Don’t upgrade to Catalina Just Yet

We know you want to play with the new features, but Catalina is not something you should install right away. Apple changed the operating system in some fundamental ways that could break your essential apps or workflows.

32-bit apps don’t run anymore: To identify which 32-bit apps—and portions of apps—won’t work in Catalina, download and run the free Go64 utility from St. Clair Software. If you rely on any of the software it calls out, you’ll need to update or find an alternative.

Newly installed apps must be notarized by Apple: Notarization is a process Apple uses to verify that an app distributed outside the Mac App Store is free of malware. It’s likely that older apps already on your Mac when you upgrade will continue to work fine, but if you try to install an older, unnotarized app, that may not work.

Apps require more permissions than before: In the last few versions of macOS, you’ve probably seen apps asking for permission to do things like access data in Contacts, Calendars, and Photos. In Catalina, apps will have to ask for permission to access files in your Desktop and Documents folders, and external volumes. It’s possible that older software won’t understand.

We suggest you wait for the 10.15.3 or 10.15.4 update, or get in touch with us early in 2020 for a status update.

State of macOS

With the announcement of macOS Catalina 10.15, coming this fall, we’re recommending our customers upgrade to a minimum of 10.13 (High Sierra) and preferably 10.14 (Mojave). Earlier versions will be unsupported and won’t be getting updates. This means no security updates and software will stop being developed for these operating systems. We’re doing upgrades carefully and in person to ensure they go smoothly and don’t recommend they be done by your staff during crunch time.

15 inch Battery Recall Program

Apple has started a recall on 15 inch MacBook Pro laptops with batteries that could pose a fire hazard. These laptops were sold “primarily” between September 2015 and February 2017. To see if you might be affected, check this Apple page. You will be asked to enter your serial number. You can find your serial number by selecting “About this Mac” from the Apple menu.

Before taking your computer to Apple, make sure it is backed up completely with Time Machine or another backup application.

13-inch MB Pro Drive Program

Apple is servicing 13 inch non Touchbar MacBook Pros sold between June 2017 and June 2018 that contain a 128GB or 256GB solid state drive, which have an issue causing data loss. To see if your Mac is affected, visit this page and enter your serial number. If you take your computer in to be serviced, back up your entire computer first with Time Machine to an external drive. Alternatively, have a professional such as MacLab do this for you. Apple will replace the drive and return the computer to you with system software only. Your data will not be present. You (or a professional) will need to restore the data.

New MacBook Air and Mac Mini

The MacBook Air has been updated with a faster processor, Thunderbolt 3, Touch ID and Retina display. These are welcome upgrades and make a much improved laptop. Although we still prefer the MacBook Pro, the new MacBook Air looks like a good buy.

The Mac Mini can now be purchased with up to 2TB of SSD storage, 64GB RAM and the processor is up to 5x quicker. It also has Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, USB 3.0, HDMI and audio port. This could be an excellent desktop computer, and more flexible than an iMac since you can select your own display. The only thing the Mini lacks is a fast graphics card, which might be an issue if you work with graphic or video intensive apps all day.

Mojave 10.14

Apple recently released macOS 10.14 Mojove. At the time of this writing, MacLab is advising against performing this upgrade on a Mac in a production environment. There are issues to work out and we believe others yet to uncover. Code42 just announced an issue with Crashplan backup that requires manual intervention. If you have already upgraded to 10.14 and MacLab is providing your backup, please follow these instructions to make certain your important files continue to back up.

If you buy a new Mac with Mojave installed you may not have a choice moving forward, so please be careful to check all applications for capability.

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