macOS Catalina Update: Wait Until You’re Sure

macOS Catalina Update: Wait Until You're Sure

macOS Catalina is now available for most Mac owners. Do not rush. Actually, let me be a bit more forceful — Wait. Stop. Don’t.

32-Bit Apps Do Not Work in macOS Catalina

Before you upgrade your Mac to macOS Catalina be sure the 32-bit apps you use for work have not been left behind by the new OS.

What Kind of Applications Are Likely to Break?

You are going to have a bunch of 32-Bit printer drivers, scanner drivers, 3rd-party pdf converters (not Adobe), automatic supply ordering apps (for printers), graphic arts programs (not Adobe), music programs, and drivers for interfaces (Midi, cameras, stuff you connect to your computer that you use everyday). Most will have new 64-Bit replacements, many will not.

Before You Upgrade

Before you upgrade you MUST check to be sure that you are not running 32-Bit applications that are important to you. It’s easy:

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner.
  2. Choose “About This Mac.”
  3. Click “System Report.” (Lower left-hand button on the “Overview” tab)
  4. Click “Software > Applications.”
  5. A list of the applications will appear.

Look in the column titled 64-Bit and make sure it says yes. (you can sort by this column to make your life a bit easier)

If the word “Yes” appears in the column, you’re good. If the word “No” appears in the column, go check the developers website and find out if they have or are planning to release a 64-Bit version of their software.

Quick Tip: Look in the “Obtained from” column to see if the developer is an “Identified Developer” or is “Unknown.” If the developer is identified, there is a very good chance that your app will be available in (or soon upgraded to) 64-Bit. If it says, Unknown, visit the developers site and be sure that a 64-Bit version is available or on the way. If it is not — do not upgrade. 32-Bit programs are NOT SUPPORTED in macOS Catalina.

Other Known Issues

Be sure that the transition from iTunes to Apple Music is not going to break connections to programs and apps that are using “Share iTunes Library XML with other applications.” (Apple says you can manually export your iTunes XML files from Apple Music. I tried. No joy!)

And lastly, depending upon the complexity of your application/app world, you may need the better part of an hour to deal with dialog boxes asking your approval for access to certain apps.

The transition from 10.14 to 10.15 is a giant PITA. It is filled with gotyas and software incompatibility issues.

Expert Tip: Turn off auto-update mode for about six months. There are some important security patches and upgrades you will want to immediately install. But… this is a time of serious transition and, if you’re not careful, things are going to break.


Take the Survey

If the survey is not visible, click here.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

Other Essays That May Interest You

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



PreviousA Crushing Defeat for Net Neutrality NextCybersecurity Awareness Month

Get Briefed Every Day!

Subscribe to my daily newsletter featuring current events and the top stories in technology, media, and marketing.