Apple fans can hear the roar: Mountain Lion is coming soon.
Apple’s next-generation operating system for the iMac and MacBook family, Mac OS X Mountain Lion, is expected to be released in less than a week on July 25. It will cost $19.99 and be sold only out of the Mac App Store.
To ensure that you can upgrade to Mountain Lion as smooth as possible, there are some things you can do now, although it may just make you more anxious. Once the following is taken care of, you can go and download Mountain Lion and wait the 30 minutes it will take to set up.
Step one is important: Is your Mac even capable of handling Mountain Lion? We ran a piece not too long ago spelling out which Macs were in and which Macs were out. If you’re still using a Mac pre-2008, you now have an excuse to go out and upgrade.
You will need to have at least Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to upgrade, along with 2 GB of memory and at least 8 GB of space available on your hard drive. This shouldn’t be a problem.
If you mostly download your apps now from the Mac App Store, you should be all set on having Mountain Lion compatible apps. If you are using older apps that for some reason still work on your Mac, you may have some issues.
The best part about installing a new operating system is that it should — theoretically — make your Mac run faster. Of course, you can help that process by doing a little summer cleaning of your own. I personally use MacKeeper, but that costs $30. There are free apps out there, such as AppCleaner, which will wipe out apps you no longer need or don’t use. Also run a disk maintenance utility scan to make sure your hard drive is error free and run any repairs if necessary.
This is a great time to clean up any unnecessary files (photos, music, movies, etc.) and free up some more space.
If you’re nervous about a Mountain Lion install going wrong, then back up your Mac onto a hard drive. If you have a Time Capsule and use Time Machine, you should be set. If not, just copy and paste your Mac’s hard drive onto an external hard drive.
Next, click the little Apple in the lefthand corner of your screen and run a system update. You can do this for two reasons: One, it’ll likely be the last time you ever do it. In Mountain Lion, all system updates are done through the Notification Center. And two, being most updated is pretty important when upgrading operating systems.
And last but not least, make sure you have your iCloud files in order. (Again, another great thing to clean up) Mountain Lion further integrates iCloud, so it would be smart to have it neat and orderly and ready to go.
That should be it! We’re excited for the Mountain Lion release — are you?