macOS Catalina (10.15), Apple’s successor to the current Mojave, introduces significantly tightened security. Set for an October release, the added security measures remove 32-bit compatibility, spelling “headache” for music and video software users.
- DAWs and many plugins will require updates to run on Catalina
- Drivers will require installation and updates to run
- 32-bit software or software that utilizes 32-bit libraries will be completely incompatible
- Software using legacy video libraries is incompatible
- Plugins will possibly require updates for full compatibility, though there’s a chance they’ll run inside of an updated DAW
- If any of your hardware requires a driver for installation, users will need an updated driver to work with Catalina.
If you upgrade to macOS Catalina 10.15, be fully prepared to upgrade your DAW as well, potentially at an additional cost from the developer.
Increasing concerns about malware—insidious software designed to steal data—have caused Apple to clamp down for the upcoming operating system. For a long time, Mac has been considered impervious to malware and other viruses, at least compared to the seemingly more susceptible Windows.
However, recent attacks against Mac users have been uncovered as well. According to security researchers, they discovered code in downloads from a piracy website called VST Crack, embedded in pirated versions of software like Ableton Live. The software installed itself onto the system and started mining cryptocurrency. Of course, this is the added risk of pirating software, and purchased copies do not suffer from the same malignant code.
Malware operates by running code on top of another code or memory, so Apple are adding extra security measures against that type of software operation.
While these concerns are completely valid and tightened security is ultimately for the betterment of macOS, the initial launch will cause lots of problems with currently functioning software—especially music software. Updates are required.
When Should I Upgrade?
Not right away. If you’re already in the habit of holding off from any major OS updates, then you shouldn’t feel rushed by the initial Catalina rollout. As musicians, engineers, and producers, we rely on our systems to work; and if they’re working, there’s really no hurry to upgrade.
Users planning to update right away should consider backing up their hard drives prior to upgrading in case any important software fails from the get-go. Apple’s Time Machine feature even includes some ways to roll back OS versions if necessary.
Have some patience, as music software developers will catch up and ensure compatibility on mac OS Catalina (10.15) in the long run.