It's that time of year again when Apple prepares to release the latest operating system for MacOS!

10.15 Catalina brings a slew of new features, including many accessibility features for users who need to use their voice for control. Whether you make music on the computer in your career, passion project, or just for fun, we've compiled a few of the new features for MacOS Catalina that are worth mentioning for musicians.

iTunes will be no longer available. Apple now has three dedicated apps on Catalina to replace iTunes: Apple Music, Apple TV, Apple Podcasts. I mean, how much will you actually miss listening to your new bounce on full blast only for it to be interrupted by the next song on shuffle?

There's good news for iPad users—Apple's new Sidecar lets you extend your workspace by using your iPad as a second Mac display. This could really help when working inside of DAWs and with general plug-in management.

OSX Catalina also brings the Screen Time app to Mac, so you can really see how much time you're spending on your solo accordion record.

Let's get down to the details—Catalina brings the following deprecations in audio processing:

  • Audio – The OpenAL framework is deprecated and remains present for compatibility purposes. Transition to AVAudioEngine for spatial audio functionality.
  • Audio – AUGraph is deprecated in favor of AVAudioEngine.
  • Audio – Inter-App audio is deprecated. Use Audio Units for this functionality.
  • Audio – Carbon component-based Audio Units are deprecated and support will be removed in a future release.
  • Audio – Legacy Core Audio HAL audio hardware plug-ins are no longer supported. Use Audio Server plug-ins for audio drivers.

From what we gather, Apple is further depreciating support for 32-bit plug-ins in addition to gearing up for their AU3 spec. What this means to you is there are a few changes that have the potential to make 3rd party plug-ins behave arbitrarily or not as expected. With that being said, ILIO highly recommends avoiding updating your Mac OS until you hear from the companies of the plug-ins that you own about compatibility updates for MacOS Catalina (OSX 10.15). Fortunately, there is an easy way to prevent your computer from updating the OS automatically:

Turn Off Automatic OS Updates

  • Open System Preferences and click "App Store"
  • Uncheck "Download newly available updates in the background"
  • Uncheck "Install macOS updates"

system preferences, turn off updates

All in all, a new MacOS is nothing to be afraid of. Just be patient and avoid updating immediately after its release. For further information on compatibility, please check with the developers of your audio plug-ins before updating.