OS X Lion 10.7 has now been superseded by OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Lion, coming just 18 months after the release of Snow Leopard OS X 10.6, was the first OS X to bring the Mac closer to the iPhone's and iPad's iOS operating system, making full use of Trackpads and gestures to use your Mac.
If you're still using OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard don't forget to check out our advice and words of caution beforehand - some older applications simply won't work on OS X Lion due to Apple's decision to drop Rosetta support. This means you will have problems running applications like Quicken 2007, Microsoft Office 2008 and other apps which supported Power PC Macs - PPC support is gone forever in OS X Lion.
According to Apple, OS X Lion comes with more than 250 improvements and new features although many of these are minor tweaks. The biggest change however is far closer integration with iOS, the operating system of the iPhone and iPad. To take advantage of the many new finger gestures to navigate OS X however, ideally you'll need either a MacBook Pro with Magic Trackpad or an external Trackpad (around $69) although a Magic Mouse will also suffice.
For those used to using an iPad and iPhone, the OS X Lion gestures will come more naturally but for others, there will be some learning to do, although there are some excellent video tutorials included in the new Trackpad preferences pane. While some will no doubt love the new way of navigating OS X, others may not want their Mac turned into one big phone or iPad - in which case you can always still use the mouse as normal.
The other major change in OS X Lion is that you can only upgrade via the Mac App Store. There's no installation DVD as with previous versions of OS X. This obviously means that you won't have a recovery disk if something goes wrong with OS X Lion, but OS X Lion creates its own "Recovery HD" partition which, while taking up valuable disk space, means that reinstalling should be easy enough.
The most important new features in OS X Lion can be summarized as:
Thanks to the MacBook Pro Touchpad, the Magic Trackpad and the Magic Mouse, you can perform actions using various finger movements in OS X Lion.
Launchpad and Mission Control:
Get a convenient overview of your open windows and applications in OS X Lion's Mission Control and access/organize applications much quicker with Launchpad. This provides a more iPhone like way of accessing apps as an alternative to using the Dock but unfortunately, unlike the Dock there's no way of seeing which apps are open and which aren't.
Full Screen Apps
All of your applications can now take advantage of full screen mode in Mac OS X Lion. This is something that Windows users have enjoyed for years and means that users can finally use their apps without any background distractions from OS X.
Automatic Save and Resume:
When you resume or restart your Mac, OS X Lion will resume or recover all of your documents and windows open from the last version. In addition, your work will be saved automatically and you can go back and re-visit old saves and backups. However, OS X Lion relies on the application being "Auto-Save Aware" for this function to work.
There are many other enhancements to OS X Lion too such as the ability to backup to local drives with Time Machine and there's a new handy migration tool for those switching from Windows to Mac. You can also now simply drag and drop files to other Macs in your vicinity or network via your Mac's AirPort wireless connection - a nice little feature that makes working with other Mac users easier then ever.
OS X Lion is an impressive operating system that brings the Mac closer to the iOS experience than ever before. If you're an iPhone or iPad user that loves iOS, OS X Lion can't fail to impress. If you're not, then the appeal may not be so great but there are plenty of other features and enhancements in OS X Lion worth checking out.
- The 10.7.5 update is recommended for all OS X Lion users and includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac. It also includes Gatekeeper, a new security feature that helps you keep your Mac safe from malicious software by giving you more control over what apps are installed on your Mac.
- The 10.7.5 update also includes fixes that:
- Resolve an issue where icons in Launchpad may get rearranged after a restart
- Improve Wi-Fi reliability for iMac (Late 2009 and newer)
- Resolve an issue using Spotlight to search an SMB server
- Improve compatibility connecting to Active Directory servers
- Supplemental Update OS X 10.7.5:
- Resolves an issue that may cause Time Machine backups to take a very long time to complete
- Addresses an issue that prevents certain applications signed with a Developer ID from launching
- The Supplemental Update is recommended if you installed the Mac OS X Lion v10.7.5 Update (build 11G56).
- It is not needed if you install the Mac OS X Lion v10.7.5 Update (build 11G63)