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Common macOS Catalina Problems and Solutions: 11 Key Errors and their Fix

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This article describes the main macOS Catalina Problems and Solutions after installing macOS Catalina, from hardware to apps that will stop working after the upgrade, from data loss to the Mac that doesn’t start.

After the GM version release, the launch of the final version to the general public is just around the corner. Let’s find out what are the most common macOS Catalina Problems and Solutions.

macOS Catalina Problems and Solutions

The September/October two-month period is scorching for Apple, both on the Hardware and Software front. The new iPhones and iPads catalyzed the primary attention, and iOS 13 updates were characterized by some youth issues, quickly corrected by Apple. The final version of macOS Catalinais also finally available to everyone – since the Mac is for many professionals a pivotal work tool, caution is a must, and a guide to troubleshooting known issues can be beneficial.

macOS Catalina Features

Compared to the various Mojave, High Sierra, or previous ones, Catalina brings with it many exciting features:

macOS Catalina Problems and Solutions: How to fix?

Download/Install issues with macOS Catalina

Problem 1: An error occurred while installing macOS Catalina; how to fix it?

It can happen that during the installation process (and in the case of some configurations, it can also be very long), the procedure crashes for no apparent reason. In this case, we recommend trying to install Catalina via the safe mode of macOS. Please turn off your Mac altogether (possibly even forcing it to turn off by holding down the power button for a long time) and turn it back on by holding down the Shift key. This will give access to secure safe mode, a particular startup procedure that excludes all extensions and plugins not belonging to the operating system. Once you enter safe mode, rerun Catalina’s installer.

Perhaps not everyone knows that, during the macOS installation procedure, press “Command + L” to check if it is still active and the remaining time before completion.

Problem 2: Got stuck on “Setting up your Mac…” Screen?

You can get stuck on the “Setting up your Mac…” screen. Fortunately, there seems to be a straightforward solution to this problem: based on MacRumors reader reports, if this screen remains unchanged for more than half an hour, just forcibly restart your Mac, holding down the power button until you turn off the monitor. After that, simply turn it back on for the setup to be successful, and your Mac will present the login screen or desktop.

Problem 3: macOS Catalina runs in insufficient disk space; how to fix it?

It may happen that even in safe mode, it is not possible to install Catalina. It often occurs due to the limited disk space available, as Catalina also gets to take up 30GB of disk space. One solution may be to get rid of local time machine snapshots. These are local backups that macOS automatically performs and poured to a Time Machine disk when connected.

simply open the terminal and type;

tmutil listlocalsnapshots /

To get a list of the local snapshots on the disk. The names will appear in the format You will now need to type the sudo tmutil deletelocalsnapshots command followed by the snapshot’s date to delete. For example:

The terminal will confirm with Deleted local snapshot ‘2019-10-04-104240,‘ and space will be available again.

Sidecar Errors: Service Not Supported

Problem 4: Sidecar error: service not supported; how to fix it?

Sidecar is probably the most interesting feature introduced in Catalina, but it can only be used on some Macs/iPads. If the attempt to connect to the iPad ends with the message “Sidecar error: service not supported, “it is likely that the iPad is out of date with iPadOS 13 or that the hardware is not supported.

Macs compatible with macOS Catalina:

iPad models that support Sidecar

These are all models that support the Apple Pencil, namely:

If your Mac is earlier than 2015, there is still an alternative solution to enable Sidecar, again through your terminal friend. Just enter the following command:

defaults write allowAllDevices -bool YES

Unfortunately this combination doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try.

Apps won’t work in macOS Catalina

Problem 5: Apps not working in macOS Catalina; how to fix?

macOS Catalina no longer supports 32-bit apps. Apple has phased out 32-bit software over the past 10 years, and macOS Mojave is the latest to help this technology.

How to solve:

There are no workarounds: 32-bit applications must be updated or removed. Fortunately, the mac app park is still high quality and very extensive, so it will not be difficult to find valid alternatives: the last option, the downgrade from Catalina to Mojave.

App icons disappear in the finder.

Problem 6: App icons disappear in the finder; how to fix them?

In macOS Catalina 10.15, you may see some app icons disappear following a click on the Applications link in the Finder sidebar. This happens if you used the Migration Assistant to move your data.

How to solve:

  1. Open the Finder on your Mac.
  2. Right-click Finder in the upper-left corner of the desktop, and then click Preferences.
  3. On the Sidebar tab, select your Favorite Applications, and then remove the Applications link from the sidebar that displays incorrect results.

macOS Catalina cannot connect to WiFi/Bluetooth

Problem 7: Wi-fi not working on macOS Catalina; how to fix it?

If you can’t access the Internet after installing macOS Catalina beta, it may be the fault of a popular firewalling app, Little Snitch. Therefore, it is worth uninstalling it or upgrading to the latest nightly beta, compatible with Catalina.

