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16 Common macOS Catalina Problems & How to Fix Them



This is how you can fix macOS Catalina problems on your Mac. In 2020 we’re seeing new macOS 10.5.5 problems pop up including file transfer issues and sleep issues.

Sometimes you will need to wait for Apple to release a new update, but for the most part, you can solve macOS Catalina problems on your own using this guide. We even offer a solution for a new macOS 10.15.5 problem.

Whether you need to fix a problem right after updating or you are looking to solve problems that popped up as you use your device on macOS 10.15.5.

  1. How to fix macOS Catalina Download Problems
  2. How to fix macOS Catalina Install Problems
  3. How to fix Flashing Question Mark After Installing macOS Catalina
  4. How to fix macOS 10.15.5 Bootable Backup Problems
  5. How to fix macOS Catalina Performance Issues
  6. How to fix macOS Catalina Battery Life Problems
  7. How to fix macOS Sleep Problems
  8. How to fix macOS Catalina WiFi Issues
  9. How to fix macOS Catalina Sidecar Issues
  10. How to fix Mail App Data Loss in macOS Catalina
  11. How to fix macOS Catalina Bluetooth Problems
  12. How to fix macOS Catalina Notification Problems
  13. How to fix macOS Catalina File Access Problems
  14. How to fix macOS Catalina App Problems
  15. How to fix macOS Catalina Adobe App Issues
  16. How to fix Annoying Catalina Problems

The guide will walk you through fixes for common macOS Catalina problems, errors, and issues that users are experiencing so that you can solve your own problem. In some cases, you will need to wait for an update, or you may need to downgrade to macOS Mojave while you wait for a fix.

How to fix macOS Catalina Download Problems

How to fix macOS Catalina download problems.

How to fix macOS Catalina download problems.

We ran into macOS Catalina download problems twice when trying to install the update last year. It’s not a major issue, but you may still see download problems if your connection isn’t great. The error “The network connection was lost.” appeared when trying to download, and then we had to restart. We also saw slow downloads. There are two fixes, and depending on your situation, you may only be able to do one of them.

The easiest option is to plug in an ethernet cable to download the macOS Catalina update. This can solve some download issues and speed up slow downloads. If you don’t have an ethernet adapter, this may not be practical.

Another option is to simply try again later. This is annoying, but trying later or on a different connection can help.

A final solution may be to restart your networking gear or simply take your Mac to work or to a library or school with a faster Internet connection.

How to fix macOS Catalina Install Problems

Fix macOS Catalina install problems.

Fix macOS Catalina install problems.

We also ran into a macOS Catalina installation problem mid-way through. The installer decided we didn’t have enough free space and would boot loop into the Mojave login screen and right back to the installer.

We solved the issue by quitting the installer and then using the Disk Utility in the macOS recover menus to delete a partition we didn’t need. You can also try restoring to the Time Machine Update you made right before you started, which will get you back into macOS Mojave and allow you to delete some files.

Other users may have good luck booting into safe mode and deleting some files. To Boot into safe mode on Mac, hold the shift key when you see the Apple Logo.

How to Fix Flashing Question Mark After Installing macOS Catalina

We’re hearing some reports of users seeing a flashing question mark after upgrading to macOS Catalina. This is a very annoying problem and it essentially means that your Mac is bricked, aka broken.

You will need Apple’s help, or that of a repair shop to fix this issue. While your laptop may be out of warranty if you are close to an Apple store they could be the best first step to see if they will help since it happened during the upgrade. You can try following the guide above, but in most cases, you’re seeing an EFI issue that won’t let you use the keyboard shortcuts.

One user reports that a third-party repair shop was able to reprogram the EFI and fix their Mac.

How to fix macOS Catalina Bootable Backups Issues

We’re learning that macOS 10.15.5 includes a big problem when trying to make a new bootable backup. Carbon Copy Cloner outlines this problem in full. To be clear, this doesn’t break existing backups, just the creation of a new backup.

To fix this, you can use the latest Carbon Copy Cloner beta to make the beta. Check out that link for more information on this problem and how this may be fixed.

How to fix macOS Catalina Performance Issues

How to fix macOS Catalina performance problems.

How to fix macOS Catalina performance problems.

It’s not out of the ordinary to feel like your Mac is slower right after installing an update like Catalina. In fact, you probably saw a warning like the one above when you started macOS 10.15 for the first time.

In general, you should wait a day or so to see if performance improves. Once this time is up, try restarting your Mac and seeing if it runs better. You can also try installing app updates, many of which will include optimizations for Catalina.

If your Mac is still slow, you may need to do a clean macOS Catalina install to get rid of issues.

How to fix macOS Catalina Battery Life Problems

How to fix poor macOS Catalina battery life.

How to fix poor macOS Catalina battery life.

Similar to performance, you may see bad macOS Catalina battery life for the first day or two as everything falls into place and background tasks process. If this continues past a few days, you can try updating your apps and restarting your Mac.

When you click on the battery icon in the menu bar, it will show you the apps using your Mac’s power. If you see Spotlight, then your laptop is still working on background tasks. If you see apps like Chrome or Photoshop, you may need to update your apps or close them when you need better battery life.

Here’s a more in-depth look at how to fix bad macOS Catalina battery life and battery drain.

How to fix macOS 10.15.5 Sleep & File Transfer Problems

We’ve been hearing about a lot of macOS 10.15.4 sleep issues and problems transferring files over 30GB.

The best way to fix these problems is to downgrade to macOS 10.15.3 until Apple delivers a bug fix. This is not ideal, but it is a workaround until Apple actually fixes the issue.

