macOS Catalina problems and fixes

Hello, thrill seekers. Looks like you’ve installed macOS Catalina Beta knowing it’s not perfect and despite all warnings ended up here. You are not alone. We’ve rummaged through the internet and collected all macOS Catalina issues known to date. And boy, there’s a lot of wrongs to fix.

1. Can’t install macOS Catalina

You’ve unpacked macOS Catalina installer and now it is stuck on the initial reboot. All you can see is a black screen and even a hard reboot doesn’t help it. Though it’s perfectly normal for an installation to take some time (sometimes up to 10 hours), you can try a few workarounds.

macos catalina problems

Solution # 1: Install Catalina in the Safe Mode

  1. Press and hold down the Power key to shut down your computer.
    2. Now, hold down Shift while it’s booting up.

    You will see the Apple logo on a greyish background with a progress bar. After you entered the Safe mode, run the Catalina installer again. Hopefully, it reaches completion this time.

Tip: Press Command + L in the middle of the macOS installation. You will see if it’s still active and the remaining time before completion.

Solution # 2: Do a PRAM and SMC Reset

It’s one of those last-ditch solutions that restore deep system settings including kernel information. It isn’t something you should be doing regularly but in our case, it’s worth trying.

How to reset PRAM

1.Shut down your computer
2. Press the Power key
3. Immediately press Command + Option + P + R keys
4. Hold down the keys until your Mac reboots
5. Let go of the keys

      macos catalina issues

      To reset SMC

      1. Turn off your Mac
      2. Hold down Control + Shift + Option and press power
      3. Hold the buttons for 10-15 sec
      4. Release the keys and restart your Mac

      After you’re done, repeat macOS Catalina installation from scratch.

      Solution # 3: Free up space on your drive

      macOS Catalina takes up about 30 GB on your drive. That’s unprecedented in macOS history. When you see the "macOS Catalina cannot be installed on Macintosh" message, this sometimes means lack of storage. Therefore, free up some space on your Mac.

      How to free up space? Move your largest files onto an external drive — will take you about 20 minutes. Or if it looks like too much fuss, free up your storage with CleanMyMac X. It’s a tool that is actually notarized by Apple (shouldn’t be confused with MacKeeper). 

      You’ll easily remove 7-10 GBs of system garbage. Then you can install macOS Catalina on a drive that’s clean and refreshed.

      problems with macos catalina

      Here I’ve found a link to a free version of this app — enjoy.

      2. macOS Catalina freezes upon reboot

      The situation looks like this: macOS Catalina has completed the install, and after you restart your Mac it is stuck on login screen. You see the progress bar but it isn’t going anywhere. What to do?

      As one user pointed out, the problem may be caused by 3d party kernel extensions or kexts. They act as drivers — if you like a Windows analogy — and give access to your Mac’s hardware.

      Solution: Move Library Extensions

      As a band-aid solution, you can relocate your /Library/Extensions kexts to a backup folder. As confirmed by many users, this fixes macOS Catalina stuck on reboot problem.

      To perform this, you will need Terminal app:

      Click Launchpad > Terminal
      Now paste in the following command

      mkdir ~/Extensions-Backup && sudo mv /Library/Extensions/* ~/Extensions-Backup/

      This command relocates your Library Extensions to the username/Extensions Backup folder. Later you can put the Extensions back where they belong at: /Library/Extensions.

      3. macOS Catalina apps not working

      app is not optimized for your mac | macOS catalina issues

      This is one of the macOS Catalina problems that trails back to macOS Mojave. As you’ve probably heard, app architecture knows 2 types: 32-bit and 64-bit. The 32-bit apps will not be supported on macOS Catalina, period. Sadly, they are not just some lo-fi indie apps, we are talking Photoshop!

      Did you know:Apple states that 64-bit apps use memory more effectively and so will work faster on your Mac.

      Solution # 1: Check how many 32-bit apps you have

      There’s a quick way to count your potentially problematic applications.

      1. Click the Apple logo > About this Mac > System report
      2. Now find Applications in the sidebar.
      macos catalina bugs

      To have a deeper look into your apps, where they come from, and how much space they are taking, run the Uninstaller tool in CleanMyMac X. Download this program here — it’s free to download.

      Launch the app and click the Uninstaller tab

      Here you can see your 32-bit apps and sort apps by “Last used.”

      For example, I found a 32-bit video editor, which I didn’t realize was there, stealing away 600 MB of my space.

      Solution # 2: Reset an app that misbehaves

      If a particular app stopped working on macOS Catalina, you can reset it with CleanMyMac. This operation doesn’t delete any user data and only restores it to the default state. In 9 out of 10 cases this helps solve syncing issues and sudden app freeze-ups.

