How to tell if an app will run in macOS Catalina

Howard Oakley for Eclectic Light Company:

If you’re intending to upgrade to Catalina, even early next year, perhaps, one of the first questions you need to ask is whether your important apps will run in macOS 10.15. In many previous macOS upgrades, this hasn’t been such an important question, and the answer has usually been far simpler. One of the problems with upgrading now is that some apps won’t just be a bit rough, but will stop working altogether when you upgrade.

Many good developers have put a great deal of effort into preparing their software for Catalina. These include many of the smaller ‘indie’ developers, and plenty of big names too. It’s heartening to see how many apps were notarized and ready to use before Apple’s recent changed notarization requirements.

However, others appear unprepared, with no useful information in their support pages about current compatibility or any plans. This may be a good time to re-examine alternatives which are clearly better-prepared.

MacDailyNews Take: This article contains links to some useful tools for those who are using apps about which macOS Catalina compatibility is questionable.

Good luck out there!


  1. Although I want to upgrade to Catalina as soon as it is available, I have always been slow to update to a new OS because I’m concerned it will break my utility apps. Not the apps from large companies that everyone is using, but apps from smaller companies or discontinued apps that I’ve grown comfortable with using. I have been using SMBUp for years to get consistent Samba compatibility with all my Macs and Fire TVs and I’d hate to see that app break with Catalina. It probably won’t, but there’s always that fear that a few apps will break that I can’t replace.

    At least I know Dashboard will be history and have already found replacement apps for those widgets. Fortunately for me, Mojave didn’t break any apps I used in High Sierra and I think Mojave is awesome but time moves on. Catalina seems to have a lot of useful internal changes, so I’m concerned about it breaking a lot of apps. I’ll just have to wait and see. I’ll update one of my Macs and test Catalina as best I can before updating the others.

  2. I really don’t understand how it is possible for a Mac OS to be able to run Windows, but not older mac programs. I can’t see this as anything other than intentional sabotage in order to make more money.

    1. Your mac will certainly run old programs — the same way it runs Windows programs. All you need to do is run an older version of MacOS under Parallels (or other VM that supports MacOS). I’m running High Sierra specifically for this purpose in a Parallels VM so I can continue to use Adobe CS6 without entering the wonderful world of subscription software.

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