Just a year after Lion (OS X 10.7), Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) is here. And just like Lion, getting Mountain Lion is as easy as downloading an installer from the Mac App Store—a few clicks (and some patience) is all it takes to install OS X 10.8 over your existing copy of Lion or Snow Leopard. But that doesn’t mean you should make the jump without any preparation, or that there are no important decisions to make along the way.
We’ve installed Mountain Lion more times than we can count—even more times than we installed Lion a year ago—in order to put together this guide to installing the latest Mac OS. In the articles below, we cover the requirements for running Mountain Lion; the things you should do to get your Mac ready; and the purchase and download processes. We walk you through the actual installation; recommend some post-install tasks; discuss some upgrade challenges; and help you decide if a “clean install” is for you.
We’ve also got instructions for creating a bootable Mountain Lion installer drive, as well as for installing Mountain Lion over Leopard (OS X 10.5)—provided you have the appropriate license to do so. Finally, we’ve got a hands-on look at OS X Recovery (also known as recovery mode) and Internet Recovery. With this guide and $20 (for purchasing Mountain Lion), you should be able to make the transition to 10.8 painlessly.