macOS Catalina – 10+ Biggest Features and Changes

The New Apple Music App in macOS Catalina

macOS 10.15 Catalina, the next major update for the Mac, was announced at the WWDC Keynote on Monday. This update brings with it some truly fantastic features, and there’s so much to talk about with it. Below is a list of the ten biggest new features in macOS Catalina, including what is happening with the iTunes app. 

  1. Automatic Dark Mode

Dark Mode was introduced with macOS Mojave last year, but this year, Apple are adding a highly-requested feature regarding Dark Mode. In macOS Catalina, you are now able to schedule Dark Mode so that, for example, it would turn on automatically when the sun sets in your area. 

2. Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV

The break-up of iTunes has been a very long time coming. The app that I use most on my Mac is actually the app I hate the most, so this is like a breath of fresh air to me. In macOS Catalina, Apple are breaking up iTunes (RIP). The podcasts are moving to the new Apple Podcasts app, the Audiobooks and Books are moving to the updated Apple Books app (also introduced last year), the movies and TV shows (including the ones you previously purchases) will be moving to the Apple TV app, and Apple Music and iTunes (including previously purchased and “ripped” music) will be integrated into the new Apple Music app, the app which is replacing iTunes the App. 

3. So iTunes is gone… so what happens the store?

With iTunes gone, some may think that the iTunes Store is gone alongside it. That’s not true. The iTunes Store will be remaining in the new Apple Music app, with the option to turn it on or off. You can decide whether it appears in the sidebar of the app. Don’t worry, iTunes isn’t going anywhere… yet.

4. With iTunes gone, how can I sync my devices with my music?

Good question. Syncing your devices (such as your iPhones, iPods and more) has moved from the iTunes App to the Finder menu. You still connect your device, but you choose your device from the Finder now and decide whether you would like to back it up, share music, or more. Same as you would have done with the iTunes app.

5. Project Catalyst (formerly known as Marzipan)

Apple announced Marzipan last year at WWDC. Marzipan was an internal project that was being tested at Apple that allowed developers to bring iPad apps to the Mac in the click of a button. This year, Apple are officially releasing it to developers, meaning that your favourite iPad apps may soon be on the Mac if the developer decides to support it. In simple English, you may soon be playing iPad apps, such as Asphalt 9, on your Mac. Pretty cool, right?

6. New Photos Tab

Like iOS 13, Apple have added some pretty cool new features to the photos app on the Mac. It has a new look that showcases your photos and memories. New Machine Learning in the app allows for it to pick the best photo out of 20 pictures and show you that one. You can now organise your photos by days, months, or years. 

7. A new Reminders App

I take back what I said about the iTunes app being my least favourite app on the Mac. Reminders is actually my least favourite app. The amount of times I have tried to use that app and have just given up is unbelievable. But thankfully, alongside iOS 13, Apple have decided to redesign the reminders app to make this super easy app. There are now new ways to organise and keep track of reminders. Alongside that, you can now use attachments with your reminders and let Siri suggest reminders based on your messages. You can also tag people i a reminder, so the next time you message them, your reminder will come up. 

8. SideCar – my favourite feature

SideCar has got to be the best thing in this update. Period. SideCar lets you connect your iPad, wired or wirelessly, with your Mac. This means you can use you iPad as a second screen for your Mac. This means you can draw in photoshop using Apple Pencil and Photoshop, or just use the second screen as a reference image for a project you’re working on. Whatever it is, SideCar is seriously epic. 

9. Screen Time

The dreaded screen time is now on the Mac. Screen Time is a feature that was brought into iOS 12 last year. It records precisely how long you use your iPhone, iPod, or iPad for and alongside that, made a bunch of people feel bad. But this year, Apple are brining it to the Mac. Now, I don’t know about you, but I use my Mac all day long (even though I’m typing this on an iPad), so I’m very much afraid of screen time shaming me every time I reach the end of the week. But, a lot of people might like this, so I guess – who am I to complain?!

10. Find My app

This has got to be the second best feature to macOS Catalina. The new Find My app on the iPhone can track a missing Mac, even if it’s asleep or offline. How does it work? Really good question? It works by the Mac sending out Bluetooth signals that can be detected by Apple Devices nearby. These devices then relay the detected location of your Mac to iCloud so you can locate it in the Find My app. Pretty cool, right?

11. Approve with Apple Watch

Another great feature is “Approve with Apple Watch”. This allows your to effectively use your Apple Watch as an external Touch ID sensor for Macs without Touch ID. Say you have a locked note on your Mac, so instead of entering the password, all you have to do is double-click the side button (the one next to the Digital Crown) to authenticate and open the note on the Mac.

Conclusion

Those are the ten biggest features in macOS Catalina. Of course, we’re still only in Beta 1 of it, and throughout the next few months, more and more features will get added in! 

Let us know if you have downloaded the latest beta for macOS Catalina? We’d love to hear! 

Thank you so much for reading! 

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