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Can Your Mac Run Catalina? macOS Catalina System Requirements

Posted by Jim Tanous on June 7, 2019
macos catalina system requirements

This week at its annual WWDC conference, Apple unveiled the next major version of its desktop operation system. macOS Catalina (technically macOS 10.15) introduces a number of new features and refinements. Catalina will ship for free on all new Macs when it launches later this year, but will your older Mac be able to run it?

Here’s a look at macOS Catalina system requirements and new features.

macOS Catalina New Features

There are hundreds of new features and changes in macOS Catalina, but major features include:

macos catalina system requirements sidecar

  • Dedicated Music, TV, and Podcast Apps: Apple is finally killing off the do-everything iTunes (in macOS at least) and is replacing it with dedicated apps for Music, TV, and Podcasts. Users can enjoy these different types of content in their own standalone apps, while iOS device syncing will now be handled via Finder.
  • Smarter Photo Browsing: The Photos app in macOS (and iOS, too) is getting smarter with new automatically generated views of moments by days, months, and years. The app can also recognize your contacts and display albums of special moments such as birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Collaborative Notes: The macOS Notes app is gaining new features such as a visual gallery view for quickly browsing and finding specific notes, shared folders to collaborate on notes with other users, and better task management for managing checklist items.
  • Using iPad as a Mac Display: Even though this feature has been available via third party apps for years, Apple is introducing a feature called Sidecar that lets you use your iPad as a second display for your Mac. It won’t work on some older Mac models, but for those with newer devices you can now have a second display or drawing tablet anywhere you go.
  • Screen Time for Mac: Last year, Apple introduced Screen Time for iOS, letting users monitor their device and app usage and set limits for minors. Now Screen Time is coming to the Mac with the same usage tracking and limitation features.
  • Accessibility Features: Apple is introducing even more accessibility features in macOS Catalina, including revamped voice control, the ability to zoom selected areas of the screen on a second display, and a dedicated window for enlarging selected text when you hover you cursor over it.

macOS Catalina System Requirements

The good news is that Apple has a relatively broad list of supported Macs for Catalina, even if it is slightly reduced from last year’s Mojave. To run macOS Catalina, you’ll need a Mac meeting the following requirements or better:

  • MacBook (early 2015 or later)
  • MacBook Air (mid 2012 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (mid 2012 or later)
  • Mac mini (late 2012 or later)
  • iMac (late 2012 or later)
  • iMac Pro (all models)
  • Mac Pro (late 2013 or later)

macos catalina system requirements macbook pro

macOS Catalina will be a free update available from the Mac App Store this fall. If you don’t have a compatible Mac, you may still be able to run Catalina unofficially. For the past several macOS updates, third party utilities have allowed owners of certain older unsupported Macs to install the latest macOS version. Some features won’t work as expected, and of course there’s no support from Apple if you go this route, but check out this utilities as we near Catalina’s public release if you’re interested.

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