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How Long the macOS Catalina Update Takes to Install (10.15.3)

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The macOS Catalina update is an important update that packs in a ton of new features for your Mac. This is a 3.42GB update on some computers, and depending on your latest update and your Mac you could be looking at a bigger update. To install macOS 10.15.3 if you aren’t already on macOS Catalina, you can expect an 8GB or larger update.

If you are prepared for the macOS Catalina update, this will go faster since backing up is a major part of the time needed to install, but macOS Catalina problems can slow you down.

The most common question I’m hearing is, “How long does the macOS Catalina update take to finish?”, and while it varies based on many factors, we can help you with a good ballpark of how long you can expect the update to take.

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Read: How to Fix macOS Catalina Problems

If you are on the latest macOS Catalina update, this will take less time, but if you are on Mojave it will take longer as the download is bigger and you may need to install multiple updates.

Here's how long it takes to download and install macOS Catalina.

Here’s how long it takes to download and install macOS Catalina.

On a 400 Mbps down internet connection, my download took about 10 minutes for macOS 10.15.3.

Task

Time

Backup to Time Machine (Optional)

5 minutes to a day

macOS Catalina Download (macOS 10.15.3)

9 minutes to 2 hours

macOS Catalina Installation Time

20 to 50 minutes

Total macOS Catalina Update Time

30 minutes to several hours 

The biggest factor is if you are prepared, so make sure you spend the time before you try to install the update. You can use your computer while it backs up and while the update downloads, but not during the installation period.

macOS Catalina Download Time

How long does the macOS 10.5.3 update take to download.

The exact macOS Catalina installation time will vary from users to user due to download speeds, and demand for the update. macOS 10.15.3 downloaded to our Mac in about 10-15 minutes.

macOS Catalina Installation Time

During installation, you cannot use the Mac.

During installation, you cannot use the Mac.

The macOS Catalina installation should take about 20 to 50 minutes if everything works right. This includes a speedy download and a simple install with no issues or errors.

I ran into a macOS Catalina installation problem where I didn’t have enough space on my initial upgrade. Apple’s since fixed this and it shouldn’t be a huge issue for most users.

I was able to install macOS Catalina in about 40 minutes, and installing macOS 10.15.3 took about 30-35 minutes total as well.

6 Reasons Not to Install macOS Catalina & 12 Reasons to Install macOS 10.15.3 Today

Install for macOS 10.15.3 Fixes

Install for macOS 10.15.3 Fixes

Apple just released macOS 10.15.3, a bug fix update focused on users with the Pro Display or the 16-inch MacBook Pro. 

  • Optimizes gamma handling of low gray levels on Pro Display XDR for SDR workflows when using macOS
  • Improves multi-stream video editing performance for HEVC and H.264 encoded 4K video on the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

Apple also includes security fixes. If you are on the edge, you may want to wait for macOS 10.15.3 reviews. 

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