Apple just released public betas of most of its operating system. As you may know, Apple split iPhones and iPads, so operating system for iPads is now called iPadOS. As for Apple Watch, Apple did not release public beta. Please note, that you should not install beta software on productivity hardware. Current public betas are pretty stable, but there are some bugs and some apps may not run corretly until they are updated by developers. Be careful with macOS Catalina, because it dropped support for 32-bit apps. I have installed iPadOS on my iPad, and it runs pretty well, but note that iPadOS features for 3rd party apps – like ability to open multiple windows of running app – will be only available since September, when Apple releases final versions. The only way how to test new features for 3rd party apps is to do betatest via TestFlight.
As for macOS Catalina, probably the biggest change for common users is eliminated iTunes. Instead of iTunes, there are three new apps: Music, Podcasts and TV. iTunes was iconic software on Mac platform. To be honest, iTunes for Windows was pretty crapware, but on Mac I love it and I’m looking forward for new Music app. As for Windows users, iTunes is still available for PCs, so you will be able to sync your iPhones and iPads (or even iPods) by the same way as in the past. On macOS Catalina, sync features are built-in into Finder.
If you own both Mac and iPad, you can now benefit from the Sidecar, a feature that allows you to use your iPads’ screens as secondary monitor with support for Apple Pencil. Just make sure you own a compatible Mac:
- MacBook Pro (Late 2016 or later)
- Retina MacBook (Early 2016 or later)
- MacBook Air (2018 models only)
- Mac mini (2018 models only)
- 27-inch iMac (Late 2015 or later)
- iMac Pro (all models)
- Mac Pro (2019 models only)
The reason why older Macs do not support Sidecar is probably because of HEVC. iMac Retina 5K from 2014 is not supported, but my iMac Retina 5K Late 2015 is supported. I know, pretty annoying, but Apple limited support for newer Macs probably because of performance, because older Macs do not have HW acceleration of HEVC codec. Anyway, you can still use solution called Duet Display, it even works on Windows-based PCs.
Security was updated too. If you have Mac with T2 security chip, you can benefit from Activation Lock, so thieves won’t be able to use your device without knowing of your Apple ID login details. It’s like on iPhones, iPads and iPods touch since iOS 7, but now its comming to Mac.
Apple also released new Find My app that lets you track your lost devices, and previously, this functionality was only available via iCloud on the Mac. There’s even a new option to find your devices even when they’re offline by leveraging Bluetooth connections to other nearby devices, something that’s particularly handy on the Mac because it doesn’t have a cellular connection.
If you liked Screen Time feature on your iOS device, it’s now coming to Mac.
Catalyst technology, previous known as Marzipan, allows developers to port iPad’s apps to Mac. Apple itself ported some apps into macOS, which were already included in macOS Mojave. Apple’s goal is to bring more apps to Mac. An example is abandoned desktop Twitter app, but thanks to Catalyst, Twitter for Mac is coming back.
There are some minor changes, like Photos has an updated interface that better highlights your best pictures, in the Safari you will find new start page with Siri suggestions, Mail app can now block e-mails and to mute threads and the Reminders app was redesigned and some features were added.
iOS 13 was split, so iPads now use iPadOS. Many features are identical, but there are specific features for iPad, like multitasking.
Apple finally introduced Dark Mode for iOS, as it did before year with macOS Mojave. This feature was very popular request and I’m glad I can now use it on my iPad and iPhone.
Photos app was improved too. New version of Photos app makes it easier to relive your memories with new Days, Months, and Years viewing options. For advanced users, many editing features were added. Not only filters and some basic operations, but now you can apply filter intensity and edit some aspects of your taken photos, like exposure, brilliance, highlights, shadows, contrast, brightness, black point, saturation, vibrance, warmth, tint, sharpness, definition, noise reduction and vignette.
You can edit videos right in the Photos app for the first time, and on the newest iPhones, there’s a new High-Key Mono lighting effect and an option to adjust the intensity of Portrait Lightning effects.
There are some tweaks, like less obtrusive volume HUD. iOS 13 / iPadOS now, like its macOS counterpart, got brand new app called “Find My”. It also replaces Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps and allows you to track your devices even with they don’t have an LTE or WiFi connection.
Maps got a new street-level “Look Around” mode, but it’s currently useless, even in the USA. Reminders app was redesigned with new UI and features, in Messages app there are new profile features and new Memoji and Animoji stickers. Siri got new, more natural voice.
tvOS 13 was also released for public testers. You can download the new update by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under “System.” “Get Public Beta Updates” will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.
tvOS got new Home screen focused to make easier to find new content with support for autoplaying videos to show off new TV shows, movies, and apps, similar to Netflix.
Probably we won’t see requested multi-user support in iPadOS, but in tvOS 13 is already available, so every family member can customize his tvOS experience. Like in iOS 13 / iPadOS 13 and macOS Catalina, tvOS 13 will get support for Apple Arcade service. It will provides access to handy selected exclusive games for one subscription fee. Apple Arcade supports Xbox Wireless Bluetooth Controller and the PlayStation DualShock 4 Controller for better gaming experience.
Apple TV got new under-the-sea themed screensavers made in partnership with the BBC Natural History unit and Picture-In-Picture support, which we know from iOS / iPadOS and macOS.
If you wan to participate in beta testing, go to Apple’s beta testing website, enroll your device(s) and download proper profile. Then just use classic update system to get new betas of chosen operating systems.