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Catalyst Problems

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read
Catalyst Problems

Catastrophe | waffle

Podcasts should be the optimal poster child for Catalyst because it exists on many platforms, and I think it could be made to work so much better by being responsive to ways in which a Mac is not an iOS device. But what upsets me is not a lack of polish as such, it’s that this was deemed anywhere near good enough to ship. It’s not a good podcasting app, it’s not a good Catalyst example, it’s not a good macOS citizen and it’s not even a good reincarnation of the Podcasts app. It’s just a mess.

I haven’t used Apple’s desktop Podcasts service in many years, so I can’t speak to the problems expressed in this article first hand, but everything is consistent with my experience across all other Catalyst apps.

I love native apps and prefer them in almost every case to using services in a browser. It’s just a better experience for me in most cases, and has the added benefit of integrating more seamlessly into macOS systems like notifications, keyboard shortcuts, and automation. However, my experience with Catalyst apps from third parties has been so bad that I have uninstalled every one of them and gone back to using the web.

Surely this will draw a raised eyebrow from some Mac purists, but this has never been my experience with Electron apps. I use these every day (VS Code, Slack, Postman,, etc.) and while they would all be a little nicer if they were built natively for the Mac, they’re totally fine apps from which I get immense value.

One would hope that Catalyst gets tons of attention and improves over the coming years, but as it stands today, the crop of apps available using it are some of the worst Mac apps I’ve used in my 25 years of using a Mac.