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Apple macOS Catalina & Mac Pro 2019

Part 3 in the series about the updates to Apple software & products coming in Autumn 2019

macOS Catalina & Mac Pro

In the final of the three part series on the updates coming from Apple this Autumn, I’m covering Apple macOS and the new Mac Pro.

If you haven’t read part 1 and part 2, I would suggest you head on over to check them out. 

Especially part 1 as it covers the updates to Apple’s software product range. It includes info on the updates for Photos, Reminders, Notes, Safari, Screen Time and Mail. All of these updates will be available across all devices that run them.

As with all the posts, I’ll cover the relevant bits as best as I can. When Apple release the public beta versions of the software updates I’ll give you more details.

The sections of this post are:


Each year Apple releases its latest update for its Mac operating system and each year it gets a new name. I think it was last year they decided to do away with using OS X as the name (because they were well and truly beyond ten versions of it by then).

Anyway, this year, it’s called macOS Catalina. So you can expect a lot of lovely photos of the sea and islands instead of the desert.


The update didn’t really contain that may new features, some of the apps were streamlined for consistency with iOS. 

Notably, iTunes is being retired, and is being replaced with Apple Music, Podcast and TV apps. You can read more about this in the first in this series of posts from Friday.


The biggest, and quite honestly the coolest feature that’s unique to this update is called Sidecar.

Sidecar is an app that extends your desktop to use your iPad as a second display, or use it as a graphics tablet. It’s got a lot of interesting features that extend the use of both your mac and iPad.

I’ve pulled what I think are the most interesting features of this, well, feature.

Mirrored desktop

Working on a laptop and need an additional screen or just more screen real estate? Mirrored desktop is the answer. For those of us who work with anything web related (design, build etc) then we’re often used to working with two screens. To be able to extend this way is super useful.

Wired or Wireless

Connect your iPad to your mac via a cable to work and charge, or wirelessly (within 10 metres).

Draw and sketch in apps

This one interested me the most. I’ve just started getting used to using Adobe Illustrator and Sketch. The thought of being able to have a ready made graphics tablet already is, well, brilliant.

You’ll also be able to mark-up apps that are open on your Mac using your tablet.

Compatible Apps

Apple have announced apps that will work with Sidecar, and they are:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Affinity Designer
  • Affinity Photo
  • Cinema 4D
  • CorelDRAW
  • DaVinci Resolve
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Maya
  • Motion
  • Painter
  • Principle
  • Sketch
  • Substance Designer
  • Substance Painter
  • Zbrush

They haven’t, however, announced if these will be apps you will need to instal separately on your iPad. If so, in naming these apps they’ve said that Sketch will be available as an app on your iPad.

Touch Bar

If you’ve got one of the older macs that doesn’t have support for Touch Bar, they’re extending the controls to Sidecar. I don’t know if this will include the ability to use the security features, though.

Security & Privacy

Apple were on a big security and privacy kick at the event. Poking fun (not so subtly) at the platforms that play fast and loose with our data (Facebook). 

As such, they’ve introduced a number of features to help protect you against data breaches, hacking and ransomware.

System Volume

When you install macOS Catalina, it will install on its own space within your hard drive that’s read-only. From what I can tell that means that it becomes impossible to overwrite the files the system uses to run. That makes it virtually impossible for a hacker to gain control of your machine.

They’ve also ensured that any hardware you install is installed separate from macOS. Again, this is to prevent any storage device that may have dodgy code in it to take control of your Mac.


macOS Catalina will ask you before an app is allowed to access any of your stored data. It appears that this will happen regardless of where it’s stored. 

For example it could be stored in Apple storage or somewhere like a network drive, Google Drive or Dropbox. 

You will be asked before any kind of logging or capture happens. They specifically mention key loggers. This is plausibly to help prevent someone from installing key logging software on your mac and capturing your data while you type.

Apple Watch

If you already use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac you’ll probably find that they’re extending this as no surprise. 

If you want to view your passwords in Safari for example, you’ll now be able to double-click the side button of your Apple Watch to access them.

Or, even better, when you have to enter your password on system notifications – let your watch do it for you. Saving you time and effort!

And to think I wrote a massive article on Password Managers. Although I realise I’m the geeky early adopter who geeks out at this kind of stuff.


macOS Catalina will run on the following Apple Mac hardware:

  • MacBook 2015 & later
  • MacBook Air 2012 & later
  • MacBook Pro 2012 & later
  • Mac mini 2012 & later
  • iMac 2012 & later
  • iMac Pro 2017& later
  • Mac Pro 2013 & later

Mac Pro

This is only for those hardcore geeks out there. Those of you who need something powerful. I’m talking the Mercedes AMG GT of Macs. By that I mean something that looks utterly stunning and has the power behind it.

The Mac Pro is the next generation tower that many have been asking Apple to bring back since they discontinued it. I used to have one and it weighed a ton and was pretty powerful. It was also possible to upgrade the hell out of it.

It has been designed for people making films or music or heavy duty design work. It’s not for the faint hearted. Mainly because it has a price tag that comes in at around £5k, without monitor.

If you’d like to see what it looks like and the full specs for it, head on over to Apple to take a look.


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