How to download MacOS Catalina

MacOS Catalina is Apple’s latest version of its Mac operating system, and it’s available now to upgrade to. With plenty of worthy new features, Catalina will definitely an exciting update for most people.

As always, it’s free and can be installed through the Mac App Store. Check out the step by step instructions below.

If you want to learn more about MacOS Catalina first, you can read all about new features like Sidecar and Project Catalyst, here.

Step 1: Check that your Mac is compatible

MacOS Catalina Hands-on | Macbook Pro
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

The first thing to do is make sure your Mac can run MacOS Catalina. Apple has put together a handy list of compatible Macs, and we’ve listed a summary of them below:

  • MacBook Pro from mid 2012 onward
  • MacBook Air from mid 2012 onward
  • 12-inch MacBook from early 2015 onward
  • iMac Pro from 2017 onward
  • iMac from late 2012 onward
  • Mac Mini from late 2012 onward
  • Mac Pro from late 2013 onward

Step 2: Back up your Mac

If you have anything important on your Mac, we’d recommend backing it up to an external drive or cloud storage service. Updating to a new and somewhat unstable version of MacOS carries with it some risk of running into problems during the installation process. If you’ve backed everything up beforehand, then reverting to the old install is quick and easy.

If you need help backing up your Mac, follow these step-by-step instructions.

Step 3: Open the Mac App Store

Now that your Mac is safely backed up, you’ll need to launch the Apple Mac App Store. You can do this by clicking the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and selecting App Store, or by clicking the App Store icon in your Dock.

Once the app loads, click the search bar in the top-left corner and type “MacOS Catalina.” Press return and click the entry for Catalina to go to its download page.

Step 4: Download MacOS Catalina

When you’re ready, click Get. Your Mac will now download the MacOS Catalina installer. Depending on your internet connection, this may take a while, so be patient. Once it’s finished, the installer will launch automatically.

Step 5: Run the installer

When the installer launches, follow the on-screen prompts to install MacOS Catalina. If you’d rather install the new update to a different partition than the default choice, select Show all disks when presented with the option, and then choose the partition you want to install it on before continuing.

Once you’ve clicked Install, the app will get to work. Your Mac may restart several times during the installation process, show a blank screen or a progress bar. This is all fine and expected. When you see the MacOS Catalina login page, the installation is complete.

Note: If you’re installing this on a MacBook, we’d recommend plugging in the power cord if you haven’t already. You don’t want a dead battery to interrupt your install, as this can seriously corrupt your data.

Once the install is finished, you’ll have a new MacOS Catalina installation that you can use to your heart’s content.

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