How to upgrade to macOS Catalina.
Learn how to download and install macOS Catalina, the latest version of the Mac operating system.
macOS Catalina gives you more of everything you love about Mac. Experience music, TV, and podcasts in three all-new Mac apps. Enjoy your favorite iPad apps now on your Mac. Extend your workspace and expand your creativity with iPad and Apple Pencil. And discover smart new features in the apps you use every day. Now you can take everything you do above and beyond.
If you're using one of these computers with OS X Mavericks or later,* you can install macOS Catalina. Your Mac also needs at least 4GB of memory and 12.5GB of available storage space, or up to 18.5GB of storage space when upgrading from OS X Yosemite or earlier.
MacBook introduced in 2015 or later MacBook Air introduced in 2012 or later MacBook Pro introduced in 2012 or later Mac mini introduced in 2012 or later iMac introduced in 2012 or later iMac Pro (all models) Mac Pro introduced in 2013 or later.
* To upgrade from Lion or Mountain Lion, first upgrade to El Capitan, then upgrade to Catalina. To find your macOS version, Mac model, memory, and storage space, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu . If your Mac isn't compatible with macOS Catalina, the installer will let you know. View the complete list of compatible computers.
Make a backup.
Before installing any upgrade, it’s a good idea to back up your Mac. Time Machine makes it simple, and other backup methods are also available. Learn how to back up your Mac.
It takes time to download and install macOS, so make sure that you have a reliable Internet connection. If you're using a Mac notebook computer, plug it into AC power.
Download macOS Catalina.
If you're using macOS Mojave, get macOS Catalina via Software Update: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Software Update.
Or use this link to open the macOS Catalina page on the App Store: Get macOS Catalina. Then click the Get button or iCloud download icon.
After downloading, the installer opens automatically.
Click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions. You might find it easiest to begin installation in the evening so that it can complete overnight, if needed.
If the installer asks for permission to install a helper tool, enter the administrator name and password that you use to log in to your Mac, then click Add Helper.
Allow installation to complete.
Please allow installation to complete without putting your Mac to sleep or closing its lid. Your Mac might restart, show a progress bar, or show a blank screen several times as it installs both macOS and related updates to your Mac firmware.
Stay up to date.
After installing macOS Catalina, you will be notified when updates to macOS Catalina are available. You can also use Software Update to check for updates: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Software Update.
Or get macOS Catalina automatically.
If you're using OS X El Capitan v10.11.5 or later and your App Store preferences or Software Update preferences are set to download new updates when available, macOS Catalina will download conveniently in the background, making it even easier to upgrade. A notification will inform you when macOS Catalina is ready to be installed. Click Install to get started, or dismiss the notification to install later. When you're ready to install, download but not install catalina just open the file named Install macOS Catalina from your Applications folder.
macOS Catalina problems: how to fix the most common issues.
By Matt Hanson 06 November 2019.
All of your macOS Catalina issues solved.
As it is still in its early days, a number macOS Catalina problems and issues have arisen. This isn’t surprising, as this is always the case with newly-released operating systems. However, that doesn’t mean that we should just ignore them, and hope that Apple will release updates sooner rather than later.
From installation issues to hardware and software that doesn’t work as it should, we have a range of fixes that should address many of the macOS 10.15 Catalina problems people are encountering.
However, what happens if you encounter a macOS download but not install catalina Catalina problem that we haven’t covered? In that case, follow and tweet the details to us and we’ll do what we can to find a solution. And, if you haven't installed the macOS yet, make sure you visit our how to download and install macOS Catalina guide for the step-by-step process of getting the new software on your Mac or MacBook.
The macOS 10.15 failing to download is one of the most common macOS Catalina problems people encounter. (Image credit: Shutterstock)
How to fix macOS Catalina download problems.
One common macOS Catalina problem that people have encountered is that macOS 10.15 fails to download, with some users seeing an error message that says “macOS Catalina download has failed."
