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How To: Make Sure Your Mac Is Ready For OS X Lion

How To: Make Sure Your Mac Is Ready For OS X Lion

Lion is here ($29.99, App Store Link) – it has finally arrived, and while I’m sure the meager $30 price tag won’t stand in your way, I do challenge you all with this one question: are you ready? Below we will provide some tips and tricks for prepping your system for Lion.

Mac OS X Lion

Apple has already spelled out what we should expect from Lion – a Mac App Store-based install, a boatload of new and revised features, the dropping of Rosetta/PowerPC support…the list goes on. With the release of Lion likely only a couple of weeks away, here’s what you can to do make sure you’re ready to roll when the time comes.

Make Sure Your Mac Is Compatible With Lion.

If your Mac was purchased in 2006 or later, you should be OK to install Lion, but be aware of the system requirements: OS X Lion requires no less than a Core 2 Duo processor or better – something which you can check by clicking the Apple Menu and selecting “About This Mac.” Users of older Macs, or non-Intel macs simply will not be able to upgrade to Lion.

Make Sure You’re Running Snow Leopard

Users of OS X 10.5 Leopard take note: you’ll need to upgrade to OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (and make sure it’s upgraded to the latest version – 10.6.8) in order to be able to upgrade to Lion. This is due to the fact that, among other things, OS X Snow Leopard was the first version of OS X to support the Mac App Store. Fortunately, Snow Leopard costs just $29, and can still readily be obtained.

Get Ready To Gesture

If you’re on a MacBook, you’re in good shape here, as you’ll be able to take advantage of the full array of gestures offered in OS X 10.7 Lion. Those of you running desktop Mac’s, however, may want to consider investing in a Magic Trackpad. Gesturing is pivotal to the full OS X Lion experience, so those left without a trackpad may also be left without the ability to truly experience all that OS X Lion has to offer. While the Magic Mouse does offer some gestures, it won’t support all of OS X Lion’s gestures, and certainly won’t provide the same experience as a trackpad.

Make Sure Your Software Is Compatible

Some third party applications are inevitably going to be broken in the initial release of OS X Lion – it’s a fact of life. Sometimes, it’s up to the developer to implement support for a new OS, while sometimes a software update will fix the issue. At any rate, you may want to consider keeping a working install of OS X Snow Leopard on another partition just in case.

Kiss Rosetta Goodbye

Mac OS X Lion will be dropping support for Rosetta – the emulator than enabled previous versions of OS X to run PowerPC code. All PowerPC support has been removed from Lion, so be aware that you’ll need to find alternatives for any older PowerPC-based apps you might still be using – this is progress, people, come on!

You can check to see if you have any old PowerPC code on your system by going to the Apple Menu, selecting “About This Mac”, clicking on “More Info”, and browsing to Software > Applications in the left sidebar. This will show you every application on your Mac, and the “Kind” column will tell you what they’ll run on. Apps labeled “Universal” or “Intel” are the only ones that will run on OS X Lion, and if there’s anything marked PowerPC on your list, it will be history when you upgrade. You have been warned.

Wait It Out

Now you’re ready for Lion, and you, like the rest of us, merely have to (impatiently) wait for your download to finish, then $30 and one click later (App Store Link), and you’ll be made in the shade – that is to say, if Apple’s servers can keep up with the tremendous demand for bandwidth.

Are you going to buy OS X Lion? Will you buy it right away, or wait for the first update? I already have it, so do you have any Lion-related questions for us? Sound off in the comments!


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