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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
- If the installer shows a list of apps that are not optimized for your Mac, learn about 32-bit app compatibility, then choose whether to proceed with the installation.
- For the strongest security and latest features, upgrade to macOS Catalina. If you have hardware or software that isn't compatible with Catalina, you might be able to install an earlier macOS, such as Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, or El Capitan.
- You can also use macOS Recovery to reinstall macOS.
Beautiful app icons are an important part of the user experience on all Apple platforms. A unique, memorable icon evokes your app and can help people recognize it at a glance on the desktop, in Finder, and in the Dock. Polished, expressive icons can also hint at an app’s personality and even its overall level of quality.
In macOS 11, app icons share a common set of visual attributes, including the rounded-rectangle shape, front-facing perspective, level position, and uniform drop shadow. Rooted in the macOS 11 design language, these attributes showcase the lifelike rendering style people expect in macOS while presenting a harmonious user experience. To download templates that specify the correct shape and drop shadow, see Apple Design Resources.
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IMPORTANT When you update your app for macOS 11, use your new app icon design to replace the icon you designed for earlier versions. You can’t include two different app icons for one app, and the macOS 11 app icon style looks fine on a Mac running Catalina or earlier.
Design a beautiful icon that clearly represents your app. Combine an engaging design with an artistic interpretation of your app’s purpose that people can instantly understand.
Embrace simplicity. Find a concept or element that captures the essence of your app and express it in a simple, unique way, adding details only when doing so enhances meaning. Too many details can be hard to discern and can make the icon appear muddy, especially at smaller sizes.
Establish a single focus point. A single, centered point of interest captures the user’s attention and helps them recognize your app at a glance. Presenting multiple focus points can obscure the icon’s message.
To give people a familiar and consistent experience, prefer a design that works well across multiple platforms. If your app runs on other platforms, use a similar image for all app icons while rendering them in the style that’s appropriate for each platform. For example, in iOS and watchOS, the Mail app icon depicts the white envelope in a streamlined, graphical style; in macOS 11, the envelope includes depth and detail that communicate a realistic weight and texture.
Consider depicting a familiar tool to communicate what people use your app to do. To give context to your app’s purpose, you can use the icon background to portray the tool’s environment or the items it affects. For example, the TextEdit icon pairs a mechanical pencil with a sheet of lined paper to suggest a utilitarian writing experience. After you create a detailed, realistic image of a tool, it often works well to let it float just above the background and extend slightly past the icon boundaries. If you do this, make sure the tool remains visually unified with the background and doesn’t overwhelm the rounded-rectangle shape.
Make real objects look real. If you depict real objects in your app icon, make them look like they’re made of physical materials and have actual mass. Replicate the characteristics of substances like fabric, glass, paper, and metal to convey an object’s weight and feel. For example, the Xcode app icon features a hammer that looks like it has a steel head and polymer grip.
If text is essential for communicating your app’s purpose, consider creating a graphic abstraction of it. Actual text in an icon can be difficult to read and doesn’t support accessibility or localization. To give the impression of text without implying that people should zoom in to read it, you can create a graphic texture that suggests it.
To depict photos or parts of your app’s UI, create idealized images that emphasize the features you want people to notice. Photos are often full of details that obscure the main content when viewed at small sizes. If you want to use a photo in your icon, pick one with strongly contrasting values that make the main subject stand out. Remove unimportant details that make primary lines and shapes fuzzy or indistinct. If your app has a UI that people recognize, avoid simply replicating standard UI elements or using a screenshot in your icon. Instead, consider designing a graphic that echoes the UI and expresses the personality of your app.
Don’t use replicas of Apple hardware products. Apple products are copyrighted and can’t be reproduced in your icons or images. Avoid displaying replicas of devices, because hardware designs tend to change frequently and can make your icon look dated.
Use the drop shadow in the icon-design template. The template includes the system-defined drop shadow that helps your app icon coordinate with other macOS 11 icons.
Consider using interior shadows and highlights to add definition and realism. For example, the Mail app icon uses both shadows and highlights to give the envelope authenticity and to suggest that the flap is slightly open. In icons that include a tool that floats above a background — such as TextEdit or Xcode — interior shadows can strengthen the perception of depth and make the tool look real. Shadows and highlights should suggest a light source that faces the icon, positioned just above center and tilted slightly downward.
Avoid defining contours that suggest a shape other than a rounded rectangle. In rare cases, you might want to fine-tune the basic app icon shape, but doing so risks creating an icon that looks like it doesn’t belong in macOS 11. If you must alter the shape, prefer subtle adjustments that continue to express a rounded rectangle silhouette.
Consider adding a slight glow just inside the edges of your icon. If your app icon includes a dark reflective surface, like glass or metal, add an inner glow to make the icon stand out and prevent it from appearing to dissolve into dark backgrounds.
Keep primary content within the icon grid bounding box; keep all content within the outer bounding box. If an icon’s primary content extends beyond the icon grid bounding box, it tends to look out of place. If you overlay a tool on your icon, it works well to align the tool’s top edge with the outer bounding box and its bottom edge with the inner bounding box, as shown below.
In addition to the bounding boxes and suggested tool placement, the icon design template provides a grid to help you position items within an icon. You can also use the icon grid to ensure that centered inner elements like circles use a size that’s consistent with other icons in the system.
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App Icon Attributes
All app icons should use the following specifications.
|Color space||Display P3 (wide-gamut color), sRGB (color), or Gray Gamma 2.2 (grayscale)|
|Layers||Flattened with transparency as appropriate|
|Resolution||@1x and @2x (see Image Size and Resolution)|
|Shape||Square with no rounded corners|
Don’t provide app icons in ICNS or JPEG format. The ICNS format doesn’t support features like wide color gamut or deliver the performance and efficiency you get when you use asset catalogs. JPEG doesn’t support transparency through alpha channels, and its compression can blur or distort an icon’s images. For best results, add deinterlaced PNG files to the app icon fields of your Xcode project’s asset catalog.
App Icon Sizes
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Your app icon is displayed in many places, including in Finder, the Dock, Launchpad, and the App Store. To ensure that your app icon looks great everywhere people see it, provide it in the following sizes:
- 512x512 pt (512x512 px @1x, 1024x1024 px @2x)
- 256x256 pt (256x256 px @1x, 512x512 px @2x)
- 128x128 pt (128x128 px @1x, 256x256 px @2x)
- 32x32 pt (32x32 px @1x, 64x64 px @2x)
- 16x16 pt (16x16 px @1x, 32x32 px @2x)
Maintain visual consistency in all icon sizes. As icon size decreases, fine details become muddy and hard to distinguish. At the smallest sizes, it’s important to remove unnecessary features and exaggerate primary features to help the content remain clear. As you simplify icons that are visually smaller, don’t let them appear drastically different from their larger counterparts. Strive to make subtle variations that ensure the icon remains visually consistent when displayed in different environments. For example, if people drag your icon between displays with different resolutions, the icon’s appearance shouldn’t suddenly change.
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The 512x512 pt Safari app icon (on the left) uses a circle of tick marks to indicate degrees; the 16x16 pt version of the icon (on the right) doesn’t include this detail.