The Good/Bad of Apple's macOS Catalina

Nov 20

It has almost been two weeks since I've downloaded the new Apple operating system. In typical Apple fashion it is named, Catalina. Sorry, we are not talking about the "Catalina Wine Mixer" 🙊

The new OS is equipped with more features which are designed to give a better user experience to its users/cult following😏 I wanted to talk about some of the key features I really enjoy and my disappointments 😞

Podcast are first class citizens! 🎙

You knew this was the main feature I was most excited about, especially being the host of the People In Tech podcast. However, this month hasn't been the best for Apple software. Multiple patches have been release for iOS and some are comparing this Catalina OS to Windows Vista, which I didn't hate, but I was also in college and didn't know anything. 🤷🏾♂️

The Podcast, Apple TV and Music apps are step in the right direction but it is clear these apps still need some work. The podcast app is still slow connecting to it's servers. Competition is getting fierce with Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, etc.

Majority of my podcasting listening is on Apple's Podcast iOS app, so adding it to desk top allows me to continue to listen to episodes I might have started on my commute to work. 🎧

Notes got much better!

I am constantly writing down notes, for random thoughts, ideas, tedious task, etc. It was great to see they added some new features like gallery view, view-only collaboration and much better search functionality. Search can now recognize objects or scenes within the images you’ve added to your notes and can help you find specific text in the items you’ve scanned using the built-in document scanner. 

I'm waiting to convince my wife to switch back to Apple, she is currently on a Pixel 2. One feature I think we would both enjoy is the Shared Folders functionality. Yes, there are products that do this like Google and Amazon docs, but when everything is in one place and sync and tied to my phone, it fits into my workflow.

Sidecar is actually cool!

Hey look! I'm using my iPad as an external monitor with my MacBook. I am also using my Apple Pen to take notes, while listening to podcast with my Apple Airpods. *Ding Ding*, looks like I got a notification from my Apple Watch to stand up. 😆

All jokes aside, using your iPad as a second display for additional screen space is a nice feature. It works over USB or wirelessly, and I was surprised at the lack of latency on some review I saw online, even while using it wirelessly. I’m sure a hardcore gamer would notice it, but for regular day-to-day stuff, it looks great. One thing to note, though: it only works with iPads that share your Apple ID.

Now, I just need to buy a new iPad to use it. 🤑🤑🤑 Gestures are still around as well. The same Multi-Touch gestures you're familiar with on iPad, along with all-new text editing gestures that let you cut, copy, paste, and undo without lifting your hands from the onscreen keyboard.

Photos got some improvements

Apple updated Photos on Catalina to be more in line with the new versions on iOS 13 and iPadOS. It offers nicer-looking overviews of your months and years, plus a photo editing interface I like more than the last version. It’s not quite enough to get me off Adobe Lightroom (Photo’s crop settings still aren’t persistent), but it’s an improvement.


I am most disappointed with

  • AppleTV

  • Mail

  • Music

  • QuickTime Player

  • Messenger

I was a little upset when I didn't see anything about improving Apple's Messages app. Even in iOS 13 you can add Bitmoji, Giphy, Stickers and on the desktop app, none of that is available 😢

In regards to the Mail app, it got some slight improvements, but I still believe there are better third party options. I started using (hit me up for sponsorships!) for my communications app because it's one app that wraps all my other chat/emails apps into one. Slack, Facebook messenger, Google Hangouts, Voices, Calendly, Gmail, etc.

The Apple TV app is nice, but the Apple TV version works better with other apps like YouTube TV, Netflix, Hulu. I don't see myself using that one often. Oh, don't get me started on QuickTime. They added an animation function, which has been around for a long time, barely would call it an improvement.💢

Is it Apple's version of Vista?

People forget that Windows XP was such a huge success, when Vista came out, it didn't make the improvements most users really wanted. That is how I feel about Catalina. The past two MacOS's Sierra and High Sierra were clearly building upon things that worked well. To clarify, Catalina isn't make the exact same mistakes as Vista.

For example, Apple put a huge effort into improving security where as Vista was poor in that area. In terms of popular MacOS, I would suggest to most people to wait, let some of the bugs get fix and consider upgrading to Catalina in a few months.

Have you upgraded to MacOS Catalina? What do you think? Leave a comment below. Make sure to subscribe to our podcast People In Tech to hear more!

Thanks for reading!

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