Were you excited about the macOS Catalina release date? The new operating system was so heavily announced that we all expected it with great enthusiasm. Beta testers were generally happy with macOS Catalina, but most users weren’t ready to go Beta. They waited for the official macOS Catalina release date.
Well, Catalina is here.
But many users haven’t installed it yet. They hesitate because of the lengthy installation process. Since Apple offers two options for the install, they aren’t sure what to choose.
The Two Installing Options for macOS Catalina
There are two types of Catalina installs:
- You can put Catalina over the Mac’s current settings
- You can run a clean install
This is a tutorial on how to clean install macOS Catalina, so we’ll be talking about the second option. But first, let’s explain what both alternatives mean.
By installing the system over the Mac’s current settings, you’ll find everything as it was during Mojave. Your settings, apps, documents, and files will be right where you left them. You won’t even have to sign into the apps. There’s no need to recover files, either. This is a simple way to get the process done. It works well for newer Macs, which haven’t accumulated much junk over the years.
But some Macs have too many duplicate files, unnecessary apps, and outdated caches. The system is bloated, and that affects its performance. You can back up the files you need and get rid of everything else if you learn how to clean install macOS Catalina. You’ll get a fresh system that feels like a brand-new Mac. You’ll recover the data and apps you need easily after that. This type of install is great for older computers, since the performance is obviously boosted when the bloat is gone.
The Ultimate Guide: How to Clean Install macOS Catalina
Step 1: Back Up the Data You Need
Since the clean install of macOS Catalina will delete everything from your hard drive, you should back up important data, so you won’t lose it. You can use iCloud, Dropbox, or any other cloud-based service to do that. If you don’t have too many files and everything is already on iCloud, you’re good.
But if you have a lot of files that aren’t on the cloud, uploading them would be a long and stressful process. You can opt for Get Backup Pro – a simple app that creates bootable clones of your important files.
Whatever option you choose, don’t skip the back-up step. Even if you think you don’t need anything and you want a clean Mac right away, you should consider backing up some data. Maybe there are photos of your dog you’ve forgotten all about.
Step 2: Make Your Bootable macOS 10.15 Catalina Installer
Okay; now that your data is safe, you can go on.
Get the installer from the App Store.
When it downloads and launches, stop the process. Since you’re going to do a clean install, you’ll be doing it from a bootable drive. At this point, you’re not there yet.
- Get a USB stick with at least 16GB of free space on it, and plug it in. Give it a name that’s short and easy to type. You’ll need to include this name in a command.
- Once you’re done with that, type this specific command in Terminal, but replace USB with the name of your USB drive:
/Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/[USB] --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.app
- Return. When the system asks for your admin password, provide it.
- Wait for the procedure to go through. Once you see the Done button, click on it.
You’re almost done!
Step 3: Get the New macOS on Your Startup Drive
This is the last part of the how to clean install macOS Catalina guide, so stay patient.
- Go to Startup Disk (under System Preferences) and choose the Catalina installer.
- Restart your computer. While it’s restarting, hold Command-R.
- You see the Utilities window? Choose the option to reinstall a new copy of the operating system.
- Agree to the terms, choose the startup drive and install Catalina.
Once the computer goes through this step, it will go through a rebirth. It will feel like new. Now, you only need to recover the data and you’ll be ready to enjoy exploring Catalina.
What Makes Catalina So Good?
Some Mac users don’t want to bother with the installation process. They got a Mac because of the easy user experience, and all this seems too complicated. They start thinking: “I’m okay with Mojave, so why should I bother?”
There are a few aspects that make Catalina better than Mojave:
- A better experience with TV, Music, and Podcasts. It was about time for Apple to send iTunes to history.
- An opportunity to use iPad as a second screen to your Mac, thanks to the Sidecar function.
- Functional updates to Photos, Find My, Reminders, and other native apps.
- An option to use a subscription gaming service: Apple Arcade.
It’s worth the effort. A clean Catalina install will take some time, but do it when you don’t need to work on your computer and you’ll be just fine.
With the previous macOS releases, only a small percentage of users were left to install three months after the release. Most were too excited to wait for so long. You want to look at some percentages on Mojave, High Sierra and Sierra? Check out this infographic: