MacOS Catalina – First Hands-on Look

MacOs Catalina, revealed at WWDC 2019, is the latest OS for your Mac. There’s plenty of changes and brand new features to give you that productivity boost you deserve! So, without further ado, lets jump straight into everything Catalina.

Goodbye iTunes

Yes, we will be saying goodbye to iTunes as it’s going to be divided up into 3 apps, Music, Podcasts and Apple TV. In a way, it’s a shame to see iTunes go, partly because it forever changed the way we listen to music and watch TV shows, partly because it’s just so familiar and easy to navigate. But as it reaches it’s 18th birthday, I think everyone can agree, iTunes has served it’s purpose and now we can move on to the next era. Don’t worry if you had everything you need on iTunes, it’ll still be accessible across these new apps.

For the moment, these three apps are basically what iTunes is now, but im sure the purpose for the division is for them to head in three new directions in the not-too-distant future.
Goodbye iTunes

Apps, Old and New

Now, developers can create Mac apps from popular iPad apps with ease. This means you can have apps like Asphalt 9:Legends, DC Universe and others working on your Mac, giving you a larger screen and, in general, a better experience.

For the apps you’re more familiar with, a lot of them have had a major new boost with new features to make them run more smoothly.


Photos has a new, cleaner way to view your photos. They’re now displayed by year, month and day, highlighting some key life events that are in your calendar. There’s also a memories feature to look back on some possibly forgotten moments from your youth!



Notes has a nice little boost too. There’s now a new gallery view which makes looking through your notes a lot easier. You can also have shared folders, making it easier to collaborate with a colleague or even a whole group of people. New checklist options let you keep track of what to do and your completed tasks will automatically move to the bottom of the list so you can focus on the unfinished ones.



The Reminders app has been newly redesigned for Catalina. There are now plenty of ways to create, organize and keep track of upcoming appointments and meetings. You can also now add attachments to reminders and use the quick toolbar to create new reminders quickly and easily. As regular readers will know, I’m a big fan of the Siri features connected to reminders and now Siri can suggest new reminders found in your messages. There are also smart lists which automatically organize and display your upcoming reminders. Last but not least, you can now tag people in your reminders. This is great because now if you’re chatting with them in messages, Reminders will give you a nudge about the reminder they’re tagged in.

Sidecar is your Pencil’s New Best Friend

Sidecar is a new feature which allows you to use your ipad as an additional display for your Mac. This is great as it’s not only a monitor. You could be working in one app on your Mac while you are using your Apple Pencil to sketch something up on the iPad. You can also mirror the screens, if needed, so you can share your screen with others.


Of course, Sidecar can still be a useful tool even if you don’t have an Apple Pencil, but it clearly is designed towards Apple Pencil users. Being able to read an article and make notes on it at the same time is huge, especially for quick notes on how to redesign a poster or any small changes you need. You can use Apple Pencil with Sidecar to use some of your favorite apps, such as Illustrator, Affinity Photo, and Cinema 4D to name a few.


Catalina is More Secure Than Ever

MacOS Catalina has enhanced security features to help protect your macOS more than ever. It helps to keep your apps safe as well as giving you better control over who can access your data. It’s even easier to find your Mac if it’s lost or stolen.

MacOS Catalina also now has an activation lock. This means that you, and only you, can erase and reactivate your Mac. It also runs it’s own read-only volume. It keeps all your other data seperate on your Mac, so nothing can accidentally overwrite your system files. Gatekeeper also ensures that new apps you install have been checked for known security issues before you run them.

One other new feature is that apps now need your permission before accessing files from your Mac. This includes Documents, Desktop folders, iCloud Drive and external volumes. You’ll also be prompted before any app can capture keyboard activity, photo or video of your screen.

Security Features

Many Many More Features

MacOS Catalina is packed full of new features and apps, here are some other features that you can expect that we’ve yet to mention:

  • Updated Safari – Updated start page with new siri functions
  • Screen time on Mac
    • Monitor usage, schedule downtime, and set limits for both apps and websites across all your devices
    • Communication Limits let you choose who your children can communicate with throughout the day and during Downtime
    • Get an extra minute, 15 minutes or ignore once you’ve reached your limit
  • New “Find My” app
    • Combines Find My iPhone and Find My Friends
    • Anonymous and end-to-end encrypted so no one, including Apple, knows the identity of any reporting device
  • Approve with Apple Watch
    • Double-click the side button on your Apple Watch to authenticate on your Mac
    • Unlock a locked note, approve app installations, and view your passwords in Safari preferences without having to enter one
  • Voice Control

  • Zoom your second display
    • If you have two screens, you can keep one screen zoomed in close while the other remains at a standard resolution

The Verdict

With so many new features, it’s the Apple equivalent to Christmas! But, of course at the moment, there are inevitable bugs that still need to be fixed but hopefully all will be cleared by the time macOS Catalina is released in the Fall.

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