Apple officially releases the macOS Catalina today, four days after the highly popular October 4 rumoured dateas a free software update for Macs introduced mid-2012 or later. 

The sixteenth major release of macOS marks the end of iTunes and the beginning of major features that were previously available only on iOS devices.

What’s New in macOS Catalina

To start off, Apple decided to make separate apps for all the services that were once housed in iTunes and made them all available on Mac and iOS platforms.

Music – The Apple Music app is where you can find all of your music, access your entire music library across all of your devices, and stream and download music if you are subscribed to Apple Music. 

Podcasts – This is the new app for all podcasts.

TV – The Apple TV is the new app for all your movies, TV shows and home videos, including those puchased from iTunes. You can also use it to browse, buy and rent movies and TV shows, and subscribe to the channels that you want to watch including those that will be included in the upcoming Apple TV+ subscription service.

Notes – The Notes app also receives major updates such as the Gallery View that provides a visual thumbnails of your notes, view-only collaboration, new checklist option, shared folders and a more powerful search that recognizes objects or scenes within the images and of course, texts added to Notes.

Photos – The Photos app receives a major overhaul and now features a better way of showcasing your photos and memories. Just lik its iOS counterpart, you can now organize your photos by day, month and year. The photo previews are now larger and Live Photos and videos will now auto-play by default. You can turn it off by going to Photo Preferences.

Books – The Apple Books is the new app for all books and audiobooks. Users can purchase from the Book Store and Audiobook Store respectively.

Mail – It is now easier to block sender, mute thread and unsuscribe to mail lists in the new Mail app. There’s also an updated classic layout to arrange the mail viewer in a column layout.

Reminders – The Reminders app now has an all-new design same as the one found on iOS devices. It features an enhanced Siri intelligence, support for tasks and grouped lists,  list appearance customization, attachments smart lists, messages integration and new edit buttons to quickly add dates, times, locations, or flags to reminders without having to go to another view.

Screen Time – This is another app that made its jump from iOS and lets users see their usage reports, set App Limits, manage contact list for children and configure Screen Time settings for other members of your family. Features that are important for parents.

Sidecar – This feature lets users use their iPad as a second display either by using a cable or wirelessly within 10 meters. You can also mirror the screen on your Mac to the iPad to display the same contents on both devices. iPad gestures are supported as well as the use of Apple Pencil. The best thing about it is developers don’t need to do anything as it just works.

Continuity Markup and Sketch – You can now write and sketch on PDFs or mark up your documents with Apple Pencil and see it live on you Mac. Sketches using the Apple Pensil can be inserted easily to any documents in Mac.

Find My – Apple has combined Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps into one app. The Find My helps users locate the people and devices that are important to them. 

Apple has also added additional security features such as enhanced gatekeeper to ensure all apps that you will or had installed from the App Store or any other sources are checked by Apple the first time and periodically thereafter for any security issues. The activation lock found on iPhone and iPad now comes as part of the OS for all Mac models with the Apple T2 Security Chip. This means only you can erase and reactivate your Mac if ever it gets lost or unfortunately stolen.

There are also a ton of accessibility features to help disabled people use Apple’s technology more easily. Something Apple is well-known for.

You can find a whole lot more list of additional features included with macOS Catalina here. Be sure to let us know your favorites in the comments below.

To update, go to Software Update in System Preferences.

Image credit: Apple