Any time Apple rolls out a new version of macOS, its customers have to determing when it's safe to upgrade. When—or even if—you update your Mac depends on several factors, including whether Apple has fixed any early bugs. Here's what you should consider before upgrading to macOS Catalina.
Fixes to macOS Catalina Since Launch
No software is perfect at launch, and it's not rare for people to wait until at least the first update for the developers to work out any initial bugs or glitches. Lingering issues with the initial release are the main reason you'd want to wait to upgrade. Catalina originally had a few issues that Apple has since addressed.
Each update may also have some unspecified "bug fixes and improvements" that Apple doesn't describe.App or ServiceIssueFixed inContactsApp opened to the previously active entry instead of All Contacts10.15.1MailPreferences window may not appear10.15.2 Can't recover deleted email using Undo command10.15.2MessagesRepeat alerts didn't go through10.15.1MusicNewly added songs and playlists in folders didn't display properly10.15.1 Issues when migrating old iTunes content to the new Music app (along with Podcasts and TV)10.15.1 Equalizer reset during playback10.15.2 Album artwork may not appear10.15.2NotesSlow performance when typing10.15.2PhotosMay not recognize AVI or mp3 files10.15.2 New folders may not appear in Albums view10.15.2 Sorted images in a folder may export in a different order10.15.2 Cropping feature may not work in Print Preview10.15.2RemindersItems appear out of order in Today view10.15.2TVDownloaded items may not appear in the Downloads folder10.15.1OtherPassword entry rejects some non-US characters10.15.1 Does not accept user password10.15.2 Incompatibility with video conferencing apps10.15.2 Non-admin users could not install apps10.15.2
Updates to macOS Catalina Since Launch
Other than enhanced stability and fixes, later iterations of macOS Catalina have also added features that add functionality. In some cases, Apple has restored functions that it had removed from the initial launch.
The ability to do more things with your Mac–especially as the OS becomes less prone to glitches–is another good reason to get on board.App or ServiceFeatureAdded InAirPodsSupport for AirPods Pro10.15.1HomeAbility to capture and securely store video from HomeKit-compatible cameras10.15.1 Support for HomeKit-enabled routers10.15.1 Support for AirPlay 2 speakers10.15.1KeyboardUpdated and new emoji10.15.1MusicRestored column view10.15.2NewsTwo-finger gesture to go back10.15.1 New layouts10.15.2PhotosRestores ability to view file names in All Photos10.15.1 Restores filter options10.15.1RemoteCan now control TV and Music apps with an iOS device10.15.2SiriNew privacy settings, including ability to delete history10.15.1
Make Sure Your Mac Can Run macOS Catalina
Mostly likely, if you upgraded to Mojave, your Mac can run Catalina. However, if your Mac is older, you might want to wait to run this OS until you update your hardware. For example, the oldest computers that support Catalina were made in 2012.
While all of these computers can install Catalina, they may have some hardware limitations that stop it from running at full efficiency. Elements like available RAM, graphics processors, and even hard drive size might lead to sluggish performance even though the computer technically meets the requirements.
If you aren't sure about whether your computer will run well after the upgrade, you should have a plan. If you use Time Machine to regularly back up your data, you can revert to your previous software version using an old backup you took before the upgrade. With some preparation beforehand, it's also possible to return to an earlier version of macOS.
Make the backup installer for the earlier version of macOS before you upgrade. Apple won't let you go back once you update the operating system.
Should You Upgrade to macOS Catalina?
Whether you decide you're ready to upgrade to macOS Catalina depends on several factors. At this point, Apple has worked out the major bugs that might have been present at the initial release. The company has also added and restored features that might make Catalina even more appealing.
From this standpoint, you're safe upgrading. But you should also consider your computer and whether it can meet Catalina's technical demands. If you aren't sure, it's a good idea to make a backup in case the new operating system slows down your computer and you need to revert.