How to get ready for macOS Catalina

There are a host of great new features and changes for Mac users with the release of macOS Catalina. But before you install the latest operating system there are few things to consider like if you’re running any important apps that won’t be compatible with macOS 10.15, checking for 32-bit apps, and if you’ve got a fresh backup. Follow along for how to get your Mac ready for macOS Catalina.

Upgrading your Mac to macOS Catalina right away might be tempting, but it’s worth taking some time to think about if it’s worth waiting a bit before making the jump based on your own specific needs.

How to get ready for macOS Catalina

  1. Check compatibility
  2. Check for 32-bit apps and Catalina support for other critical apps
  3. Back up your Mac
  4. Download and install Catalina

Step 1

macOS Catalina is compatible with most Macs from 2012 and later. Head to  > About This Mac if you can’t remember how old your machine is.

If you’ve got an older Mac that just makes the cut-off, it may be worth holding off on upgrading to watch how older Macs perform with macOS Catalina.

Step 2

While many third-party app developers work to have their software ready to play nice with the latest macOS version when it’s released, there can still be bugs and performance issues to iron out.

Of course, there are also many apps that aren’t yet ready for Catalina, and another big consideration in particular for this release is if you rely on any 32-bit apps. macOS Catalina makes the jump to only support 64-bit apps, so if you depend on any that are 32-bit, you’ll want to know before you upgrade.

Another example is third-party gear that won’t be functional for Logic Pro yet. A good rule of thumb is if you run critical apps on your Mac and you’re not sure how they might perform running Catalina, it’s best to hold off for now.

How to check for 32-bit apps

You can check if you’re running any 32-bit apps in Mojave before you download and install Catalina. Head to  > About This Mac > System Report > Legacy Software.

You’ll see a list of all the 32-bit apps currently installed on your Mac and can make a better decision about if it’s a good time to upgrade. If any of the 32-bit apps are critical ones for you, don’t upgrade now. Check in with the developers of your software to see about a 64-bit version.

You can also click on the Application tab on the left sidebar to see details about all of your software.

How to get ready for macOS Catalina walkthrough 1

Even if you don’t use any 32-bit apps, you’ll likely want to hold off on upgrading to Catalina if the functionality and stability of your Mac is more important than new features.

Step 3

Don’t forget to make a fresh backup of your Mac before installing macOS Catalina. And for good measure, it’s a good idea to have two recent backups just in case you run into trouble with one of them.

Read more about backing up your Mac:

Step 4

If you’re sure you’re ready to install macOS Catalina, don’t have any crucial apps that you might lose functionality for, and have some fresh backups of your current machine, you can head to System Preferences > Software Update to download and install the update.

You can also head to the App Store to download the free update here. Once you’ve downloaded Catalina, open it up and follow the prompts to install it.

How to get your Mac ready macOS Catalina walkthrough 2

Check out more details about macOS Catalina in the video and posts below:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.