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Monday, October 7, 2019

Apple launches MacOS Catalina, bringing new functions (and retiring iTunes)

Apple launches MacOS Catalina, bringing new functions (and retiring iTunes)

Apple has officially launched MacOS Catalina, the latest version of its Mac operating system. Catalina can be downloaded now by anyone with a compatible Mac.

Catalina brings a number of changes to MacOS, some large, some small. One of the most notable is that the iTunes app has been retired, to be replaced by three separate new apps: Music, Podcasts and TV. Syncing your devices to your Mac is now done through Finder.

Elsewhere, Sidecar allows you to use an iPad as a second screen for your Mac or as a drawing tablet, and can even run with a virtual on-screen Touch Bar. The Screen Time app has migrated from iOS to the Mac, Notes, Photos and Reminders have been refreshed, and you can now have Dark Mode trigger automatically based on the time of day.

Along with the above, Catalina includes Apple Arcade, a new games subscription service from Apple. This gives you access to over 100 exclusive games for a $4.99 monthly fee. There are no ads, pop-ups, or in-app purchases, and you can play on any of your Apple devices and share the subscription with up to six family members. We felt it was great value for money when we tried it out.

Today’s launch date is later than other MacOS releases in recent years. Mojave launched on September 24, 2018, while High Sierra got the green light on September 25, 2017. You have to go back to 2014 and MacOS Yosemite to find the latest October launch for a major MacOS version.

Still, better late than never, and Apple will be hoping the prolonged beta period will have allowed it enough time to eliminate any major bugs in the operating system. MacOS Catalina has been in beta since it was announced at WWDC in June 2019, allowing developers to test the software and report any problems to Apple.

Wondering whether you should download MacOS Catalina? We’ve taken it for a spin and tested out all the major changes to give you a clearer picture of what it’s like. Downloading it is a simple process, too — here’s how it’s done.

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