How to upgrade to macOS Catalina

Learn how to download and install macOS Catalina, the latest version of the Mac operating system.

iMac and MacBook Pro showing the Catalina background

macOS Catalina gives you more of everything you love about Mac. Experience music, TV, and podcasts in three all-new Mac apps. Enjoy your favorite iPad apps now on your Mac. Extend your workspace and expand your creativity with iPad and Apple Pencil. And discover smart new features in the apps you use every day. Now you can take everything you do above and beyond.


Check compatibility

If you're using one of these computers with OS X Mavericks or later,* you can install macOS Catalina. Your Mac also needs at least 4GB of memory and 12.5GB of available storage space, or up to 18.5GB of storage space when upgrading from OS X Yosemite or earlier.

MacBook introduced in 2015 or later
MacBook Air introduced in 2012 or later
MacBook Pro introduced in 2012 or later
Mac mini introduced in 2012 or later
iMac introduced in 2012 or later
iMac Pro (all models)
Mac Pro introduced in 2013 or later

* To upgrade from Lion or Mountain Lion, first upgrade to El Capitan, then upgrade to Catalina. To find your macOS version, Mac model, memory, and storage space, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu . If your Mac isn't compatible with macOS Catalina, the installer will let you know. View the complete list of compatible computers.

  

Make a backup

Before installing any upgrade, it’s a good idea to back up your Mac. Time Machine makes it simple, and other backup methods are also available. Learn how to back up your Mac.

  

Get connected

It takes time to download and install macOS, so make sure that you have a reliable Internet connection. If you're using a Mac notebook computer, plug it into AC power. 

  

Download macOS Catalina

If you're using macOS Mojave, get macOS Catalina via Software Update: Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Software Update.

Or use this link to open the macOS Catalina page on the App Store: Get macOS Catalina. Then click the Get button or iCloud download icon.

   

Begin installation

After downloading, the installer opens automatically.

Click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions. You might find it easiest to begin installation in the evening so that it can complete overnight, if needed. 

If the installer asks for permission to install a helper tool, enter the administrator name and password that you use to log in to your Mac, then click Add Helper.

Catalina installer screen  

Allow installation to complete

Please allow installation to complete without putting your Mac to sleep or closing its lid. Your Mac might restart, show a progress bar, or show a blank screen several times as it installs both macOS and related updates to your Mac firmware.

  

Stay up to date

After installing macOS Catalina, you will be notified when updates to macOS Catalina are available. You can also use Software Update to check for updates: Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Software Update.
   

Or get macOS Catalina automatically

If you're using OS X El Capitan v10.11.5 or later and your App Store preferences or Software Update preferences are set to download new updates when available, macOS Catalina will download conveniently in the background, making it even easier to upgrade. A notification will inform you when macOS Catalina is ready to be installed. Click Install to get started, or dismiss the notification to install later. When you're ready to install, just open the file named Install macOS Catalina from your Applications folder.


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