The Best New macOS Catalina Features

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 14 Jun 2019

macOS Catalina New Features

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 might have stolen all the limelight at this year’s WWDC but Apple also announced macOS Catalina alongside it. Unlike iOS 13, Catalina is not a major update, with Apple focusing more on improving the core experience. Here’s a look at some of the best features of macOS Catalina.

macOS Catalina is all about improvements to some core system apps and underlying changes. It does not come with any major breakthrough features that will change your workflow. However, some improvements are bound to help improve the overall quality of apps for the OS, while others will particularly benefit artists and creators.

Best macOS Catalina Features

#1 Sidecar

If you own an iPad, you can now use it as an extended monitor for your Mac. Or you can mirror your Mac’s display content on the iPad. This feature has been replicated by many third-party apps for Mac and with Catalina, Apple is natively adding it to the OS. For someone on the go, Sidecar allows them to turn their iPad into a portable external monitor for their Mac.

With Sidecar, iPad Pro and Apple Pencil owners can draw on their iPads display in apps like Adobe Illustrator and iWork and the content will show up on their Mac.

One issue with Sidecar is that it is only compatible with relatively newer Macs and MacBook Pro models. On the plus side, it works over a wireless connection which is a major usability boon.

#2 Music, TV, and Podcasts App

Yep, the addition of new Music, TV, and Podcasts app in macOS Catalina is one of the major highlights of the release. That’s because with these new apps, Apple is killing iTunes for Mac and these three apps are the ones that are going to replace it. All three apps have been built from the ground up and offer an experience that’s vastly superior to iTunes. The improved user experience is important as Apple focuses more on its services business and the impending launch of Apple TV+.

The Music app gives one access to Apple Music on their Mac including its library of over 50 million songs. The app also seamlessly carries forward your iTunes library so you won’t have to worry about losing it when you upgrade to Catalina.

The TV app is going to be the one that will allow users to experience Apple TV+ on their Mac. It will also act as the home for all your movies, shows, and premium channels. It even has a Watch Now tab which syncs your content viewing progress across devices. So, you can resume watching a show from the same spot where you paused it on our iPad.

The new Podcasts app will provide one with access to over 700K podcasts from different genres. With podcasts gaining popularity, this is a great new addition to macOS.

macOS Catalina Apple Music

#3 Screen Time

With Catalina, Apple is bringing Screen Time from iOS to macOS. It is the same app and offers the same functionality as its iOS version — keep tracking of the amount of time you spend inside apps, ability to set time limits on apps, and more.

Screen Time settings are synced across all devices so any limit you apply will be applicable for your usage across all Apple devices you own. Screen Time on macOS Catalina is gaining a useful new “One more minute” feature that will give users an extra minute when their time limit expires to save their work or game.

macOS Catalina Screen Time

#4 Project Catalyst

Despite Apple’s best efforts, the Mac App Store has failed to improve the overall quality and ecosystem of Mac apps. With Project Catalyst in macOS Catalina, Apple is looking to fix this for good. Using Project Catalyst, developers would be able to easily port their iPad apps to Mac.

This has the potential of bringing over a million iPad apps to the Mac. Some of the major iPad apps that would be coming to the Mac thanks to Project Catalyst include Jira Cloud, Twitter, and Asphalt 9.

#5 More Secure Gatekeeper

Apple focuses on improving the security of its OSes with every new update. macOS Catalina is no different in this regard. Gatekeeper in macOS Catalina now checks all apps for security issues and it also requires apps to get the required permission before user documents can be accessed.

Macs with T2 Security Chip also gain Activation Lock which will essentially render them useless if they are ever stolen or lost. Similar to iPhones and iPads running iOS 13, macOS Catalina also has the new Find My app feature in which it can securely and anonymously relay its location to the owner using other nearby Apple devices.

#6 Improved Photos App

The Photos app is again getting a massive upgrade as a part of macOS Catalina. It now features a dynamic look that shows your photos and memories. It is now also smart enough to automatically hide duplicate photos, only surface interesting photos, and more. Other changes include the ability to browse photos by days, months, and years, with the app automatically highlighting important events like birthdays, trips, and more.

macOS Catalina comes with a number of other new features including an improved Notes app, a redesigned Reminders app, updated Safari with Siri Suggestions, and more.

What are some of your favorite features in macOS Catalina? Drop a comment and let us know!