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How to know if your Mac will work with Apple's MacOS update this fall

See if your Mac will be able to run MacOS Catalina.

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Catalina is the next major update to MacOS.

Apple

Apple on Monday revealed the next major update to MacOS. The announcement came on the first day of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Apple said the free update, coming this fall, will be called Catalina and replace iTunes with three dedicated media apps -- Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV ($169 at Walmart). Catalina will let you use an iPad as a second display for the Mac and as a drawing tablet. And Catalina will include the ability to run iPad apps.

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While MacOS Catalina will bring a raft of new and improved features to the Mac, its hardware requirements remain the same as for MacOS Mojave, the current version of the OS.

MacOS Catalina will be available for these Macs:

To check which Mac you have, from the Apple menu, choose About This Mac. The Overview tab displays information about your Mac.

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The About This Mac window can tell you which Mac you have.

Screenshot by Clifford Colby/CNET

MacOS Catalina public beta

If you can't wait till fall, Apple said it will release a public beta of Catalina in July. The public beta is a chance to monitor Catalina's progress and help Apple identify issues before the next version of MacOS officially ships this fall. By joining Apple's public beta program, you can also try out prerelease versions of iOS 13, iPadOS and TVOS 13.

If you decide to run the public beta, first make sure you have a good, current backup of the contents of your Mac's drive, in case something goes south during the installation. And consider installing the Catalina public beta on an external storage device or a separate partition, not on your primary Mac drive. That way, if something goes wrong with the beta, or if you decide you want to return to Mojave, rolling back will be much easier.

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