What you need to know
- macOS Catalina is likely to arrive this week.
- Logic Pro X and other DAW users should avoid updating on day one.
- New security features will impact audio producers.
Apple's macOS 10.15 Catalina update is likely to land at some point this week, but the months-long beta process hasn't been plain sailing. Just like iOS and iPadOS 13, bugs haven't been kind to Apple. But those bugs aren't the reason you might want to hang fire before updating.
Part of the Catalina update will see Apple further tighten the security screw, which is usually a good thing. But this time around the moves Apple is making will directly impact third-party plugins for apps like Logic Pro X and other digital audio workstations (DAWs).
As Justin Kahn at 9to5Mac points out, the changes in Catalina will impact how third-party effects and instrument makers work with DAWs.
Along with removing support for 32-bit code, tightened security measures in Catalina will also force third-party software makers to dig in a little deeper when preparing for Apple's latest operating system. More specifically, but without getting overly technical, there are integral changes being made to the way software can access certain information and the way permissions and installers work. Although Apple has relaxed some of the notarization requirements for developers, it could still very well cause longer than usual update delays for the third-party FX and instruments you use everyday in LPX. Running Logic Pro on Catalina won't nesssperaily be a problem (an already available update won't fix), it's the rest of that third-party gear you need to watch out for.
While software vendors are working to get their ducks in a row, at least one has already said that it won't be ready on day one. In fact, it seems Native Instruments wants to test the final version of macOS 10.15 specifically before providing fixes.
Native Instruments software and hardware products are not supported under macOS 10.15. Please do not install macOS 10.15 if you are using Native Instruments products…We are currently conducting systematic tests to offer full compatibility as soon as possible after the official release. Please check this page or your Native Instruments product's specifications page regularly to obtain information on the current operating system requirements.
That leaves audio workers in a position where they cannot update to macOS 10.15 Catalina on day one. And, likely, not for the coming weeks or potentially months, either. While not updating vital workstations to the latest software immediately is always good practice, that only works so long as no other vital software removes support for the older version.
For now, of Logic Pro X and similar DAWs should probably check which third-party solutions they're using and reach out to their developers before upgrading their Macs on Catalina day. In fact, that might go for just about anyone, too.