macOS Catalina revives Expansion Slot Utility app for new Mac Pro

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Expansion Slot Utility reborn in macOS Catalina.
Photo: Steve Moser

Apple’s latest macOS Catalina beta revives the long-lost Expansion Slot Utility app for the new Mac Pro.

Now updated to version 2.0, the app helps users configure things like video cards, audio adapters, and more. It went away for a while after the introduction of the 2013 Mac Pro — but it will be called into action again when the 2019 Mac Pro makes its debut.

The Expansion Slot Utility app gave earlier Mac Pro users the ability to see what was installed in their machine’s PCI Express slots without opening it up. It also offered some details on things like speed and configuration.

The app is not required for the most recent “trash can” Mac Pro design, which does not include PCIe slots for user upgrades. But Apple is finally reverting to a more traditional desktop approach for its next-generation machine.

Expansion Slot Utility is making a comeback

So, Expansion Slot Utility is making a welcome return.

The app has been spotted in the second macOS Catalina beta. It can’t be opened yet because none of Apple’s existing machines are compatible, but developer Steve Moser has been digging to find out a little bit more about it.

“New strings included in the app indicate that the user will be alerted when cards in the Mac Pro are not in an optimal configuration and will give the user suggestions on where to move a particular card,” Moser explains.

“Also one of the file names includes a reference to ‘J160’ which is most likely the codename for the 2019 Mac Pro (J90 was the codename for the 2013 Mac Pro).”

Catalina prepares for Pro Display XDR

The second Catalina beta also lays the groundwork for Apple’s upcoming Pro Display XDR.

Moser has found artwork, which will be used in the Display section of the Preferences app, that shows the display in portrait and landscape orientations. It seems the artwork will update depending on which orientation you’re using.

macOS Catalina will make its official debut this fall. The Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR are expected to follow later this year.