macOS Catalina

And the winner of the best-macOS-wallpaper-ever tournament is …

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Is this your favorite macOS wallpaper?
Is this your favorite macOS wallpaper?
Photo: Apple

Apple aficionado Basic Apple Guy ran a “bracket” polling competition — think March Madness basketball, but without any perspiration — to determine the greatest macOS wallpaper ever. And users have spoken, according to a tweet pointing to final results Wednesday.

In a field of 18 competitors, macOS Catalina wallpaper emerged the champion (pictured above).

Safari 15.1 reverses controversial design changes for macOS Big Sur and Catalina

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Safari 15.1 design
Safari is back to its best.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

After Apple finally decided to reverse its controversial Safari design changes in the latest macOS Monterey beta (when you use the “Separate” tabs option), it has made the same move for those running macOS Big Sur and Catalina.

The Safari 15.1 update released Wednesday for earlier versions of macOS brings back Safari’s old tab design. However, if you prefer the new “Compact” interface — introduced at WWDC 2021 back in June — you still have the option to use it.

Safari 15 frustrates macOS users with a plethora of bugs

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Safari 15 on macOS
Frequent crashes have become the norm for some users.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

If you haven’t yet upgraded to Safari 15 for macOS, you’re one of the lucky ones. The latest version of Apple’s web browser is frustrating users with a plethora of bugs that cause repeated crashes. However, there are fixes you can try.

Safari 15 comes bundled with macOS Monterey, which is still in beta testing ahead of its public debut later this fall. It’s also available as a standalone upgrade for those running macOS Big Sur and Catalina.

macOS Catalina 10.15.7 squishes a nasty Wi-Fi bug

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Jamf Now macOS Catalina and iOS 13 upgrades
macOS Catalina 10.15.7 takes care of multiple problems that might be bugging you.
Photo: Apple Inc.

Mac users can update their computer on Thursday with macOS Catalina 10.15.7. It’s important for anyone who’s noticed their computer not connecting to Wi-Fi like it ought to. There are no new features.

This might be the last Catalina version before the big macOS Big Sur upgrade gets introduced.

Latest macOS beta brings fab new tool for boosting battery life

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macOS Catalina is here. But proceed from Mojave with caution.
Portable Macs get the most attention in the new Catalina beta.
Photo: Apple

Apple seeded the second beta of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 to developers this morning, bringing with it a major change to the way MacBooks charge.

Several tech sites got an explainer from Apple on how the new Battery Health Management feature works. The tool is coming to every MacBook with a Thunderbolt 3 port — and it could be a godsend to your battery.

Move over, Dropbox: How to share iCloud folders in iOS 13.4

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colored notebooks
Some folders, which could totally be shared.
Photo: Laika Notebooks/Unsplash

In iOS 13.4, you can share iCloud folders with other people for the first time. You’ve long been able to share a single file via iCloud, but now you can share folders, so all the people sharing can drop files in there. Just like Dropbox has done since, like, forever.

This new capability, which arrived Tuesday in iOS 13.4 and macOS Catalina 10.15.4, will finally let people ditch Dropbox and go all-in on iCloud. Let’s see how it works.

Bundle of new developer OS betas highlight iPad Up Next widget functionality

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iPadOS 13.4 includes an improved Up Next home screen widget.
See locations in the Up Next home screen widget in iPadOS 13.4 beta.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Up Next widget on the iPad home screen gets a handy tweak in iPadOS 13.4, showing the location of upcoming events if they’ve been specified in the Calendar. This is just one of the improvements in this version, which is still in beta testing,

But the release is getting closer, as Apple just released the third beta of iPadOS 13.4 to developers. Plus, there are new pre-release editions of macOS 10.15.4, iOS 13.4, tvOS 13.4 and watchOS 6.2.

SwitchGlass is a supercharged Dock replacement for Mac

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SwitchGlass -- almost exactly the same as the Dock.
SwitchGlass -- almost exactly the same as the Dock.
Photo: John Siracusa

SwitchGlass is a handy new Mac app from John Siracusa. It’s like a superpowered dock, conceptually honed from the regular macOS dock by removing some annoyances, and adding some extra subtleties. It’s certainly not the most powerful dock-replacement app out there, but if your needs align with Siracusa’s, then you’re going to love it.

Unreleased ‘Pro Mode’ may bring performance boost to MacBooks

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macBookpro
Bag yours before it's too late!
Photo: Apple

Apple is working on a new software feature for macOS that can crank Macs’ processing powers into overdrive. References spotted by 9to5Mac in the latest macOS Catalina beta mention a new “Pro Mode.” Details on how Pro Mode will work remain hazy. However, a few lines of code hint that it might only be available on MacBooks.

Apple will enforce macOS app notarization requirements starting in February

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iMac
Apple wants to make macOS as safe as possible.
Photo: Apple

Mac app developers that distribute their apps outside of the Mac App Store will have to submit their software to Apple’s notarization process starting in February.

Apple detailed the upcoming changes in a note to developers this morning. The company originally said developers would have until January 2020 to submit for notarization but the window has been extended a bit.

