macOS 10.15 Catalina Compatibility

It’s October, the season of OS updates.  Oh, look at em!  There’s an iOS 13.1…!  No!  It’s a…13.1…2!  Waaaaait a minute…I see a watchOS 6!  On and on it goes, OS updates just a’streamin’ outta the mothership, with thousands of compatibility updates from developers not far behind.  And before you know it, sometime this month, could even be today, the latest macOS, version 10.15, nicknamed “Catalina”, will likely make its way onto your Mac.

Packed with goodies, Catalina also comes with a big ol’ gotcha:  your 32-bit applications won’t work one…bit.  Poof!  Even so, it’ll relieve you to know Audiobook Builder 2, CheckBook and CheckBook Pro 2, Return Labels, and Griddle are already purring along in 64-bit awesomeness.  Just make sure you’re on the latest version of each and off you go.

The next big deal is iTunes.  Poof!  It’s fragmented into four smaller applications – Music, Books, Podcasts, and TV, with syncing now part of the Finder – like a vampyre dispersing into a cloud of so many bats.  Or rats.  Depends on the mood.  Anyway, that’s a hitch in Audiobook Builder’s get along, since it’s been joined at the hip with iTunes from the start, letting you add tracks from iTunes to your audiobooks and automatically adding your audiobooks back to your iTunes Library.  Hats off and a moment of silence, please, because things are about to change.  Not like, it’s all broke so let’s go home kinda change.  More like, you gotta swap from the aisle to the window seat kinda change.  And hey, window seats have their perks.

The rest of this is all about Audiobook Builder 2 on Catalina.  CheckBook and CheckBook Pro, Return Labels, and Griddle all seem to be just about right on Catalina.  We do have some fixes coming for CheckBook, but they’re general-purpose and not limited to Catalina so we’re more focused on Audiobook Builder for the moment.

Enter Music and Books

Like we said, iTunes is no more.  Catalina now manages your music in a new application named Music and your audiobooks will, henceforth, live in Books.  That means a few changes in Audiobook Builder, so we’re about to put a bow on version 2.1, which’ll handle all the details.

When you first launch Audiobook Builder 2.1, head to its preferences and you’ll find the traditional settings for saving your audiobooks in the iTunes Media Folder and automatically adding them to your iTunes Library have split into two sets of options – one for audiobooks and another for music.  When you build audiobooks, in the M4B file format, they’ll be saved according to the audiobooks settings.  When you build music tracks, in the M4A file format, they’ll be saved according to the music settings.

We’re gonna reserve this space right here to talk about a couple of things that have to wait for the final release of Catalina, depending on whether we can get one of our workarounds through Mac App Store review.

Anyway, there may be a little meantime between when you install Catalina and when Audiobook Builder 2.1 is ready.  You can still build your audiobooks with Audiobook Builder 2.0.2, though you’ll need to change a couple of settings and add tracks to Music and Books by hand.  It won’t hurt.

To start, open Audiobook Builder 2.0.2, go to the Audiobook Builder menu at the top left corner of your screen, click the Preferences… menu item, and eyeball the Save to setting at the top of the window.  If it’s set to iTunes Media Folder, pick something else.  Likewise, the Add to iTunes Library checkbox needs to be unchecked.

That’s it.  That’s all you need to do to build audiobooks with Audiobook Builder 2.0.2 on Catalina.  When they’re built, drag them from the location you set up in the preferences to the appropriate application – to Books for M4B audiobooks or to Music for M4A music tracks.

One other thing – the Add iTunes button and menu item aren’t gonna work, and dragging directly from Music will fail, as well.  Instead, drag the tracks you need from the Finder.  To spot your tracks in the Finder, select a track in Music, go to the File menu, and click the Show in Finder menu item.  Drag from there to your Audiobook Builder project and you’re all set.

Hang in there

That’s our Catalina compatibility story in a nutshell bit of long wind.  Please let us know at if you have any questions and we’ll get on it!

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