Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will be able to download the macOS Catalina beta through the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences, after installing the correct profile. Those who want to be part of Apple's beta testing program can register to participate through the beta testing site, which gives users access to iOS, macOS and tvOS beta.
Potential beta testers should make a full Time Backup before installing macOS Catalina and it may not be wise to install it on a primary machine because the beta can be unstable and often have many errors.
macOS Catalina eliminates the iTunes app, which has been an important Mac feature since 2001. In Catalina, iTunes has been replaced by music, podcasts and TV apps. The new apps can do everything iTunes can do, so Mac users won't lose any functionality, and device management features are now handled by the Finder app.
macOS Catalina has a new new Sidecar feature, designed to make the iPad a secondary display for Mac. It can act as a traditional second screen or with mirror function. Apple Pencil Support works with Sidecar so you can turn your iPad into a character tablet using apps like Photoshop.
For those with an Apple Watch configured to unlock the Mac, it is now an option to approve security requests in Catalina by pressing the side button on the watch. Macs with a T2 chip in them also support Activation Lock, making them useless for thieves like the iPhone.
There is a new Find My app that lets you track the lost devices, and previously this functionality was only available via iCloud on Mac. There is even a new option for finding your devices even when they are disconnected using Bluetooth connections to other nearby devices, which is especially useful on your Mac because it does not have a cellular connection.
Apple extends the screen time of Mac in Catalina, allowing Apple users to track device usage across Mac, iOS and iPad for a better overall picture of time spent with electronics.
For developers, a "Project Catalyst" feature allows apps designed for the iPad to be transferred to the Mac with just a few clicks of the Xcode and some minor adjustments. Apple's ultimate goal with Project Catalyst is to bring more apps to the Mac.
Photos has an updated interface that better highlights your best photos, Safari includes a new home page with Siri suggestions, Mail has a new email blocking feature and another new option to mute threads, and Reminders – the app is overhauled and is now more useful.
Before installing macOS Catalina please note that it does not support 32-bit apps, so some older apps that have not been updated in a while may stop work. For more information about macOS Catalina be sure to check out our macOS Catalina roundup.