Updating macOS Catalina: The ultimate guide

macOS Catalina
macOS Catalina (Image credit: iMore)

macOS Catalina is coming soon! Are you ready to upgrade? Apple has made it easier than ever to update to the latest operating system, even if you are running an older operating system on your Mac.

Step 1: Check your compatibility

First and foremost, make sure your Mac is compatible with macOS Catalina. In general, most Macs from 2012 or newer are compatible. Here's a list of Macs that can run 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 (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac Pro (2017)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013, plus mid-2010 and mid-2012 models with recommended Metal-capable GPU)

Just because your Mac supports Catalina, doesn't necessarily mean you should update, at least right away. There are a few things to consider.

Should you upgrade your Mac to macOS Catalina?

Step 2: Back up your Mac!

Before downloading any major update to your Mac operating system, it is very important to back up your data. The best way to ensure a smooth transition from an older operating system to Catalina is with Time Machine. If you don't already have a backup plan in place, there are a few options you can check out.

Best backup plan for your Mac

Step 3: Download and install macOS Catalina

Apple has made it easy to download and install macOS Catalina right from your system settings.

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen.
  2. Click on System Preferences.
  3. Click on Software Updates.
  4. Click on Update Now.


If you run into trouble during the upgrade process, give us a shout!

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).