macOS 10.15 Catalina

MacOS 10.15 Catalina is now available to campus. After testing compatibility, we've made it available to Emerson faculty and staff with Emerson-owned macOS devices.

If you would like to keep parity on your personal macOS device, you can follow these instructions to upgrade to macOS Catalina. 

If you choose to update your Emerson computer to Catalina, you can access it by launching Emerson IT Self Service on your Mac. On the Featured tab, select Upgrade to macOS Catalina.


Before you begin

With macOS Catalina, Apple no longer supports 32-bit applications.

When upgrading, you will be presented with a list of 32-bit apps that are currently installed. If one of these apps is crucial to your function, please select Cancel and submit a ticket with Emerson IT. In most cases, you will just need to install the latest version of the application.

Before upgrading, please back up all important data on your computer.

This is a major change to your computer’s file system. Some users have lost data upon updating, so backing up your documents and bookmarks is especially important. For more information on backing up your data, please visit our guide on Backing Up Data at Emerson College.

Trouble upgrading?

If you try to upgrade and receive this message:


This is because your computer has failed one of our prerequisites for upgrading. Please submit a ticket to and the Help Desk will help get your computer updated.

After the upgrade

Once you've upgraded to Catalina, your Desktop will have a new alias (shortcut) to a folder called Relocated Items. This is where Apple moves any data that does not have a place in the new operating system. You can navigate to this data by going to /Users/Shared/Relocated Items in the Finder. From there, if you like, you can back that data up to Box or Google Drive. However, these files are not compatible with macOS Catalina. You can find more information about Relocated Items here.

Faculty, please note

Computer labs and classrooms in Boston will be on Catalina for the Fall 2020 semester.

Want to learn more?

If you want to get familiar with Catalina before or after making the upgrade, check out the LinkedIn Learning online course macOS Catalina Essential Training. All Emerson community members have free access to the LinkedIn Learning library. Sign in at

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