DAW And Audio App Owners – Beware macOS Catalina

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You’ve probably heard of the latest Mac operating system update that’s just been released called Catalina (OS 10.15). There are a lot of great features like the ability to use an iPad as a second screen, new entertainment apps, and much increased privacy and protection, that will make it a viable update for everyone at some point. AT SOME POINT. If you depend upon your DAW or any audio apps for your business or songwriting, that point is not now.

One of the main reasons why is that Catalina is a 64 bit operating system and any of your apps that are 32 bit will not run. In fact, there are enough differences that even your 64 bit-ready audio apps probably won’t run either, which is why over 40 audio software developers have warned not to upgrade just yet. These include just about every major DAW developer on the market as well as most major plugin developers (see the list here on this very helpful page from Pro Tools Expert).

The rule here is to stay on your current operating system until further notice, especially if everything is working well.

In fact, the general feeling is to stay with your current OS until the updated 15.1 or even 15.2 come out so you can be relieved of any of the bugs associated with a brand new OS.

Kill Auto-Update

In order to ensure that your system doesn’t automatically update in the background without you realizing it, turn off auto-update.

Simply go into “System Preferences” -> “App Store.”

You’ll see a checkbox that says “Automatically check for updates.” If you have this checked, your Mac will automatically check to see if any app or operating system updates are available in the Mac App Store, so make sure it’s unchecked.

Check Your Apps

The next thing is to check to see what apps that you use are still 32 bit and will need to be updated to eventually be used with Catalina.

  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.” (Sort this column to make finding 32 bit apps easier).

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

From all reports, this is not an easy update even when you’re ready for it, taking about an hour with a lot of confusing checkboxes and “Unsupported” apps and plugins alerts.

Do yourself a favor and stay away until sometime after the 1st of the year to be safe.


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