Release of macOS Catalina.  

Apple has released the latest version of macOS, Catalina (also known as version 10.15), globally overnight. Available immediately for any Mac that supports it, this latest update to Apple’s desktop operating system brings a raft of new features that have been widely anticipated since its announcement at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier in 2019. 


Depending on your current version of macOS, the 10.15 upgrade is accessible either via the Software Update pane in System Preferences for those users running Mojave (10.14), or for users still on High Sierra (10.13) or earlier, the upgrade is available in the Mac App Store. The Catalina installer packages weigh in at over 8GB and depending on the performance of your Mac, will take approximately one hour to complete installation.  


Catalina introduces a range of usability, performance and security improvements to macOS, with Sidecar and Activation Lock being two that are arriving with significant attention from Apple users. Firstly, Sidecar enables users with an iPad device to configure their iPad as a secondary or auxiliary screen for their Mac desktop, which is an standout capability for power users demanding more screen real estate, or those that would benefit from using their iPad to demo products or present tailored information to their clients on a second mobile screen. Note however that Sidecar is only supported on iPad models newer than iPad Air 2.  


The team at Cloud Armour have road-tested Sidecar in recent weeks and our opinion is that this is a brilliant feature for salespeople, project managers or designers in verticals such as Real Estate or Construction, Design & Architecture, as it provides an ability to deliver specific visual content to your clients. Additionally, using Sidecar you may now utilise your iPad and Apple Pencil as a Wacom-style pen tablet, which may prove invaluable for designers and artists that do not already own a dedicated pen tablet or digitiser unit.  


Given Cloud Armour’s continued focus on improving the security posture for ourselves and that of our clients, Apple’s introduction of the Activation Lock feature to macOS is of significance. Previously only available in iOS on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, Activation Lock is now accessible on recent Apple devices that include the Apple T2 Security Chip, such as the 2018 release models of MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac mini, as well as the iMac Pro. When installed on these devices, Catalina introduces greater security and control over the device, such that if you were to ever lose or misplace your Mac, you can rest assured that the only person that would be able to format or reactivate the device, is you. We should note here that for those that have one of these more recent Mac models, Cloud Armour recommends to utilise the hardware-accelerated encrypted storage via the 256-bit keys stored within the T2 chip in conjunction with Apple’s File Vault feature, ensuring that any sensitive data stored on your Mac is more secure than ever before. If going down this route, always ensure to have full backups of your device – preferably through Time Machine – as if the T2 chip were to fail your data may be completely inaccessible. 


Aside from these two features, Apple has introduced several other improvements of note, including enhanced Accessibility functions (think complete Voice Activated control of your Mac!), updated Music, Apple TV, Podcasts and Photos apps, as well as newer versions of Apple Mail, Safari, Reminders & Notes. For dedicated Apple users, Catalina represents a significant step forward in terms of usability and functionality, and although we wouldn’t recommend anyone in a business environment to upgrade to the latest version immediately, once Apple has released the first minor patch (i.e. 10.15.1) it would be a good time to get the download going! Just be pre-warned – if you still run any 32-bit applications on your Mac, Catalina no longer supports these older apps so be sure to check if you’re running any critical or Line-of-Business software that are still 32-bit native. 


As always, please reach out to the team at Cloud Armour on 1300 887 811 or if you have any questions regarding macOS Catalina, or if you’d like to schedule an engineer to complete the upgrade for you.