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macOS 10.15 Catalina

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I just upgraded my external drive from the Catalina beta to the released Catalina. My external keyboard, an Apple keyboard with the number keypad, worked just fine with the beta but would not work with the released Catalina.

I had this problem with High Sierra, and the "fix" was to put an extension cable between the keyboard and the computer. That did the trick with Catalina also. I have no idea why a direct connection won't work, but an "extension or, I suppose, a hub does work.

Ric Ford

The Verge said:
Apple confirms macOS Catalina update is a big problem for DJs who relied on iTunes
... Apple tells The Verge that along with Catalina’s removal of iTunes, users are also losing XML file support as all native music playback on Macs moves over to the official Music app. XML file support is a popular organizational feature for DJs who use it to sort tracks into playlists and utilize the “Share iTunes Library XML with other applications” option to seamlessly transmit data between apps. ... Apple’s confirmation means updating to Catalina will replace iTunes with Music, and that, in turn, will break communication between the app and pretty much all existing DJ software.

Ric Ford

I'm hoping for a typically thorough review of macOS Catalina from Ars Technica, but here's quick look in the meantime from The Verge:
Dieter Bohn said:
macOS Catalina review: transition period
It’s been a messy fall for Apple software releases. iOS and iPadOS have already been updated multiple times to address bugs, and they still have issues as of early October. Now, macOS 10.15 Catalina is out, and the number one question to answer is: should you update or wait to see how things settle down?

My general rule with Mac updates is to wait longer than I do for iOS updates, simply because the matrix of app and utility compatibility is much more complicated. It’s more likely that a critical app you care about won’t work on the latest version of macOS, and you’re likely dependent on your Mac for real work, so there are higher stakes for bugs.

My answer to that question is easy, then: wait — not because there are any show-stopping bugs, but because, on balance, the new features you get aren’t so compelling (yet) that you should rush to install it. (The one exception is if you are having problems with iCloud reminders. In that case, I’d say go ahead and update, as I haven’t had major issues yet.)...

Good Stuff
  • Bye, iTunes
  • Sidecar
  • Apple Arcade
Bad Stuff
  • Overbearing security prompts
  • New media apps are a little rough
  • Apple didn’t do enough to support iPad apps

Ric Ford

I'm hoping for a typically thorough review of macOS Catalina from Ars Technica...
And, well, here it is!
Andrew Cunningham said:
macOS 10.15 Catalina: The Ars Technica review
The good
  • Like most modern macOS updates, Catalina adds a bunch of small features that many people will appreciate, introduces new security measures that most people won't be too bothered by, and removes legacy features that most people won't miss.
  • iPad apps on the Mac seem purely additive, for now. Developers with full-featured Mac apps will mostly keep offering them; most of the new iPad-style Mac apps will be things the platform didn't have before.
  • New first-party Catalyst apps are generally pretty good and an improvement over the samples we got in Mojave.
  • The Great iTunes Breakup is beneficial for just about everyone, including people who want to keep managing local media libraries and syncing them to an iPod like it's 2004.
  • Sidecar is a cool and genuinely useful way to make Macs and iPads work better together (same goes for the related iPad-centric markup features).
  • Catalina runs on (almost) all the same hardware as Mojave.
The bad
  • Most people will not notice the absence of 32-bit app support most of the time. But especially if you use older or independently developed apps, you're eventually bound to run into something that won't work on Catalina even if it worked just fine in Mojave.
  • New security checks can be annoying, especially on a fresh install. This may get worse for some apps when notarization becomes mandatory in early 2020.
The ugly
  • Apple's operating system releases have all seemed a bit rushed this year—go ahead and give the company a couple of months to patch Catalina before you install it, if you can.

I can't get Catalina to import audiobooks on CDs. Also, in the converted Books app, there is no "Get Info" menu selection. Back to Mojave...
I feel your pain, tukayò (“namesake”, in my language). My pain is even worse. There are about 1,500 titles in my audiobook library, mostly purchased from Audible. This translates to almost a half terabyte of disk space.

Up to Mojave, iTunes allowed for locating its library on a secondary drive, so I never had the problem of running out of disk space in my 1-terabyte internal SSD.

With the demise of iTunes, music files were migrated to, video files to, and books and audiobooks to Since I don’t have too many music and video files, I was not worried about their migration, but my audiobooks were another matter. I didn’t know how Catalina would deal with those files on the external volume.

I had been beta-testing macOS since Sierra, and typically I would be comfortable enough with the system at the fifth or sixth beta release. But, with Catalina, the iTunes issue had me wait until the eighth beta to install it on my main system. (Carbon Copy Cloner is such a great safety net.)

I went ahead with the upgrade to the eighth beta version, hoping that the files in my iTunes library would be converted in situ. Unfortunately, the installation copied all my iTunes files to the boot drive, leaving me with around 200 gigabytes of space available—hardly enough, considering hidden files like snapshots and cache files are part of the “free” space.

One clue as to how macOS deals with free space is that, before, I would have about a dozen to 15 Time Machine snapshots on my boot drive. Now, it never goes higher than three. (One consolation here is that Disk First Aid takes a lot less time. Those snapshots take a while to verify.)

So, now, I will have to wait and see if there is a way to locate at least my audiobook files on an external volume. Otherwise, I will have to individually archive files from my library to another drive and delete them from my “local” library. This will take some time but is quite doable.

My main grudge is that, over the years, I had created separate folders for each audiobook author, with separate playlists for each title. In addition, I edited the “Album Artist” entries with the narrators’ names and had been rating each title I finished with iTunes’ 5-star rating system. All gone.

Aside from this issue, macOS Catalina, I think, is amazing. It’s a lot faster than Mojave, and a number of “irritations” I previously had were fixed. After installing the public release, version 10.15 (19A583), even some minor bugs that were still present in the GM release were resolved. I should also mention that I had been testing the beta version of Catalina on a second Mac Mini 8,1 ever since it was first issued, so I had enough experience with it before deciding to install it on my main system.

Fun suggestion: Once you have Catalina installed, select the “Drift” screensaver. Gorgeous!

I have an issue with Catalina that has persisted for the last two betas and the release: The Dock will not display. At the initial reboot after the install, it will display, but in subsequent reboots, it will not. This is on a clone of my working volume, migrated into Catalina.

The process is running but does not display. If I kill the Dock with Activity Monitor, it reloads and works, but this does not survive a reboot.

It does not occur on a volume that is just a ”clean“ install of Catalina. I have removed all apps that are loaded at startup, with no success. It does clear up with a Safe Mode boot.

Anyone have a clue?

For the length of the public beta, I have had issues in the working clone that did not show up in the “clean” installation, and issues in the “clean” installation that didn’t show up in the working clone. I have cloned the working volume and installed Catalina on top of it, and installed Catalina on an empty volume and migrated, repeatedly. It has all been flakey. Not very enthusiastic here...

Ric Ford

... It has all been flakey. Not very enthusiastic here...
In case you haven't read it yet (emphasis added)...
Ars Technica said:
macOS 10.15 Catalina: The Ars Technica review

... The betas and the GM build of Mojave felt pretty solid, and it was the rare macOS release where waiting for the 0.1 or 0.2 update didn't feel super necessary. But although Catalina doesn't feel as rough as High Sierra did when it came out, I do think you should probably wait for one or two major bugfix updates to come out before you install Catalina (unless there are Catalina-only apps that you absolutely need to run right now). Apple is typically pretty quick to release the first couple bugfix updates for any new OS—High Sierra and Mojave both launched in late September, and both 10.13.2 and 10.14.2 were out in early December. You shouldn't need to wait more than a couple of months for Apple to address the most serious problems.

There are a couple reasons for this recommendation and overall situation. First, Apple's software development teams all seem to be a bit overwhelmed this year. Across the board, the release schedule has been uncommonly disruptive and chaotic; iPadOS 13.0 went through eight developer betas alongside iOS 13.0, but it didn't ship to the public until version 13.1 was ready. Version 13.1 itself was originally announced for September 30 before unexpectedly being moved up to September 24, and the release ended up being patched two times in less than a week. WatchOS 6.0 only launched on newer Series 3 and 4 Apple Watches, leaving Series 1 and 2 watches to receive the update at some as-yet-unspecified future date. Apple has released 11 developer betas of Catalina since WWDC, three of which have come out since the September iPhone event (and two of those came out just last week). It all paints a picture of a company that bit off a bit more than it could chew this year.

Second, while most apps from most major developers will run fine on Catalina, the total removal of 32-bit support plus the addition of extra security checks will inevitably leave some software broken and unable to run properly. Giving these developers a couple of months to catch up will result in a smoother Catalina upgrade experience for you.

