Get Ready for OS X Lion §

Apple’s next update to the OS X operating system, Lion, will be released sometime this month. There are a few things to consider before making any major OS upgrade on your Mac, and Lion has a few unique things to consider.

Can Your Mac Handle It?

It’s a safe bet if you’re running 10.6 Snow Leopard and have the Mac App Store, you’re good to go. But Apple have outlined specific processor requirements — buried on the "How to Buy" page of their website — you need to have an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor.

Lose the Rosetta Apps

Lion will drop support for Rosetta, the layer of OS X that made it possible to run apps written for the PowerPC chip on the Intel based models. It’s been 5 years since Apple made the switch to Intel processors, and makes perfect since that the next generation OS X will leave the old PowerPC-only apps in the dust.

But what if you’re still running PowerPC only applications? Well, they’re not going to work anymore after the Lion upgrade. So, find out what they are and replace them now, if you can. Anything mission-critical that is not Intel-only or Universal by this time probably never will be, so best to stay with Snow Leopard.

Here’s how to check:

  1. Click "About This Mac" in the Apple menu then choose "More Info", this will open the System Profiler.
  2. In the "Contents" column on the left, click on "Applications"
  3. After a minute or so, a list of every application on your machine will appear.
  4. Clicking the "Kind" column will sort by Intel, PowerPC and Universal

Anything with the Kind "PowerPC" will no longer work after the Lion upgrade. For me there are about 10 apps, and I actually don’t care about any of them.


To Upgrade or Clean Install?

This is the major question whenever upgrading to any new version of OS X. For me, in the past, I have opted for the "Archive & Install" option, which created a backup for your previous OS software and installed the new version fresh. From what I can tell, that is no longer an option with Lion because of it’s Mac App Store only distribution process. The only options here are a straight upgrade on top of Snow Leopard, or to do a clean install onto a new partition.

Fine, so what am I going to do? Part of me wants to perform a clean install, but the other part doesn’t want to deal with re-installing applications, copying back hundreds of gigabytes of media, re-customizing my user account, etc. I haven’t performed a fresh install of OS X on my iMac since Leopard, which makes me want to go that route. But the hassle isn’t worth it — Apple seem to be pushing upgrade-on-top-of-Lion as the way to go, so I’m inclined to trust that process will be fleshed out, and go with it.

The Features I Can’t Wait For

iCloud, of course

Even though it isn’t due out until iOS 5 is officially released this fall, I already have my developer iCloud account with iOS 5 beta 2. The real power of iCloud doesn’t show up until you can use it on all of your devices, including your Mac. This is the killer feature of the new Apple OSes, no doubt about it.

Resume, Auto-Save, Versions

These three working together will take computing to a whole new level of simplicity. And it sure does solve the problem of a floppy disk save icon. Amiright?


Its release is imminent, and I will be buying, downloading and installing on all of my Macs the day it comes out. What about you?

Make It a Discussion

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