Others, on the other hand, are seeing "The network connection was lost" error messages when they try to download macOS Catalina.
In addition, a few get the error message: “Installation of macOS could not continue. Installation requires downloading important content. That content can’t be downloaded at this time. Try again later.”
There are a few reasons why you may encounter this issue. It may be because a lot of people are trying to download macOS Catalina at the same time. If you think this is the case, try again later on a non-peak time to see if the download works then. You can also check the live status of the Apple Server to make sure everything is alright on Apple's end.
Another reason could be that you simply do not have enough space on your computer. Typically, a macOS download fails if you do not have enough storage space available on your Mac.
To make sure you do, open up the Apple menu and click on 'About This Mac.' Select 'Storage' then check to make sure you have enough space on your hard drive. You need at least 15GB free. If you're running low, open up the Apple menu, click 'About this Mac' then go to Storage > Manage and free up some disk space there.
It may also be worth switching from a Wi-Fi connection to an Ethernet cable, to ensure your internet connection is as reliable as possible.
If you’re still having problems downloading macOS Catalina, try to download but not install catalina find the partially-downloaded macOS 10.15 files and a file named ‘Install macOS 10.15’ on your hard drive. Delete them, then reboot your Mac and try to download macOS Catalina again.
And, if that doesn’t work, try opening the App Store and clicking ‘View My Account’ to see if there is anything in the ‘Unfinished Downloads’ section. You may be able to restart the download from there.
Finally, try logging out of the Store to see if that restarts the download.
How to fix "gateway timed out" error when downloading macOS Catalina.
In addition, there’s been a lot of complaints regarding the download stopping at around 511.5MB when downloading and installing macOS Catalina, and the system throwing up a "gateway timed out" or "bad gateway" error.
If you are having this issue, try starting your Mac in Safe Mode (hold down Shift on the keyboard while it boots), then try downloading and installing macOS Catalina again.
There are several possible reasons why the macOS is having issues installing. (Image credit: Shutterstock/Apple)
How to fix macOS Catalina install problems.
If your macOS Catalina problem is in installing the operating system, first make sure you check out our how to download and install macOS Catalina guide, which will take you through the steps you need to take to safely install the new operating system.
First of all, you'll want to make sure you have a Mac that can run macOS Catalina. The following Macs are compatible:
12-inch MacBook (2015 and later) MacBook Air (2012 and later) MacBook Pro (2012 and later) Mac mini (2012 and later) iMac (2012 and later) iMac Pro (2017) Mac Pro (2013 and later)
When you have a compatible Mac and the macOS Catalina download completes, but there’s no prompt for the installation to continue, then search in your Mac’s application folder for a file called 'Install macOS 10.15'. Double-clicking the file should begin installation.
If you encounter the macOS Catalina problem where the installation fails due to low disk space, simply restart your Mac and press Control + R while it’s booting to enter the Recovery mode. Select ‘Disk boot’ to boot normally, then remove unnecessary files to make space.
macOS Catalina is stuck on 'Setting Up Your Mac'
We've had download but not install catalina readers contact us saying that after installing macOS Catalina, their Macs show the 'Setting Up Your Mac' message, but nothing else happens.
If this is the case, you'll need to force a reboot of your Mac or MacBook. Don't worry, the 'Setting Up Your Mac' message means the update is finished, so you won't lose any data or damage anything by restarting your Mac.
To do so, press and hold down the power button for a few seconds until the Mac or MacBook turns off. Wait a few more seconds, then turn it back on. Your Mac or MacBook should now boot into macOS Catalina successfully.
macOS Catalina problems during installation isn't as rare as you think, and there are a few ways to fix the issue.
If you’re struggling to free up disk space, look out for hidden Time Machine files that may be taking up large amounts of space.
Once you have freed up enough space, retry the installation.
If macOS Catalina encounters a problem at the end of installation, and then shows an error message, restart your Mac and press Command + Option + R on your keyboard while the Mac boots to start up the recovery system over the Internet. You can also try Shift + Option + Command + R.
