The latest Mac operating system Catalina is now available for iMac, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro users and with it comes several new features and enhancements – and it’s available for free.
Before starting the upgrade it’s important to back up your Mac – just in case.
The install could take up to an hour.
To begin go to the Mac App Store and you’ll find the macOS Catalina in the Utilities section. Click on the Get button and follow the instructions.
Your Mac will download the upgrade which is about 5GB and then install it.
It’s a good idea, if you’re installing macOS Catalina on a MacBook Air, MacBook or MacBook Pro, to plug in the power cable.
Here are the standout new features of macOS Catalina:
One thing users will discover is that iTunes is no more on Catalina.
In its place will be three apps – Music, TV and Podcasts.
The new Music app is like the Apple Music app but on your Mac so you can stream and download music.
There is an updated player which now allows users to view the lyrics as well as control the playback.
You can still access the iTunes store from the Music app for those who prefer to own their music.
And the app can still act as your music library.
The TV app for Mac is where you can buy, rent or view your movies and TV shows.
It’s now also possible to access Apple TV channels.
You can also browse the latest movies and TV shows as well as view your previous purchases made through iTunes in the Apple TV app.
This will also be the place to access the upcoming Apple TV+ streaming service from November 1.
All of your podcasts will now be found in the Podcast app which is not only the place to see your existing library of shows but also where you can discover new podcasts.
If you start listening to a show on your Mac running macOS Catalina, you can resume listening seamlessly on your iPhone on the move.
This new subscription service gives users access to the latest exclusive games for $4.99 a month.
Every game can be played online or offline and there are no in-app purchases or advertising within the games.
Sidecar is a brand new feature that allows users to expand their Mac desktop to their iPad.
Using your iPad as a second display opens up many new options including being able to either extend your desktop or mirror what’s on the Mac to your iPad.
Extending the desktop adds extra valuable screen real estate while mirroring is handy for showing someone else something on your screen so they can see exactly what you see.
While using Sidecar you can draw, annotate and sign documents that are stored on the Mac while they are displayed on the iPad.
Voice Control is a new feature that offers complete control of the Mac with your voice for those who can’t use traditional input devices and for users with motor limitations.
It combines control and dictation abilities to gain full control over every major function of the operating system.
Users can also gesture with their voices to click, swipe, and tap and do everything someone could do with a mouse or with touch.
Voice Control is also now available on iOS 13 and iPadOS to offer a consistent experience across all Apple devices.
Photos has a new browsing experience with your pictures sorted into days, months and years to make it easier to find and relive your memories.
The updated Photos app can now intelligently showcase your best shots in your library and also offer larger photo previews.
Live photo and videos will also start playing automatically as you scroll through your library.
Users can now also create Memory Movies based on your photos and videos and edit the length, mood and titles.
Notes has had an upgrade in macOS Catalina to make it easier to organise and find the notes you need.
Gallery view displays your notes visually to recognise them faster and access exactly what you need.
Search has also been improved so objects and scenes on photos within your notes can be recognised.
It’s now also possible to collaborate not only on individual notes but on a shared folder.
Mail on the Mac has a feature to mute threads of particularly active group emails as well as block all email from a specific sender and put it directly into the trash.
Users can also unsubscribe from commercial mailing lists through a link that will now appear above the email header.
Safari has an updated start page layout that now includes favourite and frequently visited pages.
The browser will now also warn users when they use a weak password when creating a new account and suggest a stronger one.
The feature of Find My iPhone and Find My Friends are now available on macOS Catalina and can locate your missing MacBook.
The new Find My app uses Bluetooth from millions of Mac and iOS devices in use to locate a missing device even if it can’t connect to the internet.
Any Mac or iOS device with offline finding enabled in the Find My setting can detect a missing offline device via Bluetooth and anonymously report it back to the owner.
Screen Time has come to the Mac and can let you know how much time you’re spending on apps and websites.
Users can set limits on usage of specific apps, categories of apps and websites .
Family Sharing takes it to the next level with parents now able to configure Screen Time from any Apple device for their kids on all their devices.