Now Screen Time is coming to macOS and users can determine how they dedicate their computer time. Screen Time settings can be shared across iPhone, iPad and Mac using iCloud, so your scheduling stays consistent. Screen Time also includes Family Sharing features to help parents manage their children's app usage.
Standard Mac apps like Photos, Safari, and Reminders will also see improvements.
Catalina includes a number of improvements to native iOS apps. The Photos app will have a new browsing layout that prioritizes your best pictures. Safari will use Siri Suggestions to make better recommendations based on your frequently visited sites, iCloud tabs, and other information.
With Catalina, users will be able to block emails from specific users, mute email threads from your notifications, and automatically unsubscribe from mailing lists. The Notes and Reminders apps will also have a refreshed look to make organization and searching through old notes easier.