Apple macOS Catalina will be incompatible with more than 200 apps

Sidecar working on Catalina and iPadOS

An iOS developer has discovered an extensive list of applications that will be rendered useless for Mac users that choose to upgrade to the Catalina OS when it's released in September.

There are 235 apps included in Steve Moser's list which will affect both individual consumers and UK businesses in particular.

One of the most notable inclusions is popular accountancy software QuickBooks. Users running the 2015 version of the app will have to upgrade to a newer iteration if they also want to make the most of Apple's new operating system (OS).

This particular version of QuickBooks went end of life (EOL) in May 2018 meaning users were locked out of certain features such as online banking and desktop payroll but users can still use it for basic accounting functions.

It may have been discontinued with many users switching to its latest cloud-based version, but those still using the old version will have to upgrade urgently, especially considering the Making Tax Digital penalties for not staying on top of your digital books.

Among other notable affected apps include Adobe Creative Cloud and a vast number of hugely popular antivirus apps including Kaspersky, Norton, Avast, Sophos Antivirus and Sophos Endpoint. Such apps have found use in businesses and by sole traders.

In addition, two apps that stuck out were the popular virtualisation programs Parallels 2.5 and VMware Fusion 3.1.4 - two apps that allow users to run Windows on Mac machines.

IT Pro approached Apple for comment on incompatible apps but it didn't reply at the time of publication.

Apple announced Catalina at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June with enhancements to productivity, security and accessibility.

Sidecar is a slick new feature that will allow iPads to be used as second displays for Mac, a feat only possible through third-party apps previously. It will come as good news for video editors, especially considering the UIs of both Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere can get cramped even on the biggest MacBook display.

Accessibility gets an upgrade too, Voice Control will allow users to operate the entire OS without touching a single key. Particularly marketed at disabled users, the screen is split up into numbered grids which allow users to tell the computer where to place the cursor, for example.

The iPhone's Screen Time feature which monitors a user's time spent looking at a device will also make its way onto Mac in a bid to tackle the issue of mental and physical wellbeing. Spending too much time in front of Apple's Retina displays and the blue light they, and all other computer displays, emit can lead to poor quality sleep and other compounding issues.

Catalina is available now in Beta to registered Apple developers but is expected to be generally available in September.

If you're wondering if your machine is Catalina-compatible, here are the all the Macs that will be able to upgrade when the time comes:

  • MacBook: From 2015 and later
  • iMac: From 2012 and later
  • MacBook Air: From 2012 and later
  • iMac Pro: From 2017 and later
  • MacBook Pro: From 2012 and later
  • Mac Pro: From 2013 and later
  • Mac mini: From 2012 and later
Connor Jones

Connor Jones has been at the forefront of global cyber security news coverage for the past few years, breaking developments on major stories such as LockBit’s ransomware attack on Royal Mail International, and many others. He has also made sporadic appearances on the ITPro Podcast discussing topics from home desk setups all the way to hacking systems using prosthetic limbs. He has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield, and has previously written for the likes of Red Bull Esports and UNILAD tech during his career that started in 2015.