If you’re thinking about updating your mac to OS X 10.7 aka “Lion”, here’s a couple of things you should know. Could save you time or your life. Okay not really, but you get the point :)
Make sure your Mac can run Lion. You need to have a mac currently running Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6.6 or latest version of SL) and you should have an iTunes Account (App Store/iTunes accounts are the same thing). The App store lives on your dock in Snow Leopard.
If you’re not sure your mac can run Lion, you can do a quick compatibility check by clicking on the apple menu (upper left hand corner) and select “About this Mac”. Your Mac Processor needs to be a Core Duo 2 or i3, i5 or i7. If your processor is a Core Solo or simply a Core Duo, you will not be able to run Lion. If it says PowerPC, your mac is too old, you may stop reading this now. Sorry :(
In that same “About this Mac” window, it will tell you how much RAM your computer has. You will need at least 2GB or more of RAM. I’m currently running Lion on my MacBook laptop with 2.5GB or RAM. It runs really well, but i can see how it would run better with more ram, say like 3 or 4GB. If you don’t have at least 2GB of RAM, i’m not sure if it will install. If it does, expect it to be a little sluggish and expect to see the spinning beach ball frequently.
WHERE AND HOW TO GET LION
This is the first time you will not be able to walk into an Apple Store to buy a box of Lion DVD installers. The only way to get it is to download from the AppStore (in your dock if you’re running Snow Leopard). It’s $29.99 and it will allow you to install on as many macs as you have to home or use.
It’s approximately a 3.7 GB download, so hopefully you have a fast internet connection. If you recently purchased a Mac within the last month, Lion is a FREE upgrade. Look on the Apple Website (Up-to-Date Program) for details on how to get a code to download it.
Once it’s downloaded, it will mount on your desktop and the Installation window will ask you to install/restart. ** NOTE ** If you have more than one mac at home or work you will want to make a copy of the installer. When it’s done downloading and it prompts you to install, simply look in your APPLICATIONS folder and find the MAC OS X LION installer. Copy this 3.7 GB file to a USB keychain drive or external hard drive or burn a DVD with this file to get it out of the way. The reason for this is… the installer self destructs once it is downloaded. **
Installation is easy. After it’s downloaded it will ask you to Install. Click ok and the computer will proceed to restart/install. Installation may take up to 30 min or so. When it’s done you get your desktop back, and you can enjoy the new features of Lion.
EXPERIENCE SO FAR
I spent most of the day working on the MacBook Laptop running Lion. My MacBook is a Duo Core 2 with 2.5 GB of RAM. My system is very clean and lean (no 3rd party extensions, apps, etc) and the only 3rd party suite of software is Microsoft Office 2011 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), which i use mainly for work and internet usage.
My computer runs great! I immediatly noticed a dramatic speed improvement. Everything feels snappy and the the usual apps i use daily load up quick and are quite responsive. This is due to the fact that all the libraries, extensions and apps in Lion are now all 64-bit. They are now all taking advantage of the 64-bit computing power of the Intel chips. What a difference! I pushed the macbook all day today with multiple apps, switching, downloading, internet apps, Microsoft spreadsheets, etc. I was looking for a freeze, crash, something. I got nothing. This is great!
CHECK BEFORE INSTALLATION
Just because i had no problems with the install doesn’t mean it’ll be smooth sailing for you. Make sure you check that the software you use is Lion compatible. I’m talking about older versions of Photoshop, Music Production, Video or Special Effects production or perhaps your business or research software. From the same “About this Mac” window you can select the option “More info” and that will bring up a system profiler. If you click on “Applications” on the left side panel, it will list all your applications. If you look at each one (might have to scroll the bar to the right to read the whole thing), you’ll want to make sure that all your apps are either 64-bit Intel or Universal Binaries. If it says PowerPC, it’s too old. Maybe this is an old piece of software you no longer use. Be aware that anything PowerPC will not run on Lion. There is no longer support for Rosetta translations (PowerPC code to Intel).
Keep in mind that your favorite software may have been updated already or will be soon. You’ll have to check this out on your app company websites (ie. Adobe, ProTools, etc).
USING NEW FEATURES
Check out http://www.apple.com/macosx/ for information on all the new features and how to use them. Enjoy!