Apple has released the first major update to the sixteenth version of MacOS. Released last week, MacOS Catalina 10.15.1 includes the new iOS emojis, adds support for the AirPods Pro, and increases the security options around Siri. It also packaged in a number of bugs and application issues.
It’s clearly an obvious update to anyone already running Catalina, but is there any good news for those running earlier versions of MacOS?
MacOS Catalina 10.15 supports all machines that would run Mojave (MacOS 10.14) with the exception of those that required a GPU upgrade. Therefore Catalina is compatible with the following machines:
- Mac Pro: Late 2013 models and onwards.
- iMac Pro: All models.
- iMac: Late 2012 models and onwards.
- Mac Mini: Late 2012 models and onwards.
- MacBook Pro: Mid 2012 models and onwards.
- MacBook Air: Mid 2012 models and onwards.
- MacBook: Early 2015 models and onwards.
You should be prompted to upgrade your computer to Catalina, but if you are looking to start the install, you can go to the Apple Menu > Software Update. More details can be found at Apple’s support page.
MacOS Catalina 10.15.1 addresses a number of smaller bugs and rolls in the changes made in the ‘hot fix’ supplementary update to address problems with the installer. It also patches a number of security vulnerabilities. Many issues reported in 10.15 have yet to be addressed, including promised support for third-party applications in the new code, sync issues to the cloud, and problems signing into iCloud. Apple’s move to depreciate 32-bit applications is not going to be reversed – it has been the company’s stated iteration for some time – but many customers still feel bereft as support for their favorite apps has been dropped.
Those who are reliant on 32-bit apps or specific apps that are not yet updated should avoid Catalina until they have a workable solution for Apple’s brave new world. You can check which of your existing apps are 32-bit by clicking on Apple Menu > About This Mac > System Report > Software > Application and check if they are 64-bit or 32-bit.
On top of the “various bug fixes” and security patches, MacOS Catlina 10.15.1 adds in three notable features:
- The Emoji support has been extended to allow the new iPhone emoji to be accessible on MacOS machines.
- Support has been added for Apple’s new AirPods Pro.
- You can stop your audio requests to Siri being sent through anonymously to Apple.
These additions are geared towards extending support for other Apple products in your Mac.
If you are currently running MacOS Catalina – either through upgrading an existing Mac or on a recently purchased Mac machine – then you should upgrade. Although nothing major is fixed, the small details, especially the security fixes, are going to be welcome, and no major new issues have been reported.
It’s harder to recommend that those on an older but stable version of MacOS go through the update. This is still the ‘first wave’ of Catalina, and many issues remain both in the OS but also in third-party applications. If your Mac is working at the moment, especially if it is a ‘business critical’ machine then I would recommend caution for now.
There are currently no public developer builds for MacOS Catalina 10.15.2 in the system, although Apple will be working on that version. I hope that 10.15.2 will take into account the more wide-ranging bugs and issues in Catalina – it does feel that 10.15.1 is the feature set that should have been released in September. Consider this a strongly recommended maintenance release for existing users, but there is nothing to entice those who are happily working on older versions.
Now read more about Tim Cook’s change of strategy for the Mac…