MacOS Catalina: Everything that’s new!

Apple just announced MacOS Catalina today, and it is packed with many new features such as an improved iTunes, Sidecar, Accessibility features, and many more. MacOS Catalina is the next iteration of MacOS, after MacOS Mojave. It was announced alongside the new Mac Pro. Let us look at all the highlights that Apple went through in their keynote.

iTunes becomes 3 apps

iTunes is now dividing into 3 apps: Apple Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV. The new Apple Music App  blazingly fast, and is much faster than the iTunes. Whenever your iPhone or iPad is connected to your Mac, you can access syncing options regarding your iOS device right in the sidebar of Finder (as there is no iTunes anymore).

The new Podcasts  App  features “Listen Now” with recommendations and suggestions.

Podcasts also features Machine Learning to index the words in a podcast, which you can now search to find episodes or channels. 

Apple TV+ available in the new Apple TV App will feature 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos, to further boost your viewing experience.

Sidecar: iPad as an external Mac display

Sidecar is a new MacOS feature that allows Mac users to use their iPad as an external Mac display! This is especially useful when traveling, and while using a MacBook. The best part is that precise touch input can also used with the iPad for your Mac, using the Apple Pencil! 

Many apps already offer iPad Apple Pencil input functionality.

Accessibility: Voice Control

A new Accessibility feature on MacOS Catalina is Voice Control. This feature, available on MacOS and iOS, allows a user to completely control and navigate through their device only using their voice. 

This is especially important for physically handicapped persons, allowing them to access technology in a completely unique way.

Find My: Find your Mac without network!

The new Find My app, available for both MacOS and iOS, combines the old Find my iPhone/Mac and Find my Friends apps. The biggest addition to Find My is the ability to find a Mac or iOS device without internet connectivity. 

If your device gets stolen, your Mac/iOS device will act as Bluetooth beacon to relay its location to nearby iOS devices. These devices then can relay the location of your stolen device to Apple’s servers.

The best part about this is that it is completely secure. It also doesn’t increase your data usage, if by chance your iOS device is being used to convey the location of another nearby stolen Apple device. It “piggybanks” on passive bandwidth.

Activation Lock now on Mac

Activation Lock is now available on Macs with the T2 chip. 

This means when activated, nobody can even boot your device without entering your activation lock password first.

Improved native Mac Apps

Native Mac Apps get major improvement in UI and performance.

The Photos App now resembles the new iOS Photos App, with all the new iOS 13 features.

Safari gets an improvement as well, now enabling easier reading view options.


The Notes App receives all the new iOS features as well, including folder views and folder sharing options.

The Reminders App receives the biggest changes, being re-built from the ground up. It has powerful new suggestions and predictive features.

Screen Time is also now available on MacOS Catalina.

Project Catalyst

Project Catalyst is a developer system that allows app developers to create MacOS Apps using iPad App projects on Xcode.

This is especially useful for developers, as they can take better advantage of the 100 million Mac users, and sell their apps to them as well. The new system allows existing iPad Apps to be converted into Mac Apps in just days.

A great example of this is Asphalt 9 Legends, which was converted into a Mac version in just 1 day.

Twitter is also returning to Mac using Project Catalyst, which allowed the team to create a Mac App in just days!

Project Catalyst was first tested in MacOS Mojave, and was used to create the Apple News App and Voice Memos. 

Apple was able to discover issues in Project Catalyst v1 and fix them, including an improved sidebar and better text integration. Now app teams only require one team and code base for both iPad and Mac App development.

It is easy to create an App for Mac using an iPad code base. Xcode automatically takes care of cursor movement, navigation, etc., so all one needs to do is focus on the content of the App!


MacOS Catalina brings many changes and improvements, making it an incremental upgrade to MacOS. Though it doesn’t feature too many UI changes, Catalina brings a lot of useful but unexpected features to MacOS. Most of all, it makes chosing a Mac a secure and powerful option.


Appleosophy will soon be comparing MacOS Catalina with Mojave, and going over all the new features and highlights in a new video!


Image Courtesy: Apple

Praveen Nagaraj
Author: Praveen Nagaraj

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