If your Mac continues to fail to boot, follow Apple’s instructions on creating an external Mac startup disk.
It may be worth restarting your Mac in Safe Mode, then trying to install macOS 10.15 Catalina from there to fix the problem.
How to fix macOS Catalina login problems.
If you're having trouble logging into your Mac or MacBook after installing macOS Catalina, or you're stuck in a loop where you log in, then get logged out again, the following steps might help.
First, restart your Mac and hold down the Command + S keys on your keyboard as it boots up.
This will boot you into a command prompt. Now, enter in the following:
Press Enter on download but not install catalina your keyboard. Then enter in the following:
This removes a file, which makes it appear like you're starting Catalina up for the first time. Don't worry, nothing important is getting deleted. Press Enter, then restart your Mac.
You will then be asked to create a new admin user account.
How to fix macOS Catalina email problems.
Some readers have got in contact to let us know that they are experiencing problems with the Mail app in macOS Catalina. If you use Mail to read and send emails, and it's not working correctly after installing macOS Catalina, read on to find out how you can fix the most common issues.
If Mail keeps crashing while you use it, open up Finder and then click on 'Go' from the top menu and select 'Go to Folder'.
Scroll down and find 'com.apple.mail.savedState' and then move it to Trash.
Next, go back to the 'Go to Folder' window and type in:
Find com.apple.mail and com.apple.MailServiceAgent and move them, either to Trash or somewhere temporary (like your desktop).
Find Envelope Index, Envelope Index-shm and Envelope Index-wal to Trash. Empty Trash, then restart your Mac and see if that works.
macOS Catalina breaks search in Mail - here's how to fix it.
There are reports that the search function no longer works in the Mail app after installing macOS Catalina.
The first thing to try, if you encounter this problem, is first close Mail completely. Then hold Shift and click on the Mail icon to open it in Safe Mode. Then, close Mail again, then hold Shift and open Mail again.
Finally, close Mail yet again, then reboot your Mac. Open Mail normally, and search should work again.
If that doesn't work, and you're using a Gmail account, that could be the issue.
Go to System Preferences > Internet Accounts and turn off Gmail. Reboot the Mac and load up Mail to see if search works.
If it does, you can then go back to System Preferences and add your Gmail account again.
Is macOS Catalina running slowly? Here's how to fix it.
Once macOS Catalina is installed on your Mac or MacBook, you may notice that your device is running slower than before.
If macOS Catalina also showed a notification that said "Optimizing Your Mac: Performance and battery life may be affected until completed," then this is normal, as macOS Catalina is doing things behind the scenes which can initially impact performance.
After a day or so, your Mac should be running just as well (if not better) as before. If you don't see an improvement by then, try restarting your Mac or MacBook.
Another thing to check is to make sure that all of your apps and software are updated to the latest version. If any of them have issues with Catalina, that could be slowing down your machine.
You can also open up the Apple menu and select 'System Preferences'. From the window that appears, click 'Users & Groups'. Select 'Login Items' and then select the apps you want to stop opening at startup and click the small minus sign below the list.
It's also worth making sure all of your apps are updated. Check the App Store for any available updates, or the app's website.
You can also try restarting your Mac to see if that helps. If it doesn't, force-quit any apps that appear to be taking up a lot of RAM. You can identify these by using Activity Monitor (in /Applications/Utilities) to establish what apps and processes are using up the most CPU or RAM. Its CPU tab lists active processes, with a real-time view of what's going on.
To force-quit an item, click it in the Activity Monitor list, click the X at the left of the toolbar, then confirm you want to force-quit.
Also delete the cache. Open the Finder window, select 'Go' from the top menu and select 'Go to Folder'.
In the text box that appears, type /Library/Caches .
Remove the data from inside every folder. Now repeat the process with /Library/Caches (without the symbol). Running the Repair Disk tool from within Disk Utility may also help, and for more solutions