advice regarding Catalina

As you can see from my signature area below, I’m still using Mojave as my Mac OS. I find myself strangely reluctant to upgrade to Catalina, even though I know the issues it had in relation to Dorico (or vice versa) have been almost entirely resolved. Perhaps I just like sand dunes better than islands!

In any event, I’d like to hear from some people who HAVE upgraded, as to how much better (?) everything including Dorico works as a result of the upgrade. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means definitely not to do it, to 10, where you feel I’m missing out on a very important part of life if I don’t do it, what’s your advice to me? (Just assign a number if you don’t feel like going into detail!) :smiley:


I’ve been running Catalina for about a month and a half I guess. Everything Docoro, Slate, EWQL, Tokyo Dawn, Serum, works smoothly for me. There wasn’t any fuss during or after the upgrade, but I don’t think you are missing out on an important part of your life :slight_smile:

I think its worthwhile, but its like a wine connoisseur pointing hints of floral, smoky accents or whatever. It’s not a “wow, that’s spicy” kind of thing. I like it, think the technical changes that they made are unavoidable, and if you wait too long you will have compatibility problems but that won’t be for a while. I really wanted the sidecar functionality but alas, my iPad is too old to be compatible.

It’s all good! Upgrade away!!

I have a number of issues but none are related to Dorico. Except for two apps promising 64 bit versions (and running waaaaay late), everything else has been solved by throwing money at the problem, normally in paid upgrades of apps that worked for a very long time.

Even those two straggler apps, neither is critical to my work. Either they’ll be updated or I’ll have to buy something else. It would be convenient if those two companies got up to date, however.

PF Snow–

If I’m reading your signature line correctly, you’re still running Mohave on your desktop, but Catalina on your laptop? Is that correct?
If that’s right and you don’t mind revealing why, I’d be curious why you haven’t updated the desktop yet?


Happy to answer that.

The laptop is my test machine; I run a business and make my living on my iMac Pro. Everything gets vetted on the MBP and I’m so glad I did. I can’t be in a position where I’m surprised by something not working after the upgrade. If I know beforehand and can take that into account, that’s different.

So, I’m making progress but am not in a big hurry.

Once I make the change, I may revert to an older Mac OS on the MBP so that I can open file types that will never make the transition to any 64 bit app. Frankly, I’m trying to avoid that but it may not be possible. For example, I do very little scanning of music anymore so I’m not waiting on the promised 64 bit upgrade of SmartScore X2 Pro to go to Catalina but I still want that functionality now and then. Recently, I read on another forum about an app that can convert old .cwx and other graphics files but only the 32 bit version can—I need to do these and save in the new format where the 64 bit version can open them. Stuff like that.

Because I was having so many problems with the keyboard on my 2018 MacBook Pro 15", I’ve just last week got hold of a new 2019 MacBook Pro 16" (for which I am very grateful, because the new keyboard is fantastic, much closer to how the keyboard used to be on my previous machine, a 2015 MacBook Pro 15"), and of course these new machines cannot run any version of macOS earlier than Catalina.

So far, only a few days in, I’m not experiencing too many problems. The only real issues I have are that the version of Adobe Illustrator I have used since joining Steinberg in 2012, CS6, won’t install on Catalina, and although Sibelius 7.1.3 itself (the last known good version of that application :slight_smile: ) runs, Avid License Control, which is required to activate it, is a 32-bit application and won’t run on Catalina, so I cannot activate my Sibelius license. I’m not going to pay to subscribe to Sibelius Ultimate just to open some old scores of mine, so I’ll have to run Sibelius on Windows when I need access to those scores.

In general I think the main thing to be wary of is whether any of the applications you rely on have 32-bit components, as both Illustrator CS6 and Sibelius 7 are themselves 64-bit applications, but still don’t run on Catalina because of ancillary or supporting utilities or components that are still 32-bit. You could try running Go64 to see which apps are going to be the ones that you will no longer be able to run on the new macOS.

If you use any other music software or plugins I would suggest checking the compatibility list at:

Daniel, you could use an older MacOS in Parallels or other VM. I run Mountain Lion inside a VM on my 2014 MBP, so that I can use Creative Suite, Filemaker Pro and other old friends.

To the OP: I generally suggest a middle-ground between updating to the very latest and never updating. Lagging years behind can mean that new apps won’t work, and you don’t get bug fixes and security patches; and when you do upgrade in one big jump, it’ll be a major undertaking. Conversely: new OSes can introduce as many bugs as they fix, and unless there’s some crucial feature or compatibility requirement you need, you can close more doors behind you than you open in front of you.

I normally wait till the .4 or .5 update of MacOS before moving up. By this stage, most of the bugs have been ironed out; and third-party apps have been updated.

hi, i just bought a new macbook pro 16", that comes pre-installed with Catalina and no option to downgrade.
Unfortunately my old 2013 maxed out MB Pro became to slow, so i had to upgrade.

I can tell you now that (in my case) Cubase 10.5 works, but with some hacks and issues.
Had to go into Terminal at least 20-30 times, when plugins wouldnt install or got blacklisted by Cubase.
Also, I made some Superdupers after each big step, so i could go back to previous states (not like Time Machine).

The most important thing to do BEFORE installing Catalina is checking the websites of plugin devs, to see if the plugins are Catalina compatible.
For instance, i had difficulties installing Ozone 8, and other iZotope plugins.
And check if you need special drivers (eLicense Control still gives me warnings when opening Cubase, but it works).

For now, it works, but it has some glitches and unstable situations, but nothing that is in the way of actual music production.
I think it all depends on what kind of plugins you use, so its kind of a hit and miss.

if you have the option, and SPECIALLY if you are a professional and rely on your work…i would NOT update right now.

