Things to be aware of when you get MacOS X 10.7 Lion

Will you upgrade to Lion this summer?

  • Yes, I am always on to the new things!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, my current MacOS X works fine or I am on PowerPC and can't

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, I have apps that won't work with it (see my blog article for list of apps that work or not)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm on the fence

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Mar 10, 2006
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as many of you may have noticed, Apple is said to be due to release MacOS X 10.7 Lion during this month of july 2011. I have made a very brief FAQ that can be handy for you all when it hits the Mac App Store.

First some techie stuff, then scroll down for more user experience surprises.

Will your applications work?
The web site Roaring Apps tells you if you can expect problems with your programs on MacOS X. It also allows for community contribution of apps you have tested yourself. Go here:

System requirements?
If your Mac can run MacOS X 10.6, it can probably run MacOS X 10.7. Note that the Mac App store is clever enough not to allow purchase or download of applications your computer cannot handle, so you won't risk wasting your money buying it and THEN seeing it won't work.

How do I get it?
MacOS X 10.7 will (probably) be bundled on Macs sold after july 2011. In addition, its available as a $29 upgrade through the Mac App store. Note that the version you get through the Mac App Store follows the App Store guidelines and can thus be installed on up to 5 Macs in the household! To install it on additional Macs, the official way is supposed to be to go to the other Macs, open the App store on those and login as the Apple ID you used to buy it, then go to the Purchased tab.

How about clean installation?
MacOS X 10.7 Lion is actually intended to be an upgrade and is designed specifically to handle that scenario. This is NOT Windows we are talking about. As a Mac dev, I have done some testing that indicates that this looks fine.

But, but, what about clean installation?
If you are really convinced that upgrades is not for you, after upgrading, you can reboot your Mac holding down the Cmd+R keys. This boots into a special dedicated partition that Lion established when it was installed. From here, you can do a reinstall. I have not tested this.
I would probably recommend reinstalling MacOS X 10.6, then reupgrading (note that you get an Installer after downloading OS X 10.7 that lands in your /Applications folder). If you grab it out of there before running it, you can wipe your Mac to 10.6, copy the file back and then run that. There is also a techier method that I will get back to later in my blog or you can google it if you don't want to go through a clean 10.6.

What will I immideately notice when I have Lion?
First, the boot has changed slightly. Now, you land on a big brushed metal login screen (unless autologin was on before). If you had "Show username" enabled before, you may have to reconfigure stuff. This is done from Accounts in System Prefs as before.

Touchpad (Magic Touchpad or MacBooks)
Note that Lion 10.7 REVERSES scrolling on the touchpad! Whereas in 10.6 and earlier, you drag two fingers down to scroll down, on 10.7 you "push" up the content like on iPhone and iPad. This takes some getting used to, but it makes sense. You also get the iOS "bounce" when you hit the bottom and top.

Appearance of things
Buttons are now square. In general, the new OS is more square looking, things now tend to "appear" with small animations and there are in general animations to smooth things and avoid the sensations of hard edges. Scrollbars are invisible until you move the mouse pointer over them and begin to scroll. I am trying to get used to this, but its easily change as a System Preferences if you hate it.

Expose, Dashboard, Spaces
These have now been replaced by Mission Control which you find in the Dock. Spaces is now a big part of the whole user experience, but be aware of some crucial changes.
First, you don't have a Spaces panel in System Preferences. Instead, you handle Spaces from Mission Control. There's a "new space" button at the far right end of the spaces overview inside Mission Control.
You reach Mission control with four fingers and drag up. Note that you can go to System Preferences and the Touchpad preference to assign a hotkey to old Expose actions. I have assigned four finger drag down to Expose for program windows.
To assign a program to a space, you now do it through the context menu of the Dock icon. Just ctrl+click or right click on the Dock icon and go to Options.
You can now have individual wallpapers per Space!

You scroll back in history with two fingers on the touchpad and "drag" your current page to the right to get "back" to the page "beneath". Likewise to scroll forward in history. It works way smooth once you get used to it.

You will notice more functionality in quicklook, both fullscreen and a button to open the editor app from within the quicklook window. As before, its tap Spacebar to enter or leave when a document is selected.

Full screen
Apps can now go full screen using a double arrow at the top right of the apps. This also makes the application itself its own "space" and you can four finger switch between other spaces, apps etc, or use Mission Control or the Dock to switch apps. To leave full screen, you move your mouse to the top of the screen and you get the traditional Mac menu, then to the RIGHT of the clock and Spotlight icon is now a double arrow. This only appears in apps that support the new fullscreen mode and that are currently in fullscreen.


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