Good news. Based on reviews I’ve read (and my own experience), the consensus appears to be that OS X Mountain Lion is a generally stable update with a minimum of significant problems, especially for a 10.x.0 release. Still, things can and do occasionally go wrong. It always pays to be cautious before upgrading to a new version of OS X. This remains true for Apple’s latest cat.
I’ll highlight one general install tip here: After downloading the Install OS X Mountain Lion app from the Mac App Store, you’ll find it in your Applications folder. Make a copy of the app before proceeding. Otherwise, the app will vanish without a trace after you complete the install (this is a deliberate feature, not a bug). Yes, you can get it back by re-downloading the app, but keeping a copy saves you time and hassle, in case you ever want to use Install again.
Reader Nick Hamilton finds himself stuck between old hardware and a new operating system. He writes:
I have an older AirPort Express Base Station. I recently installed Mountain Lion and have found that its version of AirPort Utility doesn’t work with this Base Station—when I try to select the base station I’m told that I need AirPort Utility 5.6. I downloaded that version but when I attempt to install it Mountain Lion tells me it’s not supported. What do I do?
Mountain Lion is telling you an untruth. That version of AirPort Utility will run on your Mac (even under Mountain Lion) and work with your Base Station. The fly in the ointment in this case is the installer. It simply refuses to install this perfectly fine utility.
When Apple ships a new version of the Mac OS, it generally takes no more than 24 hours for the questions to come pouring in. Such is exactly the case with Mountain Lion. You have questions, I have answers.
I’m not happy with Safari 6. When I type in a web address and press Return, I’m taken to a Google search page rather than the site I want to visit.
First, be a bit more patient. If you type and immediately press Return you won’t see Safari’s list of results—one of which will likely be the website you want to visit. Instead, type the important bits of the address, wait for the list appear, and select the site from that list.
A reader who works in the world of Big Business (and wishes to remain anonymous) finds fault with Apple’s app licensing. He writes:
How is a business supposed to manage apps that have been purchased in the Mac App Store and iTunes Store, once an employee leaves the company? We have already concluded that the user has to use a company controlled user account, but if they leave I can’t transfer that app to another user. Currently we have maybe 100 iPad and phones, but we are getting more and more MacBooks and MacBook Airs. Some of the apps cost more than $200 and yet they aren’t transferable to another user. Can you shed some light on what some other larger corporations are doing to manage their apps and appliances?
Like yours, other large corporations have turned in the general direction of Cupertino and, in the kind of coordination seen only in the medal-worthy forms of Olympic water ballet, shaken their fists in impotent rage. And they have because Apple has created a limited system for transferring iOS app licenses and no good way to transfer applications purchased from the Mac App Store.
At least three times over the past few weeks, iTunes Match has spontaneously reset itself on my Mac. By this, I mean that the iTunes Match item reappeared in the Store section listing. Selecting the item revealed that iTunes was again proceeding through the three steps of matching all of my music (Step 1: Gathering information about your iTunes library).
Like many of us, Eric Jacobs has parents and those parents are confounded by iPad photo management. He writes:
My parents bought an iPad last year to use primarily when traveling, for email, and particularly to manage the photos they shoot. But the process is confusing. Can you shed some light on how this is supposed to work?
I don’t blame your parents for their confusion. The iPad’s Photos app isn’t as intuitive as it could be. Here are the basics on managing photos.
Reader Michael Anders is thinking about a Mountain Lion update but is concerned that he may not be able to use one of its more attractive features. He writes:
I have a 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 15” MacBook Pro, which was made in 2010. I’ve heard that some MacBook Pro models, although capable of running Mountain Lion, won’t support AirPlay Mirroring. Is that true? And, if so, is there an alternative for sharing my Mac’s screen via my third-generation Apple TV?
You have heard correctly. Take a look at the Feature-Specific Requirements section of Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion Tech Specs page and you’ll find this listed under AirPlay Mirroring: