Apple plans to release macOS Catalina in the fall. Find out if your Mac is on the list of devices that fully support the new OS, or if you need to upgrade your hardware to run the latest version.
In approximately 3-4 months, Apple will make macOS 10.15 (aka Catalina) available to the masses for download on the Mac App Store. As usual with its annual release cycle, the installer will offer users the chance to perform an in-place upgrade, safely retaining their documents and data while the underlying OS gets a tune-up. The other choice is the more surgical clean install, which formats the drive—wiping away all traces of its previous incarnation—and lays down a fresh foundation of your system's software.
Before users can actually decide if they prefer an upgrade or to clean the drive and start anew, their system must first be allowed to download the macOS Catalina installer. That won't happen until your system has phoned home to Apple's servers for them to determine if your drive is eligible for the upgrade by verifying that the hardware meets the software requirements.
Similar to last year's Mojave upgrade, where Apple introduced a series of hardware requirements based around support for its Metal 2 application programming interface (API), the move made waves for a sub-set of Apple users still utilizing older hardware regularly. The main issue stemmed from Apple deprecating OpenGL support in favor of its proprietary Metal API, which promised faster, more efficient graphics processing and can be utilized across all OSs on all model lines.
SEE: 10 essential apps and utilities for your Mac (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
While this year's changes come by way of mostly additions to macOS, the most notable change in Catalina makes it the first version of macOS to exclusively support 64-bit applications. With this in mind, let's look into what systems will be supported by Apple, and subsequently, eligible to run macOS Catalina without issues.
Macs that will support macOS Catalina
- MacBook: Early 2015 or newer
- MacBook Air: Mid-2012 or newer
- MacBook Pro: Mid-2012 or newer
- Mac Mini: Late 2012 or newer
- iMac (non-Pro models): Late 2012 or newer
- iMac Pro: All models
- Mac Pro: Late 2013 or newer
- Mac Pro (2009-2012): Support
If you're like me and have a Mac Pro that you wish to upgrade to Catalina but still haven't made the jump to Mojave, your beloved device is sadly not capable of running 10.15. The good news is that you can still run Mojave, but you will need to verify that the GPU installed in your Mac runs one of the following chipsets to be fully compliant with Mojave:
- AMD Radeon RX 560/570/580
- AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100/9100
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 56/64
- AMD Radeon Frontier Edition
For those of us with a stock graphics card (or the one it shipped with), you'll need to upgrade your GPU before Mojave will run on your system. Luckily, Apple has provided a list of vendors that are fully compatible with the 2009-2012 model Mac Pros.
- MSI Gaming Radeon RX 560 4GB GDDR5
- Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 8GB GDDR5
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Mac Edition
- Nvidia Quadro K5000 for Mac
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 Mac Edition
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