View All Announcements

macOS Catalina approved for general use

Apple released macOS Catalina (version 10.15.x) on October 7th, 2019. This latest version of Apple’s macOS comes with significant architectural changes, most notably the long-promised end of support for 32-bit applications. This change is likely the most significant one for the macOS in over eight years.

This shift towards a full 64-bit environment requires that all developers update their applications for compatibility to run on Catalina. More information on this change and instructions on how to check for 32-bit applications is located in the Apple Support article here:

At this point, four months following release, Information Systems & Computing (ISC) is approving macOS Catalina for general use at the University. Before upgrading, administrators, faculty, and staff should always consult with their local IT support organization in their School or Center to ensure that local requirements are fulfilled.

macOS Catalina can be installed on all Macs that are in the University’s current hardware life cycles for desktops (four years) and notebooks (three years), though not all of Catalina’s features work on older systems. macOS Catalina functions as expected with many Penn services, including AirPennNet, Code42, PennO365, and Penn+Box. Catalina also functions as expected with currentversions of Microsoft Office, Symantec Endpoint Protection, LastPass, FileMaker Pro Advanced, and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Known issues as of early February 2020 are as follows:

1) Older versions of many applications do not function and must be either replaced or discarded. Examples of these applications include previous versions of Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud/Creative Suite.

2) Older installers are also problematic—even if the application itself is 64-bit. ISC suggests updating applications to 64-bit versions before upgrading to Catalina.

3) The most recent version of dataComet-Secure X (10.2.2) does not function. ISC is in the process of acquiring a 64-bit replacement for dataComet-Secure X. More details will be announced as soon as possible.

4) Only the newest version of Fetch, 5.8, is 64-bit compatible. ISC is in the process of developing a Penn-licensed installer for Fetch 5.8 that will be available on the Supported Computing Products website in the near future. More details will be forthcoming when available.

For users that wish to familiarize themselves with macOS Catalina, ISC recommends the LinkedIn Learning class “macOS Catalina New Features,” which discusses the latest facets of the operating system.