Near the end of every summer or early autumn Apple launches a new line of products and operating systems. This year it was iOS 13, iPadOS 13 (even though it was the first iPadOS), watchOS and tvOS.
What did I miss? macOS Catalina. Depending upon which technology or business website you visit, and who is writing what, macOS Catalina is another great leap forward. Or, it’s the most frustrating macOS in a decade.
Which is it?
Neither one nor the other. Catalina is different, though. Apple made Catalina fully 64-bit, so if your Mac harbored older, 32-bit applications, they are dead in the upgrade waters.
Will. Not. Run.
Apple gave app developers a couple of years to get ready for Catalina, and issued plenty of warnings to customers, too. Just this past year, with macOS Mojave, every 32-bit app that launched received a pop-up notice that change was coming, beware, and be aware.
Nica Osorio sums it up on the wrong side of the fence.
macOS Catalina Is Frustratingly Breaking Too Many Apps
There is no way to know how many Mac users have 32-bit apps that will not run on macOS Catalina, but I’m sure the number is substantial. After all, with over 100-million Mac users, even 10-percent of users with problems is a large number.
But that’s for applications that just won’t run.
What about mac applications that are 64-bit, therefore acceptable to macOS Catalina, but that still have problems? For example, many older apps, even if now 64-bit, have components– installers, plug-ins, etc.– that are 32-bit and will break anyway?
I understand such frustrations. macOS Catalina is a watershed macOS. Out with the old, in with the new. Blind upgrades are never recommended, but Mac users may have been lulled into Napsville by recent annual upgrades which worked OK.
Every new macOS upgrade brings problems, but this year is different. Apple is saying goodbye to the legacy of 32-bit, and going full-on 64-bit so Mac customers have three basic choices.
First, deal with it. Upgrade to Catalina and fix the holes in the workflow as quickly as possible. It will take time but that is similar to the annual upgrade process.
Second, stay with the past. You cannot stay on macOS Mojave forever, but since a Mac performs better every year with a new OS, if your Mac is working OK, keep it that way.
Third, and this is my choice, keep the past and test the future. For example, I set up my daily workflow iMac with an external SSD– a cloned copy of the Mac’s internal SSD which I later upgraded to macOS Catalina.
That means I may need to reboot to get to a 32-bit app until I have a replacement, but the old macOS works alongside the new macOS. So far, that has worked well, and I’ve weaned half a dozen 32-bit apps out of the workflow already, and I have only three more to go.
What is it they say? No pain, no gain. Minimize the pain, accentuate the gain.