Why should you update, if you have a working computer?
Until a month ago i was still releasing songs i produced on Cubase 9 (still my favourite) with Mavericks.
And im in the charts right now, so for my case…it just worked.

Hope this helps!

Yep, I know that pain. I had to go back to Mojave, authorize Adobe and run the latest updater, then I could upgrade to Catalina. Since CS6 was 64 bit, it should work if there’s a way to install it. I will check some sources I know in the Deep State of Cupertino.

Don’t know about Sibelius since I’ve never owned a license.

Any chance you can use Migration Assistant to move either of them over?

Photoshop CS6 and Illustrator CS6 are 64-bit apps, but components they rely on, such as the Adobe Update Manager and the stuff to check that it’s an authorised copy, are still 32-bit. Most reports are that these apps won’t run reliably.

I think that semi-rhetorical question lies at the core of my reluctance, and your post has convinced me to wait awhile

And to you and Daniel, if I could afford a 2019 16 inch I would certainly spring for it, as the extra inch couldn’t hurt anything and I like some of the new features very much. However, I can’t, so oh well.

Thanks everybody! All very helpful replies. :smiley:


I’ve just taken the plunge and upgraded from El Capitan to Catalina for more or less two reasons: 1) collaborating with a designer who is using Sketch I needed a more recent version of that application than was working on El Capitan and 2) I took the opportunity to buy the Dorico 3 upgrade at the recent discount price, but to make use of it, I need to upgrade the OS since El Capitan isn’t supported anymore.

This came at the price of losing my beloved Adobe Fireworks CS5 and my even more beloved time tracking and invoicing application Billings 3. :cry: And, yeah, I also lost Finale 2014.5 but I expected that and have migrated all my work before via MusicXML. While Affinity Designer (or Sketch for that matter) are good replacements for Fireworks there doesn’t seem to be any modern application for time tracking and invoicing that is not relying on “the cloud” and some stupid SaaS subscription service.
And ironically, I haven’t had the time to work with Dorico since the upgrade. But it was just like two days ago, so I guess there’s no need to hurry.

I also bought the new 16” MacBook Pro and naïvely didn’t realize until after the purchase that there was no way to downgrade from it’s built-in Catalina to Mojave (normally I would wait at least a year to upgrade to the latest operating system to be safe). I’ve observed no problems with Dorico or Logic Pro. However, I have to say that I found Catalina to be quite unstable – in fact, I literally just spent seven hours on the phone with Apple support trying to resolve an issue of my contacts not syncing properly between my different devices. I finally was only able to resolve it by creating a secondary iCloud account only for messaging and contacts. Similarly, I’ve had trouble with Mail being extremely unstable. I will say that I “lazily” used Migration Assistant to do the transfer from a Mojave backup, and if I had to do it again I would recommend at least doing a clean install, even with all of the pain that that entails (or upgrading the previous computer to Catalina before doing the transfer). Love the speed of the new MacBook Pro otherwise, though of course (64 gigs of RAM included)…

  • D.D.

macOS 10.14.6 (is it still the last version of Mojave?) is stabler than macOS 10.15.3.

I use frequently zoom by scrolling while pressing the ctrl key.
I use multiple displays and I want only to zoom a display. Thus, I use picture-in-picture. There is a problem. The size of the zoom box is reset always. I reported this, but Apple has not responded. It worked well under macOS 10.14.6.

Except this, Catalina seems to be OK. However, I did not intensively use other software.

Finale V25 (not compatible with Catalina) displays score to slowly, so scrolling music is very slow. Anyway, I use it only for exporting musicXML.
Finale V26DEMO has no such problem under catalina.

The most recent version of Parallels Desktop runs also perfectly under Catalina.

Since 26 fixed the Retina display issue and 25 didn’t, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

It’s really a shame the next version of Dorico will only run starting from Catalina. It’s the only reason that will force me to update. Something I would like to avoid.

Catalina will force me to find more complicate ways of using Adobe CS6 software. I can’t abandon them until an alternative solution is ready. “Upgrading” to CC is not viable, since all the ecosystem I work with is and will still be on CS6.

Not only this: I’ve just spent a few hours with Catalina, and on my HP Z27 4k monitor it looks awful. I’ve reactivated some font smoothing from the Terminal, but returning to High Sierra was like having my view on focus again. The only solution is to work at a ridiculously low resolution, and make all the elements in the UI big as in a game machine.

And then, the recurring reports of severe bugs not solved, that will not be solved now that Big Sur is out.

It would be a great gift, if we can find that at least the next release will still run on High Sierra. One year again in a safe place…


I’m sure you know, but CS6 is almost 9 years old, and has long been abandoned by Adobe, with no updates to keep it running on new OS versions. (In fact, for several years Apple even added ‘exceptional code’ in their OSes especially to keep CS6 working.)

Relying on something --commercially, collaboratively, or professionally-- that can only be used in increasingly restricted circumstances is unsustainable. It barely works in Mojave. (Just about, with various crashes and cosmetic issues.)
Hoping for ‘another year’ is not realistic.

You can run it in a Virtual Machine; you can invest in old hardware to run it; you can dual boot, or you can agree with your ‘ecosystem’ to all upgrade to Creative Cloud. Or move to alternatives.

As for severe bugs: what’s to stop you upgrading to Big Sur, instead of Catalina? (Because that’s where the Catalina bugs will now be fixed). High Sierra had some particularly nasty bugs: PDFKit was notoriously bad.

This is very unlikely. We plan to use the Qt 6 framework for the next major version of Dorico, and that requires at least macOS 10.15 Catalina. It’s possible, though unlikely, that our plans could change, but that would require at the very least the Qt Company to officially support Apple Silicon in Qt 5.15, which they appear to have no plans to do.