Here is an in-depth guide: Wi-Fi Not Working on MAC? What to do? 3 Problem Fixes

If your problems are with Bluetooth connectivity, you can try to reset your macOS connection preferences:

  1. Open the Finder, click Go to the top menu, and then click Go to Folder.
  2. Type /Library/preferences and click Go.
  3. Once you have found the file, you must copy this file to another location and proceed with deleting the original one.
  4. Restart your Mac and reconnect to your Bluetooth devices.

iCloud is unavailable after the macOS update

Problem 8: iCloud not working on macOS Catalina: how to fix it?

After the release of macOS Catalina, you may see the message “Unable to connect to iCloud” while creating a new Pages, Numbers, or Keynote document in a shared folder— all you need to do is close the document and reopen it to fix the problem. Other iCloud-related issues that may arise are:

How to solve:

  1. Download the desired files from the iCloud drive manually and individually.
  2. Safely remove empty folders from iCloud.
  3. Restart the device

Read NTFS disks on macOS Catalina

Problem 9: Mount write-protected NTFS volumes under macOS Catalina; how to fix?

A popular utility for reading/writing external drives to macOS in NTFS format is Paragon NTFS, which has just been upgraded to version 15 with full support for Catalina.

If you want to fall back on freeware apps, we recommend Mounty, really very simple to use.

macOS Catalina slows down or overheats your Mac

Problem 10: High CPU Usage on macOS Catalina; how to fix it?

Some people complain that Catalina shows apparent slowdowns compared to Mojave and overheating the computer and causing a significant battery drain. Here is a detailed guide- How to Speed Up macOS Catalina? 7 Easy Methods

Here is another guide- Accountsd: How to Fix High CPU Usage on Mac? 3 Possible Fix

Solution 1: Minimize apps that launch with your Mac

Too many unnecessary elements for access lower your Mac’s performance, especially if it comes with little memory. Just disable those that are not strictly necessary:

Step 1: Click the Apple logo in the upper-left corner and select System Preferences .

Step 2: On the menu, click Users and Groups, and then click your account in the left sidebar.

Step 3: Click Login Items in the right column to see a list of programs that start automatically when you turn on your Mac.

Step 4: Select as much software as possible and click the minus (-) button at the bottom of this window.

Solution 2: Restore the System Management Controller (SMC)

System Management Console (SMC) recovery is a solution often recommended by Apple engineers and deserves to be proven if macOS Catalina doesn’t work as it should concerning power and hardware. If you are suffering from one of the following issues, restoring the SMC is particularly compelling:

Here’s how to restore the SMC:

Step 1: Shut down the computer completely, leaving it only connected to power.

Step 2: Using the built-in keyboard, hold down shift + ctrl + option + power button for about 10 seconds simultaneously.

Step 3: Release all the keys together and press the power button to start the computer.

Step 4: The startup time after the SMC is restored will be a little longer than usual. This is normal.

Mac won’t start or turn on after installing macOS Catalina.

Problem 11: macOS Catalina won’t start after installing; how to fix it?

If your Mac doesn’t turn on or hang on the upload bar after upgrading to Catalina, you can try the following steps.

How to Create macOS Catalina Bootable Installer for Clean Installation: 2 Easy Steps (MAC only)

You can also use a Windows PC- How To Create macOS Catalina Bootable USB on Windows: 4 Easy Steps (+Video Tutorial)

Solution 1: Control your Mac’s hard disk with Disk Utility in recovery mode

Step 1: Restart your Mac and immediately hold down Command + R to start in recovery mode.

Step 2: Release these keys when the upload bar appears.

Step 3: Then select Disk Utility from the MacOS Utilities menu.

Step 4: Select the macOS boot disk or volume in the left sidebar of Disk Utility.

Step 5: Click S.o.s. at the top and click Run to repair this disk.

Step 6: When you’re done, click Finish and restart your Mac as usual.

Solution 2: Downgrade macOS Catalina to macOS Mojave

This extreme solution is useful for those who are not satisfied with Catalina’s performance and want to return to their Mac’s pre-installed system.

Step 1: Shut down your computer completely.

Step 2: Restart your Mac in recovery mode by pressing the Command + R keys immediately after pressing the power button. If your mac doesn’t want to know how to boot to recovery mode, you can try recovery mode on the Internet: hold down Option + Command + R or Shift + Option + Command + R on startup. A temporary image of macOS will be downloaded from Apple servers, so you need to make sure your Mac is connected to the Internet.

Step 3: Release key combinations when the MacOS Utilities menu appears.

Step 4: Choose Disk Utility and click Continue .

Step 5: Choose the boot disk (usually labeled Macintosh HD) and click Clear .

Step 6: Format as APFS and click Clear .

Step 7: Return to the MacOS Utilities menu and click Reinstall macOS .

Step 8: Click Continue, and then accept the terms and conditions. When finished, your Mac will restart and return to macOS Mojave.

Now that Catalina will be installed on millions of Macs, new problems will surely emerge. Tell us in the comments those that have been about you. If there is a solution, we will update the guide.

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