MacOS 10.15 Catalina Gotchas

By Ross Madden
Published on October 8, 2019 11:39 am MT
Updated on August 2, 2022 9:23 am MT
Posted in Apple, General CNSIT

This post is marked as Deprecated and therefore contains outdated information.

Another year, another version of MacOS. As is typical, the initial release of MacOS arrives along a bumpy path. Also, as always, CNSIT recommends waiting on the first release of any new version of MacOS. Typically, many issues are fixed with the .1 release (10.15.1 in this case). We will use this article to document our findings and what to look out for if you are choosing to adopt the newest version of MacOS early on.

For the record, here is a link to the updates that Catalina boasts:

The main problems we are running in to revolve around the dropping of Catalina’s official support for 32-bit programs. Moving forward MacOS will only support 64-bit software which leaves many older, legacy applications in the dust bin.

You can actually get a list of all of your 32-bit applications ahead of time by following these directions. Many of the issues can be predicted with this method, and often solved before Catalina is even installed.

For most of the application issues we have run in to, simply updating to the latest version solves the incompatibility. Below, we will list those of particular importance to CNS and CSU – some of which will require preparation.

Pulse Secure

While the solution for this is straightforward, just update to the most recent, I want to list this here due to its importance to campus affiliates. One of my test machines did happen to have an older version of Pulse Secure, so I did have to update after the upgrade to regain VPN functionality. Luckily, the steps are simple enough to follow and the upgraded install packages can be found from here:


It has been widely publicized that only Endnote X9 will be compatible with Catalina. However, it just so happens that only the most recent version (X9.3.1 and newer) is actually compatible. At the time of this writing, I have been unable to update to the most recent Endnote X9.3.1 once Catalina is installed (the updater fails). The only way to regain Endnote functionality in this case is to install, from the normal installer, the newest version of Endnote X9. Folks in this position will most likely need to contact CNSIT for access to that installer (

However, if you are reading this before installing Catalina, you can save yourself a lot of frustration simply by updating ahead of time. To do so, simply browse to the following URL, and download and run the updater:


UPDATE: It sounds like SPSS now has a compatible license authorization wizard at the URL below. Enjoy!

There are a number of notes from SPSS related to how it functions with Catalina. Most notably, the license authorization wizard is not functioning as it is a 32-bit application. This will be fixed in the next few weeks, and should be updated on the following site once that happens:

Adobe Acrobat Pro

UPDATE: CNSIT now has an updated version of Acrobat Pro – version 2017. This installer functions properly on Catalina. Please get in touch with CNSIT for information on installing the latest version!

The installer for our version of Acrobat Pro DC (2015) is 32-bit, so cannot be installed once Catalina is running. I upgraded a couple of Macs to Catalina with the current Acrobat Pro DC previously installed, and it works fine.  I have heard anecdotal reports from others that it didn’t work for them, even with Acrobat installed beforehand.  However, at this time, the installer definitely won’t run on a fresh or upgraded MacOS running Catalina.

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