What are the macOS Catalina system requirements

macOS Catalina was the 16th major release for Apple's operating system. It included tons of new features, covering everything from iPad compatibility (Catalyst makes it easy to port iPad apps to Mac) to security (Gatekeeper will require Apple-notarized Developer ID for apps) to entertainment (new apps for Podcasts, TV, and Music), besides the usual improvements to all the native software.

macOS Catalina is no longer new after being succeeded by macOS Big Sur in 2020. Still, it has a lot to offer, especially if your Mac runs Mojave or even older macOS. 

Is my Mac Compatible With macOS Catalina?

Regardless of whether you want to install the beta or wait for the official public release, one question will inevitably pop up in your head — is my Mac compatible with macOS Catalina? Good question! Let’s look at the macOS Catalina compatibility chart to find out.

List of macOS Catalina supported Macs

Overall, due to the numerous efficiency improvements under the hood, macOS Catalina supported Macs are nearly identical to those of macOS Mojave:

  • MacBook (2015 or later)
  • MacBook Air (2012 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (2012 or later)
  • iMac (2012 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or later)
  • Mac mini (2012 or later)

The only difference you might find is the new macOS Catalina requirements not covering Mac Pros ranging from 2010 to 2012. So unless you have that specific Mac Pro model you should be able to try the new operating system.

However, in case your Mac is on the older side, barely managing to load the macOS won’t result in a pleasant experience. For example, Apple specifies that running 4K as well as Dolby Atmos content is only possible with Macs introduced in 2018 or later that boast 4K screens.

But don’t hurry to the Apple Store just yet. If watching videos in 4K is not an absolute necessity, you could simply optimize the Mac you have for faster performance and run macOS Catalina without a problem.

What are macOS Catalina storage requirements?

To run properly, macOS Catalina needs a considerable amount of disk space. It’s generally recommended to keep at least 15% of your main drive free. But remember, you’ll also need space for future macOS updates and all the new software that goes with Catalina. So you should think of freeing up storage way beforehand, while you’re still on Mojave or other older OS.

The general space goals to aim for here:

  • 15–20 GB of free storage.
  • 4 GB of RAM.

Upgrade smoothly: remove outdated system files

The best way to rise above the basic macOS Catalina requirements is to do a thorough scan of your Mac and purge all the useless data that you’ve accumulated over the years. Quite a hefty task if you choose to do it manually: your Mac has a ton of system files and invisible folders that require the use of Terminal to get to. Luckily, there's a software designed to take care of it all automatically. 

CleanMyMac X is the easiest and the most thorough way to bring your Mac back to its pristine original state. In fact, the app is so helpful and intuitive that it was recognized as the “#1 Product of the Month” by Product Hunt. 

Here are the kind of files you should try to get rid of: 

  • User and system cache files.
  • System and user log files.
  • Language files.
  • Broken login items.

To do so with CleanMyMac X, simply: 

  1. Download the free version of the app.
  2. In the sidebar, navigate to System Junk and hit Scan.
  3. Review Details and then Clean anything you don’t need.
CleanMyMac X - User cache files in System Junk module

Even though I’ve been using CleanMyMac X on a regular basis, the System Junk scan has revealed over 11 GB of files I no longer need. Imagine how much dead weight your Mac can carry! 

Maximize your storage space

Once you clean your Mac from all the system and user-generated junk, you’ll notice improvements in responsiveness and speed right away. But it’s not only outdated files that slow your Mac down. 

To hit all macOS Catalina system requirements, you need to have as much of your hard drive free as possible. This might include, for example, legitimate but long-forgotten documents you haven’t opened in years.

The good news is you can see what’s taking up your hard drive capacity with a new feature in CleanMyMac X called Space Lens, which creates an interactive visual map of all your files and folders:

  1. Open up CleanMyMac X (or download for free here).
  2. Go to Space Lens under the Files tab.
  3. Hit Scan and wait for the process to finish.
  4. Explore all the interactive bubbles and remove the folders you no longer need.
Scan completed in Space lens module in CleanMyMacX

With no extra system files or unused heavy folders dragging you down, your older Mac will become brand new again, agile enough to take on the macOS Catalina. Best of all, just one app — CleanMyMac X — can do it all for you.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.