Message extensions, stickers and games could soon come to Mac

Apple Catalyst
Apple Catalyst (Image credit: Apple)

Apple's Catalyst program allows developers to build Mac apps using the same source code as the iPad. To date, Apple hasn't used the program to replace any of its existing apps. However, that could change soon with the next versions of iPadOS and macOS.

According to 9to5Mac, Messages could become the first native Mac app to get replaced and use iPad source code. If correct, this would represent a massive step forward in the possible/eventual merging of iOS/iPadOS and macOS.

Going back to at least 2011, the mobile version of Messages has picked up a lot of new features that are so far missing from Messages on Mac. These include, but aren't limited to, extensions, iMessage gaming, stickers, and effects. With Catalyst, these omissions would no doubt be removed, making the messaging process the same on both platforms.

Messages on iPhone gaming

Messages on iPhone gaming (Image credit: iMore)

Back in 2018, macOS Mojave became the first Mac version to offer third-party developers the ability to bring mobile apps to the desktop through Catalyst. At the time, the company's Apple News, Memos, Voice Memos, and Home apps made the digital leap. A year later, macOS Catalina retired iTunes and introduced separate versions of Apple TV, Podcasts, and Music to the desktop. However, Music remains a Mac version.

Moving forward, I hope Apple also has plans to update FaceTime and Mail for Mac using Catalyst, among others. Both apps feel dated compared to the mobile versions, especially the latter. Still, it's important to note that in some cases, it's the mobile versions that lack many of the features found on Mac versions. That's the case with Mail, which could make it much harder to bring the two versions closer in line with one another.

We should know Apple's plans very soon.

On Monday, June 22, the company's virtual-only Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicks off. During the keynote address, Apple is almost certainly going to reveal new versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

What about you?

Which apps, native or otherwise, would you like to see a move from mobile to Mac using Catalyst? Let us know in the comments below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.