macOS Catalina is coming soon--but don't install it right away

System OSX Catalina

Submitted by: Christian Boyce


 macOS Catalina is coming soon. Really soon.


Do yourself a favor: don't install it the first day!

Apple's new Mac operating system (10.15, aka "Catalina") is coming in October.

Here's why you shouldn't install it right away.

First, the apps you use may not work with Catalina. That's because macOS Catalina (10.15) is a 64-bit operating system, and you can't run older, 32-bit apps in a 64-bit operating system. "Can't run" means a 32-bit app won't even launch once you install Catalina.

(The odds are good that many of your apps are 32-bit apps. My Mac has more than 600 32-bit apps. I don't care about all of them, but some of them I care about a lot.)

You might be thinking "I'll upgrade to Catalina, and if some of my apps don't work I'll just update them." You might get away with this, but you might not. Check out this scenario:

You're using Quicken 2007.

Quicken Small.jpg

You install Catalina.

After the installation you double-click Quicken 2007 and discover it won't launch.

You visit the Quicken website and it says you can export your Quicken 2007 data and convert it to Quicken 2019. Sounds good! But you can't export your data from Quicken 2007 after you install Catalina because you can't even open Quicken 2007 after you install Catalina.

You should have exported before you installed Catalina. But you didn't.

And now you are STUCK.

Yes, I know: Quicken 2007 is old. I'm just mentioning it as an example (but I know a bunch of you still use it).

Know what else won't work with Catalina? Microsoft Office 2011.Upgrading to Office 365 is $99 per year, so the "free" upgrade to Catalina might end up costing you.

Do your homework in advance. Use a program like Go64 (free, but they take donations) and find out which of your apps won't work at all in Catalina-- before you do the Catalina upgrade!

I wrote about Go64 in this article.

64 Bit.jpg

Apps that aren't 64-bit won't run in Catalina at all. Some 64-bit apps will run perfectly, but others might run with errors-- they might crash when you go to print, they might crash when you quit, they might not look quite right on the screen. Just being 64-bit is no guarantee that an app will work properly in Catalina.

In an ideal world, software developers would have Catalina-compatible updates ready the minute Catalina becomes available. Turns out the world is not ideal (breaking news!) and some updates will not be ready the first day. So wait.

Second, the initial release of Catalina is going to be incomplete, and it's going to have bugs. When Apple puts out a new operating system they know it's not perfect. In fact, they will be working on 10.15.1 even before they release 10.15.0. The 10.15.1 update will include features Apple's software engineers couldn't get done in time for the first release, and fixes for bugs they know are in 10.15.0.

Some people will install Catalina at the first opportunity. These early adopters will discover bugs that Apple didn't know about, and Apple will get to work fixing them, but they will already be working on 10.15.1, so these new bugs will have to be addressed later-- in 10.15.2. 

You should wait until 10.15.2.

Let Apple finish putting in all of the features Catalina promises before you install it. And let someone else find Catalina's bugs. It always pays to wait for the second update to a new operating system. Always. So wait.

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