How to upgrade to macOS Catalina & Fix Catalina Problems

Apple recently released the latest version of its Mac operating system. macOS Catalina will introduce a number of new features to your Mac. This article explains how you can upgrade to macOS Catalina. This article also teaches you how to fix the most common macOS Catalina problems.

Before upgrading

1. Installing macOS Catalina may take many hours. Make sure you’re connected to a power source if you are using a notebook computer.

2. Not all models can support Catalina. Is your Mac compatible? You can install Catalina on the following Mac models.

The macOS Catalina compatible Macs:

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

You can check your version by going to the Apple menu > About This Mac. If your Mac is not compatible, the installer will let you know.

3. Back up your Mac. This is important, the upgrade may not go as planned. And many things can go wrong. You can use Time Machine.

4. Make sure that your Mac has at least 12.5GB free space. If you do not have ample room, make room. You can check your available storage by going to Apple menu > About This Mac, then click Storage. You can click the Manage button to open Storage Management. If you need more space, you may want to delete old and unused apps, empty Trash, compress large files, etc. This will also speed up your Mac.

5. You can install Catalina if your computer is currently running OS X Mavericks or later. You can learn your macOS name by going to Apple menu > About This Mac.


1. To upgrade from macOS Mojave:

  • On your Mac, go to Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Software Update.

Catalina Upgrade now

To upgrade from other macOS versions (Mavericks or later):

2. Click Upgrade Now. Your Mac will start downloading the macOS Catalina software. Depending on your Internet connection, it may take several hours.

download catalina

3. Once the download is done, the macOS Catalina installer will open. The installer says “to set up the installation of macOS Catalina, click Continue. Click Continue:Catalina Installer

4. The next screen will ask you to agree to the software terms. Click Agree.

Software terms

5. The next window will ask you where. e.g., Machintosh HD,  you want to install this upgrade. Click Install. You may have to enter your Admin password.

where do you want to install

6. Installation will start. When it is done, you will need to click Restart to restart your computer.


When your computer restart, just follow the onscreen instructions and you will be done.

Common Catalina Problems

The Request Timed Out

The request timed out

This error occurs because of poor Internet connections. Please make sure that you have a reliable Internet connection. And then retry again.

This problem may also occur because of the fact that a lot of people are trying to download macOS Catalina at the same time. Just wait and try again later.

Not Enough Free Space

The macOS Catalina installation may also fail if you do not have enough storage space available on your Mac. If you are having this problem, you may get an error message saying “macOS could not be installed on your computer. There is not enough free space on Macintosh HD  to install. Quit the installer to restart your computer and try again.”

As stated above, you need at least 12.5 GB free space available on your Mac. This article explains how you can free up hard disk space on your Mac.

Installation Stuck: Setting Up Your Mac…

Press and hold the power button on your Mac for up to 10 seconds, until your Mac turns off and then turn your Mac back on. Your Mac should start up normally.

If that does not solve, please see this article.

Stuck on Screen Time set up

Press the power or Touch ID button for up to 10 seconds until your Mac powers off and then restart your Mac.

Spotlight, Mail Search is not working

Try rebuilding the Spotlight index. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Spotlight. Now click Privacy and add folders or disks that you want to index and exit Preferences. See also: Spotlight not working?

Other Catalina problems:

  1. helpermcp” will damage your computer. You should move it to the Bin.
  2. Dock Keeps Disappearing On Your Mac? Fix
  3. Relocated Items Folder, MacOS Catalina
  4. macOS Catalina Application Damaged, Can’t Be Used, Fix
  5. Update Apple ID Settings

You can also always contact Apple support.

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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44 thoughts on “How to upgrade to macOS Catalina & Fix Catalina Problems”

  1. After I updated to Catalina none of my applications can access my drives (apparently though I can see them, they don’t exist). I am unable to properly edit my podcast files, for some reason I sound like a smurf and cannot change it, and I am unable to amend access to files…I HATE This new system, they should create an easy rollback – I know I would use it. This reminds me of the panic that people experienced when accidentally updating Win 7 or 8 to Win 10…I made so much money helping them rollback their machines. Why is that option not available here?

  2. Ever since I updated my OS to Catalina, I’ve been unable to open the MedibangPaintPro app that I use for my illustrations. Each time I try to open it, it tells me it can’t be trusted since it cannot be scanned for malicious software. It is an app that I downloaded off the internet, but I’ve been using this app before Catalina without any problems. All my unfinished projects are trapped inside this app and there’s no option to fix the issue or to manually open it. It’s quite frustrating. Now I got a prompt to install new updates this morning 7.11.2019, I did, hoping they had fixed the problems, only to be faced with a new set of problems. After entering my password, it just takes me to a blank screen without icons or any home applications. The only thing I see is the voice control. It doesn’t even open apps when I tell it to. This is frustrating. Any advice on how to get my home screen apps back to show at the bottom of my screen?
    Thanks in advance.

    • I keep trying to SAVE a super-essential Pages file but I keep getting the same message with a “!” as its ‘logo’!

      The messages always say my “file can’t be opened right now” (despite the fact that it is already open). Also, it says “Pages couldn’t read the file.” I’m afraid to quit Pages as it could reject my changes, or worse, lose the file!

    • Same here. I cannot open any files in Pages. I have been on the phone with numerous assistants and no one has been able to assist. When I turn the computer completely off and then on again, Pages returns. However, within a few days, the same thing occurs. I cannot believe no one from Apple can resolve the issue. I emailed and called Senior Advisor in Creative Media, but have not heard back. So sorry I upgraded to Catalina.

  3. Hi after upgrading to Catalina on my imac I have lost the ability to use Word, Powerpoint or any office application – I do not want to have to purchase them again! Also when in Outlook, any emails I delete, return after 2 minutes, very annoying. One good thing is that my computer now starts much quicker. Any suggestions?

  4. I’m trying to update from Mojave on Macbook Pro 2017, but each time when I type in my admin password, I get “access denied” error message. Password is good, as I can use it for everything else, so I don’t know what’s up.

  5. After updating to Catalina last week, almost all my apps run TERRIBLY slowly on my 2016 iMac…Apple please release bugfix quickly..

  6. Impossible to update with last version .
    My machine has 10.15.1(19B86a) , when I try Tod a manually update by Software update , it said that no new updater are available .. Try to go also on Apple store but same situation, no update . Any idea , suggestion?
    Best regards,

  7. Why can I not DELETE any photos in Photos since upgrading to Catalina? Some show a message: %#@messageFormat@. Does this mean some sort of reformatting is required?
    I have tried deleting in Photos, My Memory Stream, Memories, etc. Cannot delete anything!


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