Blog | Kilburnlad Updated iMac to MacOS Catalina

Updated iMac to MacOS Catalina

After much deliberation I today updated from Mojave to Catalina.

The main issue, of course, was the fact that with Catalina Apple discontinued support for 32 bit applications. I had for a while been removing such applications, updating them or finding alternatives. This cost a bit of money along the way. For example, my Adobe Elements 15 (Photoshop & Premier) wasn't guaranteed to be compatible and in the end I broke a long association with this software and went for Pixelmator Pro for photographs and Apple's free iMovie for videos.

The Adobe suite never felt completely at home on the Mac whereas Pixelmator is truly a Mac app as of course is iMovie. My limited use of Pixelmator has so far proved successful although, of course, I have needed to adapt to the different interface. I'm still to see how I get on with iMovie.

Some apps I had rarely used, so they went. The difficult ones were those that I needed but were unlikely ever to be upgraded to 64 bit by the developers. For example, our Withings weighing scales link to the internet and if you ever need to reconfigure the wifi connection there is a Pairing Wizard. It's very rudimentary and will almost certainly never appear as 64 bit since the latest scales don't need it. There's also my Game Golf transfer app, which may in time benefit from an upgrade to 64 bit. And I have the 'Le Petit Robert' French dictionary, which is now available in 64 bit form but at an unacceptable price. At the moment Audacity isn't Catalina compatible although I'm sure that a 64 bit version will eventually be released. And finally there was MacX Video Converter Pro, which again has a new version available but at a price.

Well, in the end I went for Parallels, a virtual machine solution that allowed me to instal Mojave and all but one of the 32 bit apps. Le Petit Robert completely defeated me. The simplest way to move an app to the VM is just to drag it across. This didn't work with Le Petit Robert. The app returned a crash report when launched. I tried using my backup copy of the original download, but this produced exactly the same outcome. It seems that the software developers had somehow linked the licence to a specific computer such that even sharing within a VM on the original host computer failed. Fortunately I had previously decided to fork out for an upgrade to Le Robert Correcteur, a grammar checking app that also includes a dictionary similar to Le Petit Robert. I had previously objected to paying for that upgrade, but the company gave a 30% discount for existing users on top of the release discount. So I went for it.

I originally downloaded the trial version of Parallels while noting the basic price of £69.99. Once I had set it up and assured myself that the apps were working, bar Le Petit Robert of course, I went ahead to purchase it. Only then I discovered that the price of £69.99 was for an annually renewing subscription. The single perpetual licence price was £79.99. The subscription gives you ongoing updates whereas the single licence only covers bug fixes and the like. Furthermore, there is an supplementary package called Parallels Toolbox, which you are prompted to install. My intended usage of the VM probably won't need any of these tools, which is just as well as Toolbox is a 3-month introductory subscription whereafter you need to renew at £15.99 / year. It is really quite worrying how many software developers now base their pricing on subscriptions.

Having set up Mojave in the VM and deleted a few remaining 32 bit apps that were unneeded remnants from older software I set the Catalina update in progress. I'm pleased to say that it went like a dream.

And, as a footnote, having opted for Parallels I could now reinstall the Adobe Elements suite. But I'll see how I get on with the alternatives since my Mac has a 256Gb SSD and Parallels + Mojave has gobbled up about 18G.

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