macOS 10.15 Catalina

ITS Recommendation for macOS 10.15 Catalina

Apple will release macOS 10.15 this month (October 2019) and is offering the operating system as a free upgrade on supported Apple hardware.  New computers will ship with the new operating system this Fall.

ITS Recommendation

Information Technology Services (ITS) will support personally-owned macOS 10.15 devices on our network.    However, be aware that Catalina no longer runs 32-bit programs.  Upgrading may cause applications you rely on to stop working.  For more details on software, see “Compatibility at Swarthmore” below.

At this point there are no plans to replace macOS 10.14 Mojave as the officially supported operating system on office and public area computers.  Please do not attempt to upgrade any College-owned hardware to macOS 10.15 without first consulting with ITS.

ITS strongly recommends that College community members thinking about upgrading personal devices to macOS 10.15 Catalina also adopt a “wait and see” approach, continuing to use earlier supported versions of macOS until the initial bugs and compatibility issues are identified and fixed.

What is New in macOS 10.15 Catalina

The latest versions of Apple’s mobile (iOS) and desktop (macOS) software are taking steps to integrate their cross-functionality.   Catalina allows desktops and laptops to run previously exclusive iPad apps, and includes the Screen Time app that was introduced on mobile devices earlier this year.   Catalina also introduces Sidecar, which allows you to use an iPad as an external display for your Mac.

Apple is also taking steps to increase security with macOS 10.15.    The system volume in Catalina has been made “read-only” making it more difficult to infect or hack, and the process for granting apps access to your personal data in the new OS promises to be clearer and more transparent.

Compatibility at Swarthmore

macOS 10.15 Catalina will be supported on Swarthmore’s network when it is released.  SafeConnect and eduroam support the new operating system.

Academic software has not yet been tested on the new OS, so ITS does not guarantee that software we provide will work with macOS 10.15.  64-bit versions of most if not all academic software will eventually become available, but before testing we cannot guarantee software compatibility within the fall semester.

At the time of this writing, 32-bit programs on our software page we already know do not run in macOS 10.15 include:

Cisco AnyConnect VPN
Read & Write Gold

For more information about features, visit Apple’s Catalina webpage