Apple announced macOS Catalina and the desktop operating systme’s new features at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California.
The tech giant unveiled a new feature called ‘Sidecar,’ which allows users to use an iPad as a secondary display for a Mac.
Various third-party apps have allowed developers to do this for years, but this is the first time the functionality has been integrated into Apple’s desktop operating system. Sidecar lets users expand their work from a Mac onto an iPad. When paired with an Apple Pencil, you can also use the iPad to write in any Mac app that includes stylus input support.
‘Find My,’ is a new feature that combines ‘Find My iPhone’ and ‘Find My Friends’ into one app. The feature even locates Apple devices that are offline.
For example, if you misplaced your MacBook, Find My sends out Bluetooth signals even when it’s offline. Other devices will use the signals and then relay your MacBook’s location to you.
Further, Apple says there is no need to worry about data leaking, as the feature includes end-to-end encryption.
Another feature called ‘Activation Lock’ aims to make Macs safer. Apple says this functionality results in Macs being “less attractive to thieves.” For instance, if someone steals your MacBook, they won’t be able to access the laptop’s data and information since they’ll be locked out.
Apple is also aiming to benefit users with accessibility needs by introducing ‘Voice Control.’ MacOS Catalina now features Voice Controls that allow users to navigate their Mac with their voices. On-screen things that would usually be clicked on are highlighted with a number so users can simply say the number they want to click on.
The feature uses on-device Siri speech recognition technology to ensure that user data is protected and private, according to Apple.
The company broke iTunes into three new apps called Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Podcasts. Apple Music makes it easier for users to access their songs. If you want to sync an iOS device or an iPod, you’ll now find it in the Finder sidebar.
Apple Podcasts includes all of the same functionality as its iOS counterpart, along with a new search feature. Now, the app uses machine learning to transcribe each podcast to make it easier to find podcasts by searching for key phrases.
The Apple TV app on Macs now features support for 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos playback. It also includes an ‘Up Next’ tab that allows viewers to keep track of what they’re currently watching. This makes it easier to resume watching your show on any device.
MacBooks are now getting ‘Screen Time,’ which lets users track their screen time on their Mac just like with iOS. Additionally, users can keep up with their screen time all their devices right from the Mac app. Apple also introduced a new ‘One more minute’ warning feature that will give users more time to save their work.
macOS Catalina also features an updated start page, a gallery view in Notes, a new Photos app and finally, a new Reminders page.
Apple announced a new developer-friendly feature called ‘Project Catalyst.’ This is new technology that lets developers quickly create apps for Macs based on their iOS apps, and is the successor to Marzipan.
macOS Catalina is releasing a public beta later this June, and will be available as a free update for users later this year.