For anyone who has decided to upgrade their Mac OS X to Mountain Lion (or have already taken the plunge), it may be good to know about some of the useful features that are not readily apparent. Take a look at the following new options to make the most of your upgrade.
Update software first
If you can, update all of your software to the latest versions before upgrading to Mountain Lion. This will help you avoid having files sent to the “Incompatible Software” folder. If you already upgraded but forgot to upgrade your software, it’s not the end of the world.
For example, I upgraded but completely forgot to check Parallels compatibility. If you have version 6 or earlier of Parallels, you will have to shell out $49.95 to upgrade, which is more than Mountain Lion itself. If you have version 7 but forget to get the latest version as I did, you have to download it from this specific Parellels download page.
Share information through iCloud
Mountain Lion now has the ability to share much more of your information through iCloud, including documents, and even Safari tabs from multiple devices. On some apps such as Reminders and TextEdit for example, you will see options to create your new information in one of two places: “On My Mac” or “iCloud.” If you want to be able to share the information between your Mac and Apple mobile devices using the same Apple ID, choose “iCloud.”
New security measures
One thing you may come across is a new error message stating that you cannot open a program because it is not from an approved developer. This is caused by new security measures built into the upgrade. If you are sure the app is safe, you can work around the error without changing security settings by right-clicking on the file and choosing “Open.” You will then have an option to Open the file.
Notes on Mountain Lion is similar to the Notes app on the iPad and iPhone. The Mac version has some special features, however. Highlight text, then right-click it. You will see a slew of formatting options. Although these options cannot be used on your mobile device, you will be able to see any formatting from your Mac once your device receives the note through iCloud.
Safari, Notification Center, and iPhoto have some of the best sharing options, all available for free. The share button in most areas will appear as a square with an arrow pointing to the right. All three have Twitter integration, with Notification Center allowing you to send and receive Twitter updates. Safari will allow you to save an offline reading list, and share your open tabs with your iOS devices.
iPhoto has the most sharing capabilities so far, allowing you to share photos through Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Messages, and others. It’s extremely handy to have all of your sharing in one place.
Don’t forget about dictation! There is nothing indicating that dictation is available, but you can activate it by pressing the function key (fn) twice. Just place your cursor in a place where text can be typed, such as within TextEdit, and activate dictation. Say your piece, then click the function button again. The text will appear where you placed the cursor. Just make sure you have an Internet connection, or it won’t work.
Check out System Preferences
Search around System Preferences to find all of the new settings for new and old software. Most of the new features have a settings page, but old apps also have a few new features. Just look around and get familiar with everything, and have fun with your new upgrade!