Millions of iOS apps may be coming to the Mac thanks to Project Catalyst

Apple has officially launched a new framework that will make it easy for developers to create Mac versions of their iPhone and iPad apps.

Credit: Apple

Even if you don’t buy a new $6,000 Mac Pro, your Mac is about to get a whole lot more powerful. Alongside macOS 10.15 Catalina, Apple unveiled a new way to design apps across all of its platforms. Called Project Catalyst, the new initiative builds on the News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home apps Apple launched in macOS 10.14 Mojave, and it has the potential to transform the entire app ecosystem.

Project Catalyst is designed so a team of developers can easily make a single app that runs on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac without needing to spent months on each. In its announcement of the new macOS framework, Apple showcased three apps during the WWDC keynote: Asphalt 9: Legends from Gameloft, Twitter, and Atlassian’s Jira Cloud.

Granted, none of these developers are exactly small, but the idea is that an iOS or iPadOS app can be ported to the Mac with very little work. Twitter, for example, was able to develop a native Mac app in just one day, and Gamelot said it had a macOS version of its racing game, which hit the App Store in July, running on the first day.

project catalyst mac iphone Apple

Apple’s Project Catalyst will make it easier for developer to bring their iOS apps to the Mac.

That’s a massive accomplishment for a process that normally takes months and tons of resources. With an ever-shrinking audience, many developers have understandably shifted their focus away from the Mac, but Project Catalyst should make it as easy to bring an iOS app to the Mac as it is to turn on iPhone app into an iPad one, completely with drag-and-drop functionality and a full-screen experience..

And they’ll be more than super-sized iOS apps. Apple is respecting the Mac’s menus and interface so apps will look as native as they can. Developers will be able to add unique features as well. Atlassian said it was able to use Project Catalyst to “put the finishing touches that make (Jira Cloud) perfect for the desktop” and Twitter was able to add “native Mac features” without spending weeks designing and testing. On its website, Apple also highlighted DC Universe, TripIt, and Fender Play, all with Mac-style UIs.

Apple presumably used Catalyst on several of macOS 10.15’s new apps as well, including Screen Time, Find My, and the redesigned Reminders app. Project Catalyst is available to developers today as part of the macOS 10.15 Catalina beta. A public beta will be available in July, with the official release happening in the fall.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iOS 13

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?