Should I Upgrade to macOS Catalina?

Is it time to update your operating system?

Any time Apple rolls out a new version of macOS, its customers have to determing when it's safe to upgrade. When—or even if—you update your Mac depends on several factors, including whether Apple has fixed any early bugs. Here's what you should consider before upgrading to macOS Catalina.

macOS Catalina running on a MacBook Pro

Fixes to macOS Catalina Since Launch

No software is perfect at launch, and it's not rare for people to wait until at least the first update for the developers to work out any initial bugs or glitches. Lingering issues with the initial release are the main reason you'd want to wait to upgrade. Catalina originally had a few issues that Apple has since addressed.

Each update may also have some unspecified "bug fixes and improvements" that Apple doesn't describe.

App or Service Issue Fixed in
Contacts App opened to the previously active entry instead of All Contacts 10.15.1
Mail Preferences window may not appear 10.15.2
  Can't recover deleted email using Undo command 10.15.2
Messages Repeat alerts didn't go through 10.15.1
Music Newly added songs and playlists in folders didn't display properly 10.15.1
  Issues when migrating old iTunes content to the new Music app (along with Podcasts and TV) 10.15.1
  Equalizer reset during playback 10.15.2
  Album artwork may not appear 10.15.2
Notes Slow performance when typing 10.15.2
Photos May not recognize AVI or mp3 files 10.15.2
  New folders may not appear in Albums view 10.15.2
  Sorted images in a folder may export in a different order 10.15.2
  Cropping feature may not work in Print Preview 10.15.2
Reminders Items appear out of order in Today view 10.15.2
TV Downloaded items may not appear in the Downloads folder 10.15.1
Other Password entry rejects some non-US characters 10.15.1
  Does not accept user password 10.15.2
  Incompatibility with video conferencing apps 10.15.2
  Non-admin users could not install apps 10.15.2

Updates to macOS Catalina Since Launch

Other than enhanced stability and fixes, later iterations of macOS Catalina have also added features that add functionality. In some cases, Apple has restored functions that it had removed from the initial launch.

The ability to do more things with your Mac–especially as the OS becomes less prone to glitches–is another good reason to get on board.

App or Service Feature Added In
AirPods Support for AirPods Pro 10.15.1
Home Ability to capture and securely store video from HomeKit-compatible cameras 10.15.1
  Support for HomeKit-enabled routers 10.15.1
  Support for AirPlay 2 speakers 10.15.1
Keyboard Updated and new emoji 10.15.1
Music Restored column view 10.15.2
News Two-finger gesture to go back 10.15.1
  New layouts 10.15.2
Photos Restores ability to view file names in All Photos 10.15.1
  Restores filter options 10.15.1
Remote Can now control TV and Music apps with an iOS device 10.15.2
Siri New privacy settings, including ability to delete history 10.15.1

Make Sure Your Mac Can Run macOS Catalina

Mostly likely, if you upgraded to Mojave, your Mac can run Catalina. However, if your Mac is older, you might want to wait to run this OS until you update your hardware. For example, the oldest computers that support Catalina were made in 2012.

While all of these computers can install Catalina, they may have some hardware limitations that stop it from running at full efficiency. Elements like available RAM, graphics processors, and even hard drive size might lead to sluggish performance even though the computer technically meets the requirements.

If you aren't sure about whether your computer will run well after the upgrade, you should have a plan. If you use Time Machine to regularly back up your data, you can revert to your previous software version using an old backup you took before the upgrade. With some preparation beforehand, it's also possible to return to an earlier version of macOS.

Make the backup installer for the earlier version of macOS before you upgrade. Apple won't let you go back once you update the operating system.

Should You Upgrade to macOS Catalina?

Whether you decide you're ready to upgrade to macOS Catalina depends on several factors. At this point, Apple has worked out the major bugs that might have been present at the initial release. The company has also added and restored features that might make Catalina even more appealing.

From this standpoint, you're safe upgrading. But you should also consider your computer and whether it can meet Catalina's technical demands. If you aren't sure, it's a good idea to make a backup in case the new operating system slows down your computer and you need to revert.