Hands on with our favorite features in macOS Catalina

Posted:
in macOS
Apple is bringing sweeping changes to macOS 10.15 Catalina, and we've gone hands-on to highlight the biggest and best features of the new update.

macOS 10.15 Catalina
macOS 10.15 Catalina

The end of iTunes

With macOS Catalina, Apple parted ways with iTunes as a single application and essentially split the titular app into three standalone entities; Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV.






With Apple Music, you'll have access to Apple Music with over 40 million songs right on your Mac, but otherwise feels very reminiscent of the now discontinued iTunes. There is a sidebar down the side which is home to all the categories and browse functionality you'd expect. Nearly all features found in iTunes are present in the new Music app, and Apple is in no way getting out of media sales.

Catalina's new media apps
Catalina's new media apps


The drop down on the top -- used to jump between music, tv, etc -- is gone as is the ability to sync your devices. Syncing is now relegated to the Finder window. When you connect your device it shows right within Finder like a hard drive and delving into it exposes a syncing window that is near identical to what was previously found in iTunes.

Apple Podcasts on the Mac is literally just like what it suggests, a dedicated Podcast app that'll be able to sync across your iOS devices.

Apple TV on macOS Catalina
Apple TV on macOS Catalina


With the Apple TV app, you can watch all your favorite movies, shows, premium channels, and in the near future have access to Apple TV+, which is Apple's all-new streaming service. You can watch everything directly in the app while you discover the best of what's on in the Watch Now tab. And just like the Podcasts app, you can pick up where you left off on any screen, across all your devices.

Apple TV can also save content for offline viewing from Apple TV Channels such as HBO or Showtime.

Remind me to check out the new Reminders app

Just like on iOS, the Reminders app received a nice visual overhaul in a ground-up redesign. Things are more straight forward and user-friendly.

Reminders can now have attachments and be further customized with new ways to add times, dates, locations, and flags, They can be quickly added with a new toolbar.

The new Reminders app in macOS Catalina
The new Reminders app in macOS Catalina


If you happen to tag a person in a reminder, next time you chat with them in Messages an alert will appear to job your memory.

Jot down a note

The Notes app received some nice subtle improvements as well, including gallery view which lets you display your notes as visual thumbnails. You also have a more powerful search tool, new checklist options, and allow you to share folders, including all the notes and subfolders inside.

Send me an email

If you're an Apple Mail user, you can now block all email from specified senders and move their messages directly to your trash, you can easily unsubscribe to spam email lists, and allow you to mute threads to prevent notifications from popping up.

Screen Time comes to the Mac

Screen Time comes to the Mac
Screen Time comes to the Mac


Apple also added Screen Time to the Mac. Just like on iOS, Screen Time is here to help report how you're using your Mac and what apps you're using the most, as well as how many notifications you receive. It can also be used to help gauge children's computer usage.

More powerful iPad

Probably the biggest, and the best feature that Apple introduced in macOS Catalina is Sidecar which allows you to use your iPad as a second display for additional screen space, but it isn't limited to just that. It will allow you to use your Apple Pencil to draw, sketch or mark up any documents. If you take a screenshot on your Mac, it can appear on your iPad where you'd an edit and mark it up.

You can connect your iPad wired, or wirelessly and works peer-to-peer but the wireless performance will depend on your environment. Unfortunately, this feature isn't available in Beta 1 yet, but we'll be sure to cover Sidecar once it is available.

iOS apps come to the Mac

Another big feature that we don't have access to at the moment, but will be a major game changer for macOS is Project Catalyst, formerly known as Marzipan. This will allow developers to release their iOS apps on the Mac with only minor work. Developers like Gameloft which developed Asphalt 9 have already ported their iOS app to the Mac, and Twitter will reportedly come back to Mac after disappearing for a year.

Availability

There is much more to see in macOS 10.15 Catalina and we will be sure to continue the update throughout the beta process and bring you any changes that we find.

Apple will release macOS Catalina as a free update later this fall.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    djs71adjs71a Posts: 4member
    For Reminders, does it support natural language input? For example: take out trash tomorrow at 6pm
    forgot username
  • Reply 2 of 17
    mckennamckenna Posts: 3member
    Just for my own sanity, does the new Apple Music app support ripping songs from CD -- assuming you have a superdrive?

    -- Tom
    anantksundaramminicoffee
  • Reply 3 of 17
    CGCG Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    Does anyone know if they added Speaker / HomePod / AppleTV icons to the volume drop down in the macOS beta? Not exactly a major feature but it sure would be nice. I know there are work arounds to prevent “Office”, “Office[2]” issues but none that are very elegant.
    forgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,634administrator
    CG said:
    Does anyone know if they added Speaker / HomePod / AppleTV icons to the volume drop down in the macOS beta? Not exactly a major feature but it sure would be nice. I know there are work arounds to prevent “Office”, “Office[2]” issues but none that are very elegant.
    Not at present.
    forgot username
  • Reply 5 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,634administrator

    mckenna said:
    Just for my own sanity, does the new Apple Music app support ripping songs from CD -- assuming you have a superdrive?

    -- Tom
    It does. 

    We've got a screenshot of it here: https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/06/04/apple-is-not-deleting-your-itunes-or-movie-purchases-and-it-isnt-getting-out-of-media-sales
    edited June 5 anantksundaramforgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 17
    Previously created Pages documents crash the app. I reported it to Apple. Curiously Numbers documents are fine. 
    forgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 17
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,928member
    dougd said:
    Yawn
    Yeah... I’m not seeing the benefit that offsets the cost of breaking all 32 bit apps
    williamlondonforgot username
  • Reply 8 of 17
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,095member
    After listening to today’s 1A show on NPR I think Apple and media outlets, including AppleInsider have to be careful with bold headlines or headings like “The end of iTunes.” There are people out there right now who genuinely believe they are going to lose access to their music, movies, podcasts, etc., because Apple is “getting rid of” iTunes. It’s very good that AI quickly follows the headline with clarifying text, but some media sources are not so considerate. 

