Step away from the upgrade button.
Apple’s Mac operating system is continuing its tour of California, this time heading offshore to Catalina Island. As with every major update, macOS Catalina has its upsides and its downsides, and comes loaded with a number of exciting new features. But is it wise to upgrade to Catalina for business use? If you’re a company that relies on macOS, you need to read this article first.
New Features of Catalina
Catalina is a pretty big change to the Mac identity, and one likely to be welcome to many users. While a number of features mean big change for everyday use — for example iTunes has been nuked and replaced with separate Music, TV, and Podcast apps to bring it in line with iOS — but we want to focus on the business side of things. So here’s what’s new for you:
Sidecar Turns Your iPad Into a Second Screen
One of the biggest new features of Catalina turns your trusty iPad into a secondary monitor. Mac owners (2015 or later) can connect with AirPlay to an iPad, choosing whether to expand their screen for a dual monitor setup, or to mirror it. For creatives, it’s the mirroring that makes Sidecar particularly alluring: you can use it like a Wacom, drawing on the screen like you would your standalone iPad. While the new gestures Apple has rolled out for iOS do work in Sidecar, you really need an Apple Pencil to get the most out of the feature. This makes sense; the macOS UI was designed for a cursor, but it is still a bit inconvenient. Sidecar is sure to be popular with business users looking for a dual screen on the go, and we’re excited to see where Apple goes with this new feature.
Track Screen Time Across All Your Devices
It’s so easy to become a workaholic these days. While Screen Time has been a boon for anyone wanting to track (and limit) their tech use, it is also ideal for employees striving to find more of a work-life balance. With screen time you can pay attention to how much time you’re spending in productivity apps — including outside of regular work hours — so that you can be the change you want to see (in yourself).
Reminders Has Been Rebuilt
For people who love staying organized, this one’s for your. Reminders has been completely rebuilt, featuring a redesigned user interface, new edit buttons, enhanced Siri intelligence, the ability to add attachments (photos, docs, etc.), tasks and grouped lists, smart lists, customize list appearance, and Messages integration.
Mute Your Mail (And Block Senders)
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a huge project, with no time for distraction, and suddenly found your computer lit up with email notifications? Hoo boy, is it annoying. Though it’s a small feature comparatively, Apple has now given users the ability to mute those overactive email threads so that you can go back to working in peace. Also new: the ability block senders!
Will these updates affect my business?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is: yes, and it’s a massive headache in the making. One of the biggest reasons businesses (or anyone) should hold off on upgrading to Catalina is that Apple has officially removed all 32-bit application support — a move it’s been wanting to make for a decade. Instead, it will only support 64-bit applications. And pretty much no one is happy about that. The last thing you want is to upgrade your operating system, only to find out on the other side that your most vital applications don’t work, right? Well that’s exactly what is happening.
For Mac users who are reliant on legacy software or older hardware as a part of their workflow, it feels like a door has just been slammed in their faces. Businesses especially run the risk of significant compatibility issues, particularly if they’ve been using a previous software build. (Updates aren’t always a good thing, and we can think of several programs that we prefer previous builds of).
The only possible solution is to see if the program in question has a 64-bit version by checking with the manufacturer first. Unfortunately, a huge number of users are finding out there aren’t. Developing 64-bit apps is expensive, and many indie developers simply cannot afford it. But even developers who have been staying on top of updates are noting tons of issues with their software, including Adobe! For users of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, and others, it kind of feels like the sky is falling.
If you are thinking of upgrading to Catalina for personal use, that’s one thing. Disruption of 32-bit app workflows might be frustrating, but likely will not affect your livelihood. But if you’re a business, or routinely use your Mac to do your job, upgrading to Catalina right now is a gamble we don’t recommend makin before consulting with your IT team first.
Even though Catalina is a big step up from its predecessors, and comes with a number of new and interesting features, businesses should proceed with extreme caution.
Contact JNT TEK for advice on upgrading your Apple Operating System.