Another evidence that is inferior to Books does not “ignore” the initial articles (A, An, The) in the titles. So, for example, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is alphabetized within the ‘A’ list instead of ‘T’; The Queen’s Poisoner within the ‘T’ list instead of ‘Q’. Obviously the programmers who worked on the don’t know about book naming conventions. How unprofessional.


In case you haven't read it yet (emphasis added)...
Wasn't anything really new to me from Ars Technica. What was, and is, strange is the difference in behavior between Catalina on a clean volume vs. on top of my working volume (what most people would enventually do). Just weird.

Apple responded relatively quickly to some of my bug reports (even some trivial ones), but some of the really glaring and persistent ones on my working volume they appeared to not be able to duplicate. Breaking the Dock for three builds is sort of a big deal. It makes me honestly wonder what's going on with my working volume.

On some secondary Macs I have, I'll install Catalina. On my primary Mac Pro 5,1 (2012), I'll clone the main hard drive and install Catalina on it by using DosDude1's patcher. I'll still have Mojave to boot from, when I need to run something old. But first I'll be testing Catalina on my beta hard drive.

Are there any risks testing Catalina on an external disk while continuing real work with Mojave on an internal disk?

I guess Catalina might update the Mac's firmware, but are there any reports of that causing problems when booting back into older macOS versions?

I have a Mac Mini 2018 with 23,7" Thunderbolt 3 LG UltraFine 4K that initially had the infamous black screen error that was fixed in macOS 10.14.6.

Are there any cloud services (iCloud Notes, Reminders, Contacts, Mail, Photos, etc.) that might not work anymore in older macOS after using them in Catalina?

It's here...
Mac Mini 2019: upgrade proceeded fine until final reboot. I’ve got an HDMI 2.0 display, and the screen was blank after the reboot, despite repeated reboot attempts.

Plugged in a USB-C–DisplayPort cable instead, and all is well. Hopefully, I can get the HDMI running again, but just mentioning this in case anyone else thinks (like I did) that I’d nuked the Mac....

I have upgraded to Catalina, and I was unable to update Xcode to the latest version (11.1) via the App Store, even though I tried twice. I had to download it from Apple's developer site.

I also had to re-enter my license key in iCollections after upgrading to Catalina.

Also, Net Monitor doesn't launch any more (which doesn't surprise me—the same thing happened when I upgraded from High Sierra to Mojave).

Well it really does seem fast on my 4-yr-old MacBook. I was most interested in Music app . Wow, in 15 minutes at least 50 prompts to join Apple Music. And like the iOS version, a very, very difficult process to buy any music....

Is there a secret Apple download link for Mojave now? I haven’t been tracking the Catalina release date, and never got around to downloading Mojave from the App Store, because I was waiting for it to be fully baked. Apple grudgingly provided a way to get Sierra after High Sierra came out, so I am hoping something similar exists for Mojave.

Mac Mini 2019: upgrade proceeded fine until final reboot. I’ve got an HDMI 2.0 display, and the screen was blank after the reboot, despite repeated reboot attempts.
Plugged in a USB-C–DisplayPort cable instead, and all is well. Hopefully, I can get the HDMI running again, but just mentioning this in case anyone else thinks (like I did) that I’d nuked the Mac....
This happened with my secondary Mac Mini 8,1, connected to my 4K TV via HDMI, twice. The first time was with the update (from the public beta) to the GM version of Catalina, and the second with the update to the final release.

In both cases, I was convinced that the update failed and had to do several hard shutdowns and SMC resets. Finally, when I was getting ready to connect it to my 32" Samsung monitor via DisplayPort, a last try finally brought the HDMI back to life, with no apparent damage to the system despite the numerous shutdowns.

My second experience with it was less worrying, even though I was not absolutely sure that it was an exact repeat of the first one. I hope this won’t happen again with the update to 10.15.1.

I have upgraded to Catalina, and I was unable to update Xcode to the latest version (11.1) via the App Store, even though I tried twice. I had to download it from Apple's developer site. …
Xcode 11.1 update appeared in the App Store this morning (10/08/19).
Apple said:
Xcode 11.1 includes Swift 5.1 and SDKs for iOS 13.1, iPadOS 13.1, tvOS 13, watchOS 6, and macOS Catalina 10.15.

