Here’s why music producers shouldn’t upgrade to macOS X 10.15 Catalina

macOS Catalina
(Image credit: Apple)

With the release of Apple’s macOS 10.15 Catalina imminent, Mac music producers will inevitably be considering whether or not to upgrade. However, based on what’s currently being being said by various major DAW and plugin developers, the answer is almost certainly that you shouldn’t. 

We’ve already had the news that Apple’s new iTunes-replacing Music app might not sync with your favourite DJing software, but it turns out that this could just be the tip of the incompatibility iceberg.

There are various technical reasons for this - CDM has a thorough explanation if you want to dig into the details - but some are related to security and Apple’s new software verification processes, while others stem from the fact that 32-bit compatibility is coming to an end.

Here’s what some of the biggest music software developers have to say about the release of Catalina, and how it impacts their products.


The big news is that Live 9 is not compatible with macOS 10.15, and never will be. So, if you’re running it, steer well clear of the update.

As things stand, Live 10 isn’t compatible with Catalina, either, but a compliant version is currently being tested. 

Native Instruments

NI is pretty unequivocal: “Native Instruments software and hardware products are not supported under macOS 10.15. Please do not install macOS 10.15 if you are using Native Instruments products.”

Tests are currently underway to ensure compatibility as soon as possible after release, but the top and bottom line is that users of NI’s products should sit tight.


PreSonus says that the latest build of its Studio One DAW (version 4.5.3) is Catalina compatible, but has some interesting information on how the update could affect third-party plugins.

Slate Digital

"With the upcoming release of macOS Catalina we urge all of our customers to wait before updating," says Slate Digital.

"We are currently in the process of running tests to offer compatibility after the official release and should have more information available in the near future."

Watch this space, basically.


Positive news from Bitwig, which says: "So far, all testing we did with Bitwig Studio on the current 10.15 (Catalina) beta versions has been positive. We will continue those tests until the final release to ensure compatibility with it."

However, the company also sounds a note of caution: 

We’ll continue to update this page with further macOS 10.15 music software compatibility statements as they’re released.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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