Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
The latest Mac operating system—macOS 10.15 a.k.a. Catalina—shipped last week and initial reports are mixed. And, as usual, I’m going to warn you not to install it yet.
I’ve been running beta releases of Catalina all summer, and have installed, upgraded, and reinstalled countless pre-release versions, so this isn’t my first rodeo.
My Upgrade Was No Picnic
Still, when I upgraded my main Mac (a 2015 MacBook Pro) yesterday, I had serious issues with the Finder crashing and other apps not responding, along with more appearances of the spinning pinwheel of death than I’ve seen in ages. After an hour or so of frustration I reinstalled Catalina, and that seems to have done the trick.
My point is that an upgrade that should have taken no more than 45 minutes ended up wasting nearly half of my day.
More Reasons to Wait
If that’s not enough to keep you from installing it today, here are a couple more reasons you should wait for at least one (if not two) bug-fix updates before taking the plunge:
32-bit apps are not supported in Catalina. I wrote a whole column last July explaining 32- vs. 64-bits, but in a nutshell, your old copies of Office, Photoshop, Lightroom, and many other older programs will not work once you upgrade.
Bottom line: Before you even think about installing Catalina, download and run the free Go64 app from St. Clair Software (maker of Default Folder X and other utilities). It’s the easiest way to determine which of your apps are 32-bit; it offers developer contact information for many apps; and it can identify 64-bit apps with 32-bit plugins, frameworks or services, which may or may not run in Catalina.
And Even More Reasons…
Here’s another consideration: How much time do you have if your upgrade goes haywire? I spent more than four hours installing Catalina on my main Mac and have spent even more than that troubleshooting other macOS upgrades.
Do you have that kind of time today?
So, here’s what I recommend before you pull the trigger on macOS Catalina 10.15:
- Wait for at least one bug-fix update.
- Search the web for “macOS Catalina bugs (or issues or problems)” and read everything you can find.
For example, I found “Apple Confirms Serous MacBook Pro Problems in macOS Catalina” at Forbes.com; “macOS 10.15 Catalina Ships, Upgrade with Caution” at Tidbits.com; and (literally) six million other results.
Forewarned is forearmed—do your homework!
- Run Go64 and replace any 32-bit apps you can’t live without.
- Tackle your upgrade on a weekend or other time when being without your Mac for an hour or four won’t be as onerous.
- Finally, before you pull the trigger ask yourself if you really need Catalina’s new features today. If you don’t, wait for a bug-fix release or two before taking the plunge.
I hope these tips make your upgrade less vexing (and time-consuming) than mine.
Good bye and good luck!
And that’s all he wrote…