Ric Ford

Notes about Catalina:
The Verge said:
You don’t need to update your operating system right away
... Despite the fact that the first four paragraphs of my Catalina review were an argument that you should hold off on updating your Mac until you know for sure your apps will work, I still don’t feel I was strenuous enough.

Some users missed the memo that 32-bit apps are finally getting left behind. Others didn’t realize that Apple transition from iTunes to Apple Music would burn off a critical backend file format that other DJ apps depended on.

Yet more people didn’t realize that they would need to set aside a solid hour to click approval boxes for apps requesting access to newly-restricted parts of your computer.

... Telling people not to upgrade to the new OS for a few weeks used to be so common that it sounds weird to emphasize it so much. But somewhere in the past decade the yearly updates for both iOS (and, to a lesser extent, Android) lulled us into a false sense of complacency.

On mobile platforms, you wanted to update right away because the new updates were generally stable, got you access to cool new features, and many of your favorite apps took advantage of those new features fairly early on. It was low risk, high reward.

But this year, iOS 13 has proven to be pretty buggy. Heck, everything has been pretty buggy this year. Windows 10 had a “May update” that is still not ready for prime time as of October. iPadOS is still sending my keyboard to random corners of the screen. And Catalina, as I have said, isn’t a great day-one update.
iMazing said:
macOS 10.15 Catalina and iMazing
... there are a few important caveats to be aware of before making the jump:
  • Not all Macs are can run macOS Catalina....
  • You have legacy 32 bit apps which you rely on. Catalina simply will not run 32 bit apps....
  • You depend on apps which aren't quite ready for Catalina. Quite a few music apps for example aren't compatible yet, notably UAD, Pro Tools and Cubase. Music apps which depend on the Share iTunes Library XML feature of iTunes also do not work with Catalina, and that's already creating headaches for some DJs.
  • You really like iTunes the way it is and can't bear the idea of seeing it broken up in separate, more focused apps.

After the Catalina update, all of my music in iTunes was gone except for 7 or 8 items from the iTunes store. Otherwise ~32 GB of music gone.

Doesn't matter, because 2 years ago I moved all my music to a Bluesound Vault by re-ripping all of my CD's as flacs.

Is deletion the new standard for user content not purchased from Apple?

Ric Ford

I couldn't agree more. I'm currently running Mojave and have no intention of upgrading to Catalina now or anytime in the near future. Does anyone know how to get rid of the nag badge on the System Preferences icon in the dock?
You could try this and see if it helps:
Der Flounder said:
Preventing the macOS Catalina upgrade advertisement from appearing in the Software Update preference pane on macOS Mojave

Not yet ready for macOS Catalina in your environment, but you’ve trained your folks to look at the Software Update preference pane to see if there’s available updates? One of the ways Apple is advertising the macOS Catalina upgrade is via the Software Update preference pane in System Preferences.

If you want to prevent that advertising banner from appearing, run the following command with root privileges:
softwareupdate --ignore "macOS Catalina"
You should see text appear which looks like this:
Ignored updates:
    "macOS Catalina"

Ric Ford

Adobe said:
Fix Adobe app 64-bit compatibility errors on macOS
Adobe is working on moving most of its Creative Cloud and Acrobat apps to 64-bit to ensure compatibility with macOS 10.15 and future versions as Apple ends its 32-bit support.

When launching Adobe apps on macOS 10.15 and future versions, you may receive an error message when the operating system detects the app or components of the apps are running 32-bit. Most of our apps have been or are in the process of being upgraded to 64-bit.

Two Adobe apps, Fuse and Presenter Video Express, will continue as 32-bit. Our recommendations on replacement apps are given below.

Ric Ford

Apple Support said:
Use zsh as the default shell on your Mac
Starting with macOS Catalina, your Mac uses zsh as the default login shell and interactive shell. You can make zsh the default in earlier versions of macOS as well.

By default, your Mac uses either zsh or bash as the command-line interpreter for the login shell and interactive shell:
  • zsh (Z shell) is the default shell for all newly created user accounts, starting with the macOS Catalina beta.
  • bash is the default shell in macOS Mojave and earlier.
zsh is highly compatible with the Bourne shell (sh) and mostly compatible with bash, with some differences. For more about zsh and its comprehensive command-line completion system, enter man zsh in Terminal.

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