Prepare your Mac for macOS Catalina: Check macOS Catalina System Requirements

4 min read

WWDC announcements from June 2019 shook up the Apple community, again. From a brand-new Mac Pro and iTunes transformation to the first peek at macOS 10.15.

As usual, Apple talked about the new operating system coming to your Mac this fall. macOS 10.15 was named after Catalina island in California. The perks it boasts include the Sidecar feature for expanding your workspace, natively porting iOS apps to macOS, Photos updates, and more. The beta version is already available for the members of Apple Developer Program. So if you can’t wait to give Catalina a test drive, go ahead and install macOS 10.15 beta.

Once you’re ready for adopting the all-new macOS, ask your Mac whether it’s ready as well. Here’s a short guide on how to prepare your Mac for a ride. Compatibility goes first: does your Mac support macOS 10.15?

macOS Catalina System Requirements

With the only exception of some older Mac Pro versions, the system requirements for macOS Catalina are pretty similar to what we’ve had with Mojave. So, before installing Catalina you should check is your Mac compatible with newer macOS version first.

Here’s a full list of macOS Catalina supported Macs:

  • MacBook Air (2012 or newer)

  • MacBook (2015 or newer)

  • MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)

  • Mac Pro (2013 or newer)

  • Mac mini (2012 or newer)

  • iMac (2012 or newer)

  • iMac Pro (all models)

Ensure your Mac apps are prepared for Catalina

Starting January 2018, only 64-bit apps have been allowed to the App Store. That’s because in the new macOS, you’ll have to say goodbye to 32-bit applications—for good. At the WWDC 2018 event, Apple mentioned Mojave would be the last macOS with a support for 32-bit architecture. And they kept the promise.

So if you still keep 32-bit software on your Mac, make sure you get rid of it before upgrading to Catalina. An easy way to do it would be with CleanMyMac X via its dedicated module for filtering by 32-bit apps in Uninstaller:

cleanmymacx scan for 32-bit applications

There’s also a manual way to scan your Mac for 32-bit applications. Go to the Apple menu > About This Mac and click on System report. In the report, navigate to Software tab and select Applications. You’ll see a complete list of all apps installed on your Mac, along with their characteristics. What you’re looking for is a separate column indicating the app has 64-bit architecture:

manually scan mac for 32-bit applications

Other than that, check out whether the apps you use are ready for an upgrade. In most cases, app developers announce support for the new macOS on their websites and social media.

Entering Catalina mode

Just as you get your house ready for the New Year, ensure your Mac is ready for the new macOS—clean and secure.

Clean up your Mac

A cluttered computer is not the best soil for Catalina. Even though macOS doesn’t take up much space on Mac, it still requires some. Besides, upgrading is a nice chance to deal with long-forgotten files, duplicates, and apps you no longer use.

Start by checking your storage. It’s a few clicks away: Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage. From there, you can access a few options for cleaning your computer and optimizing storage.

mac checking your storage

If manual cleanup feels like a time suck for you (which it is), CleanMyMac X will add automation to the process. Scan your Mac for malware, system junk, attachments and any other unneeded items. In a minute, the clutter is gone.

scan you Mac with CleanMyMac X

Back up your data before upgrade

Another important thing is securing your data. Before you go for any macOS updates, ensure you’ve backed up your Mac so that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. There are many scenarios for protection your files and folders, the most obvious of which is Apple’s Time Machine:

  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Time Machine.

  2. Click on Select Backup Disc and choose the disc from among available options.

  3. Check the box for “Back up automatically.”

In case you want to exclude some items from Time Machine backups, navigate to Options in the bottom right corner. Click on the plus button and check files or folders you want to exclude.

The only reason to use Time Machine is you don’t have to install any third-party software. If you would, though, we recommend to go with a more professional tool like Get Backup Pro. Not only does it solve the problem of bootable backups, it’s also a perfect solution for scheduling and compressing your backups.

get backup pro app

Choose the right way to switch to Catalina

Now you’re all set for Catalina and its superpowers. You can either wait for the official release of macOS 10.15 in September, or test Sidecar, Screen Time, and other new features via the developer beta. One way or another, here are possible scenarios on how to upgrade:

Get Catalina developer beta

Using your Apple developer account, you can download the beta without waiting for the release:

  1. Access and click Account in the top menu bar.

  2. Sign in with your account credentials.

  3. Select Downloads > Install Profile.

  4. Find and click on the installer in your Downloads folder.

  5. Open the PKG file and agree to the installation.

  6. If required, verify the account by entering your system password or with Touch ID.

  7. Find the update in System Preferences.

  8. Click Upgrade Now to install the beta.

Install Catalina on a partition

If you want to run Catalina beta alongside your current macOS, there’s an option to split your hard drive into two systems and install the beta on a partition:

  1. Access Applications via Finder.

  2. Click on Utilities > Disk Utility.

  3. Select your disk—first on the list.

  4. Go to the Partition tab and click the plus button to split your disk.

  5. Name your partition and customize the size if needed.

  6. Click Apply.

install Catalina on a partition

To switch between partitions, access System Preferences from your current macOS and select Startup Disk. Unlock to make changes, select your partition, and restart.

Install macOS Catalina once it’s released

Once Apple makes it official, it takes you a few simple steps to install macOS 10.15. Access Mac App Store and check out Updates in the top menu. If you see macOS Catalina under Software Update, click on Update Now and wait for it. The new macOS will be installed automatically and followed by a Mac restart.

Catalina will definitely strengthen your Mac with software like Find My and Sidecar. And so will numerous app updates. Setapp can help you expand the power even more with the latest versions of handpicked Mac apps. And you won’t have to wait until the fall.

240+ apps for $9.99
per month

Sign up to Setapp and try them for free.