Apple has released the second major update to the sixteenth version of MacOS. Released earlier this week, MacOS Catalina 10.15.2 includes support for remote music control on your iPhone; bug fixes in Mail, Music, and Photos; UI improvements in Apple News; and a number of smaller bugs and app issues addressed.
Although there is nothing significantly new in the package, there is anecdotal evidence that the update addresses a number software problems that have been present in Catalina, including the popping sound coming from the speakers in the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. That makes this an obvious update to those who have installed Catalina, or purchased a new Mac with the OS.
For those running earlier versions of MacOS, with no real additions to the package the decision is less clear cut.
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MacOS Catalina 10.15.2 supports all machines that would run Mojave (MacOS 10.14) with the exception of those that required a GPU upgrade. Therefore Catalina is compatible with the following machines:
- Mac Pro: Late 2013 models and onwards.
- iMac Pro: All models.
- iMac: Late 2012 models and onwards.
- Mac Mini: Late 2012 models and onwards.
- MacBook Pro: Mid 2012 models and onwards.
- MacBook Air: Mid 2012 models and onwards.
- MacBook: Early 2015 models and onwards.
You should be prompted to upgrade your computer to Catalina, but if you are looking to start the install, you can go to the Apple Menu > Software Update. More details can be found at Apple’s support page.
MacOS Catalina 10.15.2 addresses another batch of bugs that have been found in the operating system and tackles some of the UI elements in the smaller apps; for example the three-panel browser navigation in the Music, TV, and Podcasts apps have returned.
At this stage it doesn’t appear that the larger issues – such as sync issues and problems signing into iCloud – have been addresses. And of course anyone reliant on 32-bit applications have to check in with the third-party developers for an update as it has been Apple’s stated intention for some time. You can check which of your existing apps are 32-bit by clicking on Apple Menu > About This Mac > System Report > Software > Application and check if they are 64-bit or 32-bit.
On top of the “various bug fixes” and security patches, MacOS Catlina 10.15.2 adds in three notable features:
- UI tweaks in a number of Apple applications,
- Additional options for remote controlling of your music.
- Quietly addressing some hardware issues without drawing too much attention to the problems.
These additions are geared not towards extending Catalina but solidifying the changes to the operating system.
If you are currently running MacOS Catlina – either through upgrading an existing Mac or on a recently purchased Mac machine – then you should upgrade. Although nothing major is fixed, the small details, especially the hardware fixes, are going to be welcome.
Once more it’s harder to recommend that those on an older but stable version of MacOS go through the update. This is still the ‘first wave’ of Catalina, and many issues remain both in the OS but also in third-party applications. If your Mac is working at the moment, especially if it is a ‘business critical’ machine then I would recommend caution for now.
There are currently no public developer builds for MacOS Catalina 10.15.3 in Apple’s betapublic beta system, although Apple will be working on that version. I hope that the third version takes more steps towards improving the cloud and sync issues given Catalina’s focus on a close relationship with Apple’s cloud-based services.
Consider this a recommended maintenance release for existing users, but there is still nothing new to entice those who are happily working on older versions.