One thing I did the last time my MacBook Pro 16 was crashing while waking from sleep was to disconnect external monitors or docks before putting it to sleep or to simply turn it off and then start it up with the open windows on restart option checked.

How to fix macOS Catalina WiFi Issues

Thankfully we aren’t seeing many specific macOS Catalina WiFi problem complaints, but if you run into issues connecting to WiFi or to a personal hotspot, you can likely fix the issue in a minute.

Click on WiFi in the menu bar and turn WiFi Off. Wait 10-15 seconds and turn it back on. Many times this solves the issue for us, and it helped save us when using a personal hotspot.

If you still have issues, see if you can connect to another WiFi network, if other devices can connect to the network you cannot connect to and try restarting your Mac and the router.

How to fix macOS Catalina Sidecar Issues

How to fix macOS Catalina sidecar problems.

How to fix macOS Catalina sidecar problems.

If macOS Catalina Sidecar is not working, you may need a newer Mac or a newer iPad, but in some cases, you just need to restart your devices.

Sidecar only works with the iPad 6, iPad 7, iPad mini 5, iPad Air 3 and all iPad Pro models. On the Mac side, you need a fairly recent Mac on this list;

  • iMac 27″ (2015) and up
  • MacBook Pro (2016) and up
  • Mac Mini (2018)
  • Mac Pro (2019)
  • MacBook Air (2018) and up
  • MacBook (2016) and up
  • iMac Pro (2017) and up

If you don’t have the right hardware, this won’t work. We’ve run into one other Sidecar problem while using it so far. Sidecar froze while using it with our MacBook Pro. I had to disconnect using the menu options and then it allowed me to restart and it worked.

How to Fix Mail Data Loss in macOS Catalina

How to fix Mail data loss in macOS Catalina without restoring a full backup.

How to fix Mail data loss in macOS Catalina without restoring a full backup.

Developer Michael Tsai shares reports on users with Mail problems in macOS Catalina specifically missing messages or incomplete messages. In some cases you will see headers only and a blank message. Tsai recommends not updating to macOS Catalina yet, but if you already did he shares one way to fix this issue.

“You can use Time Machine to get at previous versions of the folders in Mail’s data store, and then use the File ‣ Import Mailboxes… command to selectively import them into Catalina Mail. Since they import as new, local mailboxes, this shouldn’t affect messages that are on the server.”

If you are going to try and restore a Time Machine backup as Apple Support told some of his users, you may want to go straight to a macOS Catalina downgrade to macOS Mojave and stay there for a while.

How to fix macOS Catalina Bluetooth Problems

We’re seeing reports of missing Bluetooth on macOS Catalina, Bluetooth headphones being choppy and even complaints about keyboards.

You can try turning Bluetooth off and back on. This can help with some issues, just make sure you have a way to connect a mouse to your computer to turn it back on.

If audio is choppy, try removing the Bluetooth device and then pairing it with your Mac again. To do that,

  1. Click on the Bluetooth icon in upper right area of your screen then on open Bluetooth preferences.
  2. Click on the device and delete it then start the pairing process.

If you can’t get Bluetooth to work at all, you may need to delete the plist file for Bluetooth. On older versions, this existed in the location below, but we can’t find it on macOS Catalina yet.

  1. Go to the System Configuration folder – /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ to delete a group of files. You can copy that folder location and then press Command + Shift + G while in Finder, then paste that location in to go to the right folder.
  2. Delete –
  3. Restart your Mac.

Apple suggests restarting the Mac and then creating another user to see if Bluetooth works for a new user on the Mac.

How to Fix macOS Catalina Notification Problems

Fix macOS Catalina Bluetooth problems and errors.

Fix macOS Catalina Bluetooth problems and errors.

Part of the macOS Catalina update is a new control over notifications. If you aren’t getting notifications for an app, you may have turned them off on accident. You can change these options in settings to quickly re-enable app notifications.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Notifications.
  3. Click on the app.
  4. Toggle Notifications on.

You can also change the settings to control the type of notification if you want sounds and other options.

How to Fix macOS Catalina File Access Problems

Change app file access settings in macOS Catalina.

Change app file access settings in macOS Catalina.

The macOS Catalina update changes how apps can access files on your Mac. When you open a new app, you may need to give it access to many folders or to a specific folder for it to work.

If you chose no, and need to add access, or if you change your mind and want to limit access, you can do this in settings.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on Security & Privacy
  3. Click on Files and Folders
  4. Click on the app and then make the changes you want.

You will need to restart the app for the changes to take effect.

How to fix macOS Catalina App Problems

Are your apps not working on macOS Catalina? The first thing to do is check for an update. This is what I had to do with LastPass for Safari, and you may need to do it with multiple apps.

Check for updates using the app, or on the developer website. You can also check in with support for the app and on Twitter, where many companies are communicating information about compatibility.

In some cases, you may need to spend money and buy an updated version of the app, but most updates are free.

How to fix macOS Catalina Adobe App Issues

If you cannot use your Adobe apps on macOS Catalina, it is likely due to them being 32-bit apps, which Apple no longer supports on Catalina. Adobe shares this information on a support page.

The fix is to upgrade to a 64-bit version of the app. This may be a free upgrade depending on your plan, but you may need to go to Creative Cloud or a newer version.

How to Fix Annoying Catalina Problems

If you cannot fix the macOS Catalina errors or problems on your own, you can get in touch with Apple Support on Twitter, or go into an Apple Store. You may need to downgrade from macOS Catalina to macOS Mojave until an update to macOS or to the app fixes your problem.

Many pro audio tools are not compatible with macOS Catalina including some instrument connections and DJ apps, so you will need to go back to Mojave until Apple fixes this.

Here’s how to downgrade from Catalina to macOS Mojave.

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