Apple’s March 2019 iMac can be upgraded to MacOS 10.15 Catalina

Apple has finally released the latest version of MacOS – MacOS 10.15 Catalina – a move that brings to an end the two-decade-old iTunes app.

Instead, iTunes has effectively been split into three: Apple Music, Apple TV and Podcasts. At the same time as binning iTunes, Apple has also removed support for the XML file format from Apple Music, causing problems for creative professionals, such as DJs, who used iTunes to store their music. Apple has advised creative pros reliant on this feature of iTunes not to upgrade their operating systems.

MacOS Catalina is, however, capable of running iPad apps for the first time. With Project Catalyst, developers will be able to port iPad apps to Mac by simply clicking a tickbox, with Xcode introducing MacOS-specific controls, like cursor and window controls into an iPad app’s framework.

This means that UIKit developers will only have to maintain a single codebase to create apps that work across iPhones, iPads and Macs.

MacOS 10.15 Catalina also introduces a new Sidebar feature that enables users to use their iPad as a second display for their Mac. However, this feature does not appear to be compatible with some older iPads, and won’t work with the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 or 5th-generation iPad. It also won’t work with MacBooks that don’t have Apple’s Butterfly keyboard.

MacOS 10.15 offers a number of security improvements. Gatekeeper now checks all apps for security issues: all apps are required to get permission before accessing user documents, and the side button on the Apple Watch can now be used to approve security prompts. There’s also a new ‘Find My’ app tool that combines ‘Find My Friends’ and ‘Find My iPhone’ and can be used to disable the laptop if it gets stolen. 

In addition, MacOS Catalina features Screen Time, redesigned Notes and Reminders apps, a new Safari start page that uses Siri Suggestions to throw up relevant content, and a new Accessibility feature that brings voice control to the Mac.

The release of MacOS 10.15 comes just a month after Apple released its latest iPhones, together with a number of other devices and services. That coincided with the released of iOS 13, which had to be quickly updated to iron out a number of glitchesand security issues – that subsequently emerged.

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