iPad can become impressively close to the daily computing area, but there is still something about the desktop software experience on a Mac that a mobile device cannot replace. (Even more if the keyboard on your MacBook works!) But mobile software has its benefits speed, ease of use, simplicity – so it's no surprise that MacOS 10.15 Catalina, the latest operating system for Mac, borrows some features from its mobile cousin iOS . Think of it as the best of all iWorlds.
MacOS Catalina has been available since last month as a public beta, meaning everyone can download it and test it on their own machine. However, it is still not the final version of the operating system so you can expect errors and incomplete features if you decide to try it. And as always, back up your machine before installing this software so you can restore your Mac to its previous workstation if something catastrophic happens.
Here are a few things you expect when navigating through Catalina.
More iOS Apps on Mac
Project catalyst, formerly known as "marzipan", was one of the major advertisements that Apple made at its annual software conference last month. It is a framework that allows developers to easily transfer iOS apps to the Mac, meaning mobile apps like Twitter, and many others when app manufacturers have the time to tool around with this can now run as MacOS apps. On the one hand, this means potentially optimized, faster and more responsive versions of apps that you would normally access via a web browser. On the other hand, it means running more apps.
As part of this new initiative, Apple delivers some of its original iOS apps for Mac, including Apple News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home.
And then there's all of iTunes stuff …
The Big Breakup
It's the elephant in the room, and that's what some have called iTunes's death. In MacOS Catalina, Apple selects the bloated iTunes and assigns its various parts their own app containers: Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple Podcasts.
Apple Music is focused, surprising on music; Podcasts are for searching, downloading and listening to podcasts. Apple TV's purpose is a little more dispersed (especially since there will soon be an Apple TV + original content experience in the Apple TV app), but here you will buy and rent movies and shows, something you used to do through iTunes. In the Apple TV app, you can also watch your purchased items, access third-party streaming apps like HBO or Hulu, and find personalized recommendations on what to see.
However, iTunes is not completely gone. It now runs in a sidebar in the Finder so you can still plug and sync your iDevice as needed.
iPad gets a boost in Sidecar
A new feature in MacOS Catalina called SideCar switches an iPad to a mirrored display for your Mac, as well as a multi-touch mouse pad and a drawing box for apps running on your Mac. The feature is something that was already offered through third-party apps like Duet Display, Luna and Air Display, but now Apple offers it built-in. The feature promises little or no waiting time between iPad and Mac with its native software, provided the two devices are within 30 feet of each other if you connect them wirelessly.
I haven't been able to test this out But it looks like having the iPad wirelessly placed on your Mac, it can be incredibly handy for a variety of usage cases, whether it's signing documents, drawing or even just getting more screens real estate. And one of the best things about it is that it should work immediately in apps that already support a stylus; developers do not have to do any extra work.
Focus on Accessibility
One of Apple's most impressive accessibility features in recent years comes to MacOS Catalina, and it's not just limited to Mac. A new voice control feature enables people to fully control their Mac, iPad or iPhone with spoken commands. It does so by creating a system with numbers or networks so you can dial where you want to navigate on the screen and choose things via voice rather than having to use a mouse or trackpad.
If you often use multi-step gestures – Apple's example is to send emails or messages with fireworks – you can preset them and then use voice commands to execute them. Catalina also includes improvements to people with low vision, including the ability to swing over text to display a higher resolution. And if you happen to give a presentation, you can zoom in on the text of your own device, but maintain the same resolution on external devices as freelance tech reporter Steven Aquino notes here .  Big Screen Time
You already know how much time you spend on social media and how many messages you have received on your phone; Why not extend this knowledge to your Mac? As it does on iOS, Screen Time in MacOS tells you how much time you've wasted on Facebook today and how much of your screen time is dedicated to productivity apps (seriously, you should access this information if you don't yet have it ; you may be surprised by your statistics.)
If you are a user of more than one Apple device, this information will also be synchronized via iCloud so you can see a breakdown of Screen Time by. unit. It also comes with options to set small lists for yourself. You can set time limits for specific apps and give you a one-minute warning when you're about to hit that limit. You can also set parental controls for Fortnite -and-Snapchat-obsessed young person you are traveling.
In MacOS Catalina, the Notes app now has a gallery, and you can invite anyone to view and collaborate on a whole folder worth of Notes, not just a single note. (Likewise, you can limit others' ability to edit your note so they don't accidentally pull your finger on your itinerary while still allowing them to view it).
Also the search feature – possibly the most important feature of an app filled with different bits of text and photos, has become much better. When searching for a keyword such as "Cat", the app will not only get your reminder to buy cat food or notes from the last vet visit, but also pictures of the cat you forged in Notes. Awww.
Apple Watch for Auth
This is a small thing – quite literally small – but if you happen to own an Apple Watch, you can use it to authenticate your identity in even more places in MacOS Catalina. It is already super helpful to use an Apple Watch to unlock newer Macs, or to use it to validate a payment you're trying to make in Safari. But now you can use it to approve app downloads, reveal passwords (again, in Safari) or unlock a locked note. It's one of the seemingly iterative things that can actually make a big difference – for watch-wearers anyway – when it comes to workflow.