Apple to Release Mountain Lion Wednesday (and how to prepare):

Mountain Lion is about to be uncaged (Image from apple.com)

In their earnings call today, Apple announced that they will be releasing the next version of OS X, dubbed Mountain Lion, on Wednesday July 25th.  OS 10.8 will be sold in the Mac App Store for $20 (American), though people who have bought Mac’s since June 11th will be given a free update upon request.

In order to run Mountain Lion, your Mac will need to meet the system requirements.  According to Apple, and borrowed from Macworld, these Mac models will support mountain Lion:

  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

Apple says you will need at least 2 gigs of RAM (though I advise at least 4 gigs), at least 8 gigs of free hard drive space (again, I recommend more, maybe 20 to be safe), and an Intel Core 2 Duo processor.  Your Mac also needs to be running Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or any version of Lion, though it is advised you have the latest version of Lion to be safe.  To check if you have all of the requirements, go to the Apple logo in the top left-hand corner of your Mac, and select about this Mac.  This will tell you how much RAM you have, what version of OS X you are using, and what processor you have.  If you want to see what model or year number your Mac is, download the free Mactracker and find out.

There are some things you can do to prepare your Mac for the upgrade, so here’s a rundown.

RUN YOUR UPDATES:

This goes both for your Mac and your apps.  First go to the Apple logo in the top left-hand corner and select “Software Update”.  This will give you any updates needed for your Mac’s OS, plugins, and a few other apps.  Keep running this until there is nothing left for Software Update to install.   If you have purchased anything from the Mac App Store, go to the Updates section and make sure

Update your stuff (image from apple.com)

all of your apps are up to date, as most of them should have already been upgraded for Mountain Lion compatibility.

For any apps you bought outside the Mac App Store, for example Chrome, Firefox, Adobe Flash, etc.  Most should have built-in update processes that should at least notify or let you check for updates.  Make sure you run all of them.  You could also use a third party tool to check for updates, like Cnet Techtracker or AppFresh.

BACKUP:

Apple’s upgrades usually go smoothly, but it’s not uncommon for some people to have problems.  That’s why it’s best to have a backup of all your personal stuff so that you don’t risk losing it.  Even better is a bootable backup to restore from, which you can create with a tool like SuperDuper or Carbon  Copy Cloner.  The key part of this is to make sure that your backup works as well.  So if you’re using an external hard drive, for example, make sure you can access the files by plugging it into your Mac or another Mac and opening some of the files.  If you’re using a bootable backup solution, make sure you can boot off of your Mac; you can do this by plugging in your external hard drive, restarting your Mac, and holding the “Option” key when the Mac starts up.  Then select the external hard drive and if all is well, then your Mac shoot boot up from the external hard drive.

CHECK FOR ERRORS:

Your hard drive may or may not have errors on it.  To test this, open Disk Utility in your Utilities folder (you can also do a Spotlight search for it).  Select your Mac’s hard drive in the left sidebar, the select the “First Aid” tab (which should be selected by default) and then hit “Verify Disk Permissions” followed by “Repair Disk Permissions” when the Mac has finished the verification process.  Once you have finished

This is Disk Utility.

with permissions, run the “Verify Disk” protocol.  It should return with an “OK” message, but should it not then hit “Repair Disk”.

If the repair function cannot fix any problems with the disk, you will need to boot into the recovery partition (Lion user, hold the Option key down at boot) or run your recovery disks that came with your Mac (Snow Leopard and earlier, insert the discs, restart the Mac and hold down the Option key at boot).  From here, you will need to run the disc’s/partition’s Disk Utility or reinstall the OS.

REMOVE ENCRYPTION:

If you are using any form of an encryption tool on your Mac’s hard drive, such as the built-in FileVault, TrueCrypt, or any other similar program, you will need to remove this.  Encryption can cause problems for the update process when the Mac needs to reboot.  Encryption can be re-enabled when the update is done, but for the actual update process it needs to be removed.

 

Some of you may just want to wait a few weeks before upgrading, especially those who run servers or high end apps like Adobe, etc.  This will give others a chance to find bugs between the new OS and any other major apps and you won’t get bitten.  Likewise it means these bugs will be taken care of by the time you do decide to upgrade.  For the average user, however, as long as you follow the above steps then you should be fine.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email us at easyosx@live.com  You can also check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  And be sure to check us out on Google Plus.  Thanks!

App of the Week: CNET TechTracker

One of the most important things with software is making sure it is kept up to date.  The more apps you have, of course, the harder it is to keep it all up to date.  Apple’s software, and a few others, update through the built-in Software Update, and apps bought through the Mac App Store can be updated through there.  But there’s other software that won’t auto update, or that aren’t in one of these modules, such as Firefox, Skype, Flash Player and more.  How do you make sure you keep all of them up to date?  One way is to go through CNET’s TechTracker.

CNET is one of the most respected names in tech journalism, but they also host the popular download.com that not only lets you look up Mac software, but Windows, mobile apps, and web apps.  They also have a free tool called TechTracker.  After making a free account with CNET, you download the TechTracker app (that same account allows you to comment on articles, enter into prize drawings, and more on their website).  You log into the account after installing the app, and it scans all the apps on the Mac and compares them to its app repository.  When its done, it will tell you how many apps are out of date, and then direct you to a specially made webpage listing all of your apps and at the top the ones that need updating.  If the apps needing updates are ones you don’t want scanned, you can tell the webpage to hide the apps either until the next update, or permanently.  From then on, TechTracker will scan your computer either every 4 hours, daily, weekly, or monthly and notify you of new updates.  Most of the time, it will scan as soon as you turn on your Mac on, which can be annoying when you have no Internet connection and the app complains.  If you get TechTracker Plus, which is a paid service, TechTracker will automatically download the updates you need so that you can install them later.

The only issues I’ve found with the entire system is that occasionally it says I need an update that I’ve already installed, which can be kind of a pain.  Also the app’s preferences need to be adjusted from the pan it created in System Preferences, rather than TechTracker having its preferences within the app.  The only other thing is that some apps, usually newer or some lesser known apps, aren’t in the list, and neither are some big name paid games, such as MineCraft.  The list may not be comprehensive, but the majority of my apps outside the Mac App Store are there and the app is pretty reliable otherwise.  You can check it out at http://www.cnet.com/techtracker-free/?tag=posts;msg3371189.  It is available for Macs running OSX 10.5 and higher, as well as Windows XP and higher.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  Thanks!

All 5 iLife apps have been updated

iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband ’11, as well as iWeb 3 and iDVD 7 (both iLife ’09 and ’11 apps) have been updated today.  They are relatively minor updates, so I won’t go over them.  iDVD and iWeb will update through Software Update.  iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband will need to update through the Mac App Store if you bought them there, but will update through Software Update if you bought it elsewhere (like on the physical discs).

How to prepare your Mac for OS X 10.7 Lion | MacFixIt – CNET Reviews

 

 

 

 

How to prepare your Mac for OS X 10.7 Lion | MacFixIt – CNET Reviews.

A very good article from the MacFixIt blog on Cnet about what you need to do to prepare for upgrading to Lion and making sure you have the right system requirements.  Hint: No PowerPC chips, only Intel

Airport Utility Update

Today, Apple released an update to several Macbook models for the AirPort Utility.  It is reported to “resolve an issue that caused the AirPort Utility to unexpectedly quit during setup”  I don’t know of anyone having this problem, but I’ve updated anyway.  To update, just click the Apple icon in the Finder bar, and click Software Update.