Should Musicians & Producers Update To Mac OS X 10.15 Catalina?

Apple have just announced their new update – Catalina – is now available for Mac users. Catalina is the latest desktop operating system which is free for those with compatible hardware.

As ever with an update (and the fact that musicians and producers tech needs are never straightforward!) it’s worth weighing up if this update is suitable for your home productions and recording etc.

The temptation is always there to upgrade, but Catalina may not be all that producer-friendly, and so it might be worth holding off for at least a short while until any teething problems are resolved.

Plugins, Software & DAWs

The first ‘issue’ we have come across is the fact that the new system potentially will cause issues running 32-bit plug-ins.

Catalina will have a new software verification process and will not support 32-bit apps, meaning (at least initially) some of your plug-ins, perhaps even your DAW won’t run. 

We’ve had confirmation from Native Instruments and Ableton that they will not be Catalina compatible so if your workflow in any way relies on these it’s probably best to avoid this update for now.

Apple have confirmed that Logic (understandably) will run fine.

Goodbye, iTunes

Whilst not exclusive to just the Catalina update, the demise of iTunes may cause some problems for DJs as existing songs may not sync with current DJ’ing software due to the iTunes replacement not being XML compatible. 

Should I Upgrade To Catalina?

  • If you’re using your Mac solely for music production and recordings, we would suggest holding off on upgrading for now, at least until any creases are ‘ironed out’.

  • If you do want to upgrade, perhaps you are using your Mac for work or other none-production features then it’s worth checking that your plug-ins aren’t 32 bit first.

  • In order to find out, head to the Apple menu and click ‘About This Mac’, followed by ‘System Report’ and then scroll to ‘Applications’ which will show you which applications are 64 bit and therefore will run in Catalina.

  • If you do decide to go ahead, there will be a prompt before installation that bring up your 32 bit applications that you’ve recently used, giving you the chance to cancel the installation if necessary.