How to sync your iPhone with your Mac in Catalina

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iTunes-as-Swiss-Army-knife-pun.
iTunes-as-Swiss-Army-knife-pun.
Photo: Goran Ivos/Unsplash

In macOS Catalina, iTunes has been replaced by separate apps, but none of those new apps takes on the tasks of syncing your music, books, photos and other data to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. That responsibility now falls upon the Finder.

So, does this means you can plug in your iPad and drag and drop all your apps’ files between it and your Mac? Of course not. In fact, apart from this functionality now being in the Finder, not much has changed at all.

How to add your own music to the Mac’s Music app

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catalina's music app tape
Adding music to Catalina's music app is as easy as using iTunes.
Photo: Namroud Gorguis on Unsplash

In macOS Catalina, iTunes has disappeared. It’s been replaced by the new Music app, which is a version of the iOS Music app. You could never call iTunes “beloved,” but it did its job, and had plenty of power hidden inside its confusing and bloated interface. The Apple Music app, on the other hand, is rather basic. But it still lets you do one thing that remains impossible on iOS: You can add your own music to your library. And yes, it will then sync that music to your iDevices. Let’s see how.

Can’t launch your apps on macOS Catalina? Here’s the fix

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no entry sign
Catalina makes opening non-approved apps scary.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

macOS 10.15 Catalina is ruthless about launching unknown apps. Unless your app comes direct from the App Store, or the app’s developer got the app notarized by Apple, it won’t launch. Double click on it, and you’ll see a warning — and nothing else. There’s no option to say you trust the app and launch it despite Catalina’s warnings.

But you can still launch those apps. It’s just that Apple hides the controls in the hope that you’ll give up. It’s petty, and it shows a lack of respect for you, the user. However, it’s also dead easy to fix this problem. Let’s see how to launch any app on macOS Catalina.

Continuity Sketch turns the iPad into a graphics tablet for your Mac

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Continuity Sketch is like having an Apple Pencil for your Mac.
Continuity Sketch is like having an Apple Pencil for your Mac.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You can sign a PDF on your Mac using the giant MacBook trackpad, and you can mark up PDFs and screenshots, too. But all that stuff is much easier on the iPad, especially if you have an Apple Pencil. The problem is getting it there. But in macOS Catalina, you don’t have to “get it” anywhere. Screenshots and PDFs magically show up on nearby iPads, where you can sign them or mark them up. Then you can return them to your Mac. These features are called Continuity Sketch and Continuity Markup, and they’re killer.

You know how the UPS guy holds up his brown scanner box for you to sign? PDF markup is like that, only on your iPad — and you never feel guilty about ordering too many parcels.

macOS Catalina 10.15.2 improves Apple News+, Stocks, Photos and more

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MacOS Catalina Jamf
Your Mac and your MacBook can be updated today with macOS Catalina 10.15.2.
Photo: Apple

There’s a fresh update for macOS Catalina out today. Version 10.15.2 allows an iPhone to remote control a Mac’s music and video playback. And there are also other enhancements for the utilities Apple bundles with this operating system, including Photos, Music and Mail.

How to arrange your iPad’s window in Catalina’s Sidecar

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Yes, that's Logic Pro X 'running' on an iPad.
Yes, that's Logic Pro X "running" on an iPad in Sidecar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Sidecar, which lets you use an iPad as an external display for your Mac, is an unexpectedly amazing new feature in macOS Catalina. You just move any window to the iPad, and there it is. You can either mouse over to that window with the Mac, just like using any other external display, or you can pick up an Apple Pencil, and use it in the Mac app, directly from the iPad’s screen. And, like any regular external display, you can choose where the iPad’s screen exists.

Today we’re going to see how to move the iPad’s screen from left to right in the Sidecar setup.

How to add a Dark Mode toggle to the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar

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The homemade Dark Mode button lets you toggle between Dark Mode and the MacBook Pro's regular appearance, right from your Touch Bar.
The homemade Dark Mode button.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Mac’s Dark Mode isn’t bad. It’s definitely a better view when quickly checking something on your Mac late in the evening. But unless you have it set to switch automatically, toggling Dark Mode on and off is a pain. So, with a shiny new MacBook Pro in front of me, I decided to put the Touch Bar to use.

Did you know you can add your own buttons to the Touch Bar? You can, and it’s totally rad.

Force websites to comply with macOS Catalina’s Safari Dark Mode

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Dark mode for safari
Sometimes only Dark Mode will do.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I stopped reading white text on a black background the moment I left school, and I’ve never liked it since. Especially on a screen, where the black expanse becomes a dark mirror that reflects everything in its sight. But even I prefer Dark Mode late at night, when I want to read without disturbing other people.

The trouble is, many websites don’t support Dark Mode. Everything else in Safari is rendered in tasteful black, but the page itself is still rendered in glaring white. Happily, on the Mac at least, there’s a way to fix it. Here’s how to force any website to support Safari Dark Mode on Mac.

macOS Catalina 10.15.2 goes into beta testing

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macOS Catalina 10.15.2 beta available for developers
Developers get their first taste of macOS Catalina 10.15.2 in beta form.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Testing for the next version of macOS just began. macOS Catalina 10.15.2 will replace a update that came out only a week ago, but Apple never really stops work on any of its operating systems.

All we know at this point is that the initial beta of this upcoming version makes a few tweaks to networking, but more significant changes are possible.