Prepare for MacOS Catalina

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Are you ready to install MacOS Catalina on your Mac? With macOS Catalina 10.15 now available for download, you may be wondering whether or not you are ready to update to the latest system software release, and you may be looking for some advice on how to get ready for the macOS 10.15 update.

This article discusses some important steps to prepare a Mac for updating to MacOS Catalina. We’ll also cover some other options, such as dual booting, or waiting a while to install the update.

How to Prepare for MacOS Catalina in 5 easy steps

We will check system compatibility, look for incompatible apps, update apps, make backups up install the Mac and MacOS Catalina 10.15.

1: Check the system compatibility

You need to make sure your Mac supports MacOS Catalina, as not all hardware does.

From the list of macOS Catalina supported Macs here, you can see that, for the most part, any Mac built after 2012 supports MacOS Catalina.

You should also make sure you have at least 15 GB of free disk space to download and install the macOS Catalina update.

2: Check for 32-bit apps

MacOS Catalina can only run 64-bit applications, which means that all 32-bit apps on the Mac will no longer work.

If you have a crucial 32-bit app, see if a new 64-bit version is available, or consider delaying the update to Catalina. This can be many important major apps that some users rely on, such as Adobe Photoshop CS6, and some older versions of Microsoft Office and other older major apps.

You can easily find all 32-bit apps on a Mac with the System Information tool if you are unsure.

You can also use a free third-party app called Go64 to check for Mac apps that aren’t quite 64-bit.

Keep in mind that some apps may report that they are 64-bit, but they still have 32-bit components and thus won’t work in Catalina (like Adobe Photoshop CS6).

3: Update your apps

You need to make sure to update your apps before (and after) MacOS Catalina is installed. This is generally always a good idea, but it is especially true as 32-bit applications are no longer supported by macOS Catalina.

You can update apps from the Mac App Store by opening the App Store application and going to the “Updates” tab.

Use the App Store

Updates to apps obtained elsewhere often need to be updated through the app itself or through the developer’s or manufacturer’s website.

4: back upup from the Mac

Backing up your Mac is essential before installing a system software update, but having adequate backups is especially important if you plan to install a new major version of macOS. Backups allow you to roll back if things go wrong and help prevent permanent data loss.

You can learn how to set Time Machine for Mac backups here.

Time Machine in Mac OS XTime Machine requires an external hard drive to be connected to the Mac for regular backups, so if you don’t already have one, you may want to shop for an external hard drive on Amazon or your favorite store.

5: Everything ready? Install MacOS Catalina!

Have you checked the compatibility of your Mac and critical apps? Supported up your Mac? Have you updated your apps? Then you are ready to update to MacOS Catalina!

MacOS Catalina is available as a free download, you can find it in Control Panel Software Update and in the Mac App Store.

MacOS Catalina available for download and installation

Note that some features in macOS Catalina like Sidecar rely on an iPad with iPadOS 13 or higher, and some older iPad and Mac models don’t support that feature all the way.

You should also consider downloading a backup copy of the macOS Mojave installer

If you are using macOS Mojave but plan to avoid the macOS Catalina update for now, it may be a good idea to download a copy of the Mojave installation file and keep it somewhere. Here is how to download the macOS Mojave installer on a Mac that is already running macOS Mojave. This can be especially useful for advanced users if they ever want to reinstall Mojave, create a USB boot drive for that OS version, or simply keep an archive of available system software installers available.

Did you find these suggestions helpful in preparing for MacOS Catalina? Have you installed Catalina? Are you waiting for the first point release update or are you skipping Catalina for now? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

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How to Prepare for MacOS Catalina: FAQ

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