      Choose an app from the list in the Uninstaller (see screenshot above)
      Now click on the drop-down menu under “Uninstall” button
      Click on the Reset button that appears

      Solution # 2: Update your applications

      In anticipation of various macOS Catalina issues, some developers have already optimized their programs for the new OS. Go to the developer’s site and download the latest available version.

      Yes, I’ve already told you about CleanMyMac, but it appears to have just the right tool to handle macOS updates. It automatically updates every single app on your Mac. Though it may take some time, it’s a smart way to debug your macOS Catalina apps.

      Once you get CleanMyMac X, click the Updater tab in the sidebar.
      Click Select All above the app list
      Now, click Update

      Catalina won't install

      4. macOS 10.15 Catalina running slow

      Quite expectedly, some of the most reported issues on macOS Catalina are speed-related. Some background processes are hogging the CPU, most notably, the fileproviderd process. Thing is, macOS 10.15 Catalina heavily exchanges data with web-related processes, like cloud storages. There are countless rough edges to this process.

      Solution #1: #Disable the fileproviderd process

      Go to Launchpad > Activity monitor

      how to fix macOS Catalina issues

      Here you’ll need to figure out what process is eating up the most resources. Watch out for the processes named mds and fileproviderd. If they take up 80-100% of CPU, try closing them using the [X] button above.

      Solution # 2: Disable browser extensions

      Browser extensions may be the culprit of many macOS Catalina issues. Leave the bare minimum of browser extensions and see how your Mac reacts.

      is macos catalina stable

      5. Onedrive stopped working

      If you noticed that Onedrive is broken on macOS 10.15 Catalina, you are not alone. If Microsoft’s Onedrive client is no longer able to find your folder, there is an easy fix.


      • Unlink your Onedrive
      • Log out (quit) Onedrive client app
      • Remove Onedrive folder on your Mac
      • Set it up from scratch

      That should make it work again.

        6. Side-Car problems on macOS Catalina

        problems with macOS Catalina: Side-car not working

        SideCar is a feature that doubles your workspace as you can use an iPad as a second monitor. The common issue here is inability to connect your iPad to the computer. First off, make sure you have iPadOS installed on your iPad. Then, find your Mac in the list of SideCar-supported models:

        • Late 2015 27″ iMac 
        • 2017 iMac Pro
        • Mid 2016 MacBook Pro 
        • Late 2018 Mac mini 
        • Late 2018 MacBook Air 
        • Early 2016 MacBook 
        • 2019 Mac Pro

        If your Mac is pre-2015, there’s still a workaround to enable SideCar.

        Open Terminal and paste in the following command:

        defaults write allowAllDevices -bool YES

        Did it make the trick? Unfortunately, this combination is not guaranteed to work.

        More solutions:

        Given your Mac is SideCar compatible, connect the iPad with a cable instead of a wireless connection. If it doesn’t work, delete your old wifi connections and try connecting again. 

        To delete your old Wi-Fi connections, you can go with a free tool in CleanMyMac X:

        Run CleanMyMac
        Click on the Privacy tab in the sidebar
        Choose Wi-Fi networks to remove

        Fixes to macOS catalina problems

        Try reconnecting the iPad.

        7. Cannot download folders from iCloud

        iCloud integration is one of those weak spots that produce tons of bugs. Fixes for such macOS Catalina problems are already on the way. 


        If you cannot download folders from iCloud, download each file individually. Unfortunately, this is the only available workaround at this point.

        Did you know: Some part of your iCloud data is stored on both Google and Amazon data centers.

        A few universal fixes to macOS 10.15 Catalina issues

        # 1. Quit and restart/reopen an app or a document that malfunctions — works for 80% of the issues  

        # 2. Restart your Mac and try logging in under a different user

        # 3. Check your Mac for hidden background apps and disable those

          How to check your macOS Catalina for hidden processes

          There are many so-called daemons or Launch Agents that operate in the background on your Mac. They could be small applications, like Google Software Updater or a notifications scheduler, or in worst cases, advertising scripts. The best way to deal with them is to look underneath your macOS processes and disable anything even remotely suspicious.

          Launch the free edition of CleanMyMac — it’s optimized for macOS Catalina

          Find the Speed tool with 2 options Optimization and Maintenance
          Click Launch Agents

          Study your memory processes closely. Run the Launch Agents too see the background apps. Additionally, click Heavy Consumers, and switch off any item you don’t need.

          Hidden apps, 32-bit macOS 10.15 Catalina

          That was our little take on common macOS 10.15 Catalina problems. Something tells us there’ll be lots of newly discovered headaches once Catalina is out of Beta. But If you feel you’ve had your share of incompatibilities and bugs, you can always go back and clean install macOS Mojave

          CleanMyMac X
          CleanMyMac X

          Your Mac. As good as new.