I had to ditch Mac OS Catalina

I had to ditch Mac OS Catalina
15 Jan 20

I’m always one, when it comes to software to keep up to date but that’s not only the best policy. Today I had to go back on that practice due to upgrading to Mac OS Catalina.

Now I’m not apportioning blame, well, actually I am but it’s not on Apple. My frustration is more concentrated on Adobe but it does highlight the perils of trying to ‘keep up with Jones’s’ and why as a professional I am embarrassed by my actions but have learnt from my experience but also wanted to share my story and what I had to do in order to get back up and running if you’re in the same boat.

First, a question. What is the point of Mac OS Catalina? What does it bring that Mojave never did? I am sure you can provide me with a list of a load of under the hood improvements but my lack of hesitation to upgrade all of my Macs (which is my Mac Pro - trashcan, Macbook Pro 2015, Macbook Air 2011 and iMac 27”) without thinking about the consequences. 

As an ex-IT Professional I always tell people to make you’re running the latest version of your OS for the sake of security but it terms of stability that is not the case. You only have to look at the rollout of iOS 13 last year to see that. It’s just ingrained in me to hit the update button when it tells me to. I guess that comes from being a Windows user where there were so many risks that it was the done thing.

But Windows main consequence but also sometimes their strength is the legacy support on offer. Apple is not afraid to dump old technologies at the drop of a hat in order to improve their products and software. But this time it bit me in the ass big time.

As a professional designer I heavily rely on Adobe Create Cloud and its apps. Without them I basically can’t do my job, so when they stop working I am totally screwed. Anyway, when I upgraded to Catalina, and yes I know I should have tested it on one system first before rolling it out to everything, all seemed fine. I then started getting errors that Adobe CC was crashing and either needed to be repaired or quit. I tried for days to rectify this issue, sometimes successfully but most of the time not.

I then did what any nerd would do, go to Google and hit up the forums. It became very apparent that in September a warning was issued that Creative Cloud users should not upgrade to Catalina due to incompatibility issues (not s*** Sherlock) but it was too late for me. So I did the next thing that nerds do which is to go into denial and try to see if I could fix it.

I tried the Adobe uninstall tool, their CC cleanup tool but to no avail. I then found myself as a stopgap installing my apps onto a Windows Server I run at home, editing files remotely and syncing them so they could be used for work, but this was a real pain.

I then decided this week that it was time to roll back, something I had never done before done before with Mac OS. But Apple doesn’t make it easy for you. I basically had to nuke my machines and start from scratch. Now, in the past if I have ever wanted to reinstall my Mac I use the recovery partition. But as I had upgraded them all to Catalina this was the only option I was presented with. So how do I get back to Mojave? Well there are some clever peeps out there and the most clever is DosDude.

He provides installers with driver updates so you can install newer versions of Mac OS even when your machine is consigned to Apple’s not-supported list. It works amazingly. He already has a Catalina version but I needed his Mojave installer.

The program works like a dream. It allows you to download a copy of your desired Mac installer directly from the app. It will then go on to create a bootable USB drive for you to work from. This is something that I would do to get newer versions of Mac OS onto older machines with its enhanced features but for now I just needed to be able to boot from the stick and away I go.

So once I booted into the stick I’d prepared I could access Disk Utility and format the drive. I know that I could create a new container for another OS but I was determined to wipe out Catalina altogether. It then goes through the setup process as normal and you are good to go.

Note: I did do a full Time Machine backup to an external disk just for belt and braces.

Once everything was up and running Adobe CC ran like a treat and I can work again. The issue seems to be with the doing away of 32 bit apps in Catalina but for some reason they are working on my Mac Pro fine and the installer is 64 bit so I don’t know if there are other factors involved. Suffice to say I am happy again and not missing any of the Catalina functionality (is there anything I should be missing?)

Note: When the Adobe CC installers fail in Catalina I am presented with error P1 but none of the advice online has worked, only this rollback.

I anger is mainly with Adobe as I understand that operating systems change and have to move on. I had to go through the whole transition from OS9 to OSX using Classic Mode so I know what pain feels like. It’s just that as a paying Adobe customer I think that could have done more to warn its customers. It may be that I just missed a communication but without any acknowledgement I have received no further communication from them about what to do or when the issue will be resolved for Catalina.

I know I’m not alone as there are plenty of people complaining about it online. I was able to find a suitable solution but I wonder how those who are less tech-savvy cope if they come across such issues or system updates are managed by their business (although their IT Support are probably more vigilant on warning on when and when not to update).

Has anyone else out there suffered the same?


Paul Wright


0 Majikman

I finally upgraded to Catalina a few weeks back, which is unusual for me, as like you, I normally go with the upgrades as soon as they came out.

My problem was the loss of one of my favourite apps. Aperture, which I have stuck with through all the new OS’s.

I thought I was going to get away with it again, as it is a 64 bit app. The problem is there are certain small bits of code which are 32 bit and apple wouldn’t rewrite.

So I now run two MBP’s, my new 2018 version and my trusty 2010 17″ running Mojave with Aperture.


Paying Adobe only encourages it. It’s not an Apple developer anymore. Legacy applications, despite years of warning and full co-operation from Apple, there’s decades of history of not actually developing for Mac .

I went straight from Mojave to Big Sur beta. It seems Big Sur is already more stable than Catalina is/will ever become.

As for professional software, the quicker you leave Adobe, the better. Between Final Cut, Logic, and Affinity Photo/Designer/Publisher, you can get cleaner software, that actually follows Apple’s guidelines, and no historical cruft. Capture One is more for medium format, but good if you really have to have a Lightroom style DAM/editor. Luminar is pretty good. Lynapp or RAWPower are eyeopeners, too.

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