What You Should Do Before Upgrading To macOS Catalina….. And Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade Just Yet

Apple is expected to release their latest OS which is macOS Catalina sometime next week. Before we go on, here’s a list of what macOS Catalina will run on:

  • 12-inch MacBook
  • MacBook Air, 2012 and later
  • MacBook Pro, 2012 and later
  • Mac mini, 2012 and later
  • iMac, 2012 and later
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro, 2013 and later

If your Mac isn’t on this list, you’re out of luck. But assuming that it is, here’s some tips on what you might want to do before you pull that trigger and upgrade. And a couple reasons why you shouldn’t.

  1. Don’t Upgrade… At least not yet. Part I: macOS Catalina has a major new change to it. It only supports 64-bit apps. Which means apps that you might depend on won’t work because they are 32-bit and not 64-bit apps. That alone is a great reason to sit this one out. Or at least sit it out until your apps get updated. Which means you have to check to see if you have any 32-bit on hand. Here’s how you do it:
    1. Select About This Mac
    2. Select System Report
    3. In the left menu, scroll down to software and select Applications
    4. Click and drag the lower right corner of the screen to expand the window, so that the 64bit apps column appears.
    5. Click 64bit apps, to sort the apps. Anything that has a “NO” needs to be upgraded. Thus you should pester the app vendor for an 64-bit version (app vendors have been told that this was happening since 2017 so they should have been ready for this) or find an alternative.
  2. Don’t Upgrade… At least not yet. Part II: The other reason why you shouldn’t upgrade is that Apple’s initial releases tend to be buggy. But they get better after they release an update or two. So you may want to wait until at least the first update hits the streets before making the jump.
  3. If you Must Upgrade, Make A Backup: Needless to say, making a backup of your current setup is vital before upgrading. That way you have a way to go back to where you were if things don’t work out. There’s plenty of backup solutions out there from Apple’s own Time Machine to third party utilities such as Carbon Copy Cloner that can be used for this purpose.
  4. Upgrade Your Software BEFORE You Upgrade: You should ensure that all your application software is up to date before you pull the trigger on upgrading. Ditto for the current version of macOS that you’re using. That will reduce the risk that something might go sideways during the upgrade.
  5. Run Disk Utility BEFORE You Upgrade: The last thing I would do is boot of the Recovery Partition and run Disk Utility to verify the volume that you plan to install the upgrade on. It likely wouldn’t hurt to do a permission repair as well.

At this point you should be good to go. Key word being SHOULD. Upgrading an operating system isn’t a trivial process. But if you take these steps beforehand, you should reduce the risk of any issues. Or you can take my first suggestion which is to wait a bit. Then follow the rest of my advice.

3 Responses to “What You Should Do Before Upgrading To macOS Catalina….. And Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade Just Yet”

  1. Under Reason #1, there should be a step inserted between Step 2 and 3. The new step is: On the left side of System Report, scroll down to Software –> Applications.

  2. […] apps will not work at all. If you want to find out what apps are 64-bit or 32-bit on your Mac, this article will help with that. Most of the software that I own was already a 64-bit app. But my invoicing software which is […]

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