macOS Catalina introduces several important new features and capabilities to the Mac platform — including new apps to replace iTunes and a Find My platform that can track offline Macs.
But there’s actually a lot more to the Mac software update than that. In fact, many of Catalina’s best features are ones that Apple glossed over or didn’t mention at its WWDC keynote. Here are some of the great new features you may have missed. Continue reading to learn about 7 Hidden macOS Catalina Features You'll Love.
Automatic Dark Mode
As of Mojave, macOS already has Dark Mode baked-in. But there’s one critical feature missing from the easier-on-the-eyes theme. Namely, you have to toggle Dark Mode manually.
That’s changed in macOS Catalina. In addition to permanent Light and Dark themes, there’s also a new “Auto” theme in the System Preferences > General menu. Selecting this will automatically change your Mac from Light mode to Dark mode depending on the time of day.
Use Apple Watch to Authenticate
Apple Watch users already know that you can use the wearable to unlock your Mac. But the Apple Watch is getting much tighter integration with macOS in Catalina — making various approval and authentication prompts a lot easier.
For one, you can now approve app installations right from your wrist. For those times when you need to type in your Mac’s password (such as when making system changes), you can quickly authenticate without any typing by just double-clicking the Apple Watch’s Side button.
Mail Blocking & Unsubscribing
If you’re a macOS Mail user, you’ll be happy to know that Catalina introduces a couple of powerful features that can help you deal with automated or spammy emails.
For one, the Mail app now comes with a way to block all emails from specific senders — and not only does it block them, it also sends those emails straight to your Trash folder. The Mail app also allows you to unsubscribe from emails right within the app itself.
iOS Document Signing
The native Preview app in macOS has long been a simple and powerful photo tool, but it’s getting a new trick in Catalina. While Preview already has several ways for users to sign documents on their Macs, macOS Catalina has added iOS signing support.
That means you can use your iPhone or iPad to quickly jot down your signature on a document. This feature is accessible in Preview’s Tools option in the menu bar. When you tap on Annotate > Signature > Manage Signatures, you should see a new option to use an iPhone or iPad. Tap on the device you want and you’ll see a signature pad pop up on it.
One of the more notable security-related features in macOS Catalina is the addition of Activation Lock for T2-equipped Macs. That doesn’t sound like much, but it could actually be huge for physical security.
Basically, it means you can render a Mac useless to thieves remotely. The owner of the Mac would be the only one who can deactivate the lock. In conjunction with the new offline tracking feature in the Find My app, this could make Macs much more recoverable and much less attractive to criminals.
Screen Time Parental Controls
With all of the devices at our disposal, digital wellbeing is more important than ever. Presumably, that’s why Apple is adding Screen Time — previously an iOS exclusive — to macOS Catalina.
In addition to the iOS functionality, the app on the Mac will come with a few new features. Parents will be able to control and view who their children can communicate with (and who can communicate with them). There’s also an amusing One More Minute feature that will give a child, yes, exactly 60 seconds of additional screen time.
Under-the-Hood Security Improvements
In addition to Activation Lock and the new Find My feature, macOS Catalina also has a slew of much more hidden security-related features. And while they may be relatively small and unexciting changes, they could go a long way toward making your Mac secure.
For one, the System Volume is now in its own read-only partition — meaning only approved Apple code can make changes to it. There are also several improvements to both the built-in macOS Gatekeeper and app access requests. Those two features could help protect your device from malicious software.