iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 Catalina – the technical details

Apple had already announced a big topic at the developer conference the year before: iPad apps are about to run on the Mac soon. So far, there was only a preview, this year, developers may finally put their hands on the porting framework. The high-calorie code name marzipan Apple has exchanged for the simple name Catalyst. A fitting name, because like a catalyst in chemistry, the framework reduces the energy needed to move an app from one state to another – from iOS to macOS.

Compared to the preview, there are many innovations. First and foremost, it's clear that Apple only allows porting of iPad apps, not iPhone apps. Developers who have already optimized their app for the tablet, can count on very little effort.

Essentially, enabling macOS as the target platform in the Xcode project settings is sufficient. Anyone who has already equipped their program with all the finesse of iOS is then almost done. Ideally, an app should have keyboard shortcuts support, autolayout, and accessibility. Catalyst automatically takes over these elements and builds an already quite respectable Mac app. Developers find it difficult to use third-party iOS components or frameworks that are not available for the Mac. For these blocks, they must either find replacement or program themselves. This is not impossible, but it means a lot more effort than with system components.

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