    Unfortunately, today’s 1A show, which is typically very balanced and well presented by its host, was very weak, had a horrible collection of so-called subject matter experts guests (Bloomberg and Verge) and callers who didn’t seem to understand the technology very much at all or know anything about what Apple is really doing. It almost a dumpster fire of misinformation with the host struggling to get a straight answer from the guests about what is actually happening to iTunes and its feature set. 

    I’m not here to rag on NPR or 1A, both of which I really enjoy. I am however concerned that there is a gap in the messaging about what’s really happening with iTunes and there’s a ton of FUD raining down on Apple customers who didn’t watch the keynote or who don’t understand where Apple is heading with providing a more consistent and easier to use content consumption model across all of its devices. 
    forgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,634administrator
    dewme said:
    After listening to today’s 1A show on NPR I think Apple and media outlets, including AppleInsider have to be careful with bold headlines or headings like “The end of iTunes.” There are people out there right now who genuinely believe they are going to lose access to their music, movies, podcasts, etc., because Apple is “getting rid of” iTunes. It’s very good that AI quickly follows the headline with clarifying text, but some media sources are not so considerate. 

    Unfortunately, today’s 1A show, which is typically very balanced and well presented by its host, was very weak, had a horrible collection of so-called subject matter experts guests (Bloomberg and Verge) and callers who didn’t seem to understand the technology very much at all or know anything about what Apple is really doing. It almost a dumpster fire of misinformation with the host struggling to get a straight answer from the guests about what is actually happening to iTunes and its feature set. 

    I’m not here to rag on NPR or 1A, both of which I really enjoy. I am however concerned that there is a gap in the messaging about what’s really happening with iTunes and there’s a ton of FUD raining down on Apple customers who didn’t watch the keynote or who don’t understand where Apple is heading with providing a more consistent and easier to use content consumption model across all of its devices. 
    This seems pretty clear: https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/06/04/apple-is-not-deleting-your-itunes-or-movie-purchases-and-it-isnt-getting-out-of-media-sales
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 17
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,095member
    dewme said:
    After listening to today’s 1A show on NPR I think Apple and media outlets, including AppleInsider have to be careful with bold headlines or headings like “The end of iTunes.” There are people out there right now who genuinely believe they are going to lose access to their music, movies, podcasts, etc., because Apple is “getting rid of” iTunes. It’s very good that AI quickly follows the headline with clarifying text, but some media sources are not so considerate. 

    Unfortunately, today’s 1A show, which is typically very balanced and well presented by its host, was very weak, had a horrible collection of so-called subject matter experts guests (Bloomberg and Verge) and callers who didn’t seem to understand the technology very much at all or know anything about what Apple is really doing. It almost a dumpster fire of misinformation with the host struggling to get a straight answer from the guests about what is actually happening to iTunes and its feature set. 

    I’m not here to rag on NPR or 1A, both of which I really enjoy. I am however concerned that there is a gap in the messaging about what’s really happening with iTunes and there’s a ton of FUD raining down on Apple customers who didn’t watch the keynote or who don’t understand where Apple is heading with providing a more consistent and easier to use content consumption model across all of its devices. 
    This seems pretty clear: https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/06/04/apple-is-not-deleting-your-itunes-or-movie-purchases-and-it-isnt-getting-out-of-media-sales
    No problem with AppleInsider. You are doing it right. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    Is the file system in Catalina going to support a Raid drive. It was not supported in Mojave and I would like to upgrade.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,634administrator
    Is the file system in Catalina going to support a Raid drive. It was not supported in Mojave and I would like to upgrade.
    You need to be more specific, what are you trying to do, and on what hardware? Mojave absolutely supports a RAID.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 17
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,296member
    Excellent, Mark. Appreciate the effort to make these vids! AppleInsider is my "one-stop-shop" for all things Apple! :)

    Best.

    P.S. Andrew keeps asking me to hit the 'like' button...happy to do so, but watching the vid in Ai, I don't see the any "like' buttons.....Sad
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 17
    Creative bankruptcy:

    2018 - Mojave Dark Mode
    2019 - Catalina Sidecar
  • Reply 15 of 17
    Is the file system in Catalina going to support a Raid drive. It was not supported in Mojave and I would like to upgrade.
    You need to be more specific, what are you trying to do, and on what hardware? Mojave absolutely supports a RAID.
    I have a 2012 MacMini server model and Mojave won’t install on it as the main system drive is a Raid setup. So will this be different in Catalina?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,634administrator
    Is the file system in Catalina going to support a Raid drive. It was not supported in Mojave and I would like to upgrade.
    You need to be more specific, what are you trying to do, and on what hardware? Mojave absolutely supports a RAID.
    I have a 2012 MacMini server model and Mojave won’t install on it as the main system drive is a Raid setup. So will this be different in Catalina?
    BOOT drive. Okay.

    I'll put it on the testing list.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 17
    Is the file system in Catalina going to support a Raid drive. It was not supported in Mojave and I would like to upgrade.
    You need to be more specific, what are you trying to do, and on what hardware? Mojave absolutely supports a RAID.
    I have a 2012 MacMini server model and Mojave won’t install on it as the main system drive is a Raid setup. So will this be different in Catalina?
    BOOT drive. Okay.

    I'll put it on the testing list.
    Thanks.
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