5 Things To Do After Installing OS X Mountain Lion

When you’ve installed the new 10.8 version of Mac OS – now known simply as OS X Mountain Lion, there are a few things that you should do to make sure that everything is set up properly. Whenever you install or upgrade Mac OS, it’s a good idea to check various system settings as well as configure any new options that may be available.

In this tutorial, we’ll explore a few options to check out before you start using Mountain Lion on a daily basis.

Mountain Lion Post-Installation Activities

Mac App Store IconCheck Application Compatibility

When you’ve successfully installed Mountain Lion, one of the first things to determine is whether your currently-installed apps still work properly. Of course, the simplest way to check is simply to open the apps and see whether they work as expected, but there are a few extra steps you can take to make sure everything works as normal.

You’re unlikely to encounter many issues with native Apple applications such as Mail, Safari, iPhoto and iWork, but third-party apps may experience unexpected problems, or worse still, stop working altogether. Many Mac OS X Lion applications included new features such as full screen mode, and the same is true in Mountain Lion. Features like notifications require application developers to use the new application programming interfaces (API’s), but on the whole most apps should continue to work just fine.

To check your application compatibility, follow these steps:

  • Open your applications and check they works as normal
  • Go to the developer website and see what they say about Mountain Lion compatibility and any new features added
  • Check the Apple website and forums to see if there is any discussion about applications which have issues
  • Check out specialist Internet websites (such as roaringapps.com) which maintain an up to date list of apps with compatibility notes on Lion and Mountain Lion)
Unfortunately, if your application doesn’t work on Mountain Lion there’s not much you can do except wait for the developers (or Apple) to fix the relevant bugs and technical issues, but hopefully the new OS will not cause too many problems for existing apps.

Software Update IconCheck For Updates

Just like Mac OS X Lion, when you’ve installed Mountain Lion it’s a good idea to check for system updates, and remember to let your Mac check regularly because frequent updates are expected during the first few months.

Lion Software Update Window
The traditional software update window is gone in Mountain Lion

In Mountain Lion, both application and system updates are now handled through the Mac App Store. The current Software Update mechanism has been superseded and everything is in one convenient place. If you click Software Update in the Apple menu, it opens up the Mac App Store and checks for the latest software from there. This certainly makes it easier to keep track of updates and is more consistent that Lion, in which some apps were updated via the App Store and some through Software Update.

Mac App Store
The App Store is the central place to get app updates in Mountain Lion

Gestures ImageLearn New Gestures

Since Lion was released, Mac OS has featured gestures quite heavily. Gestures can help you access oft-used functions such as moving between desktops or opening Mission Control to view the available windows and applications.

Mac OS gestures are occasionally tweaked slightly, and even changes in function are introduced from time to time. Gestures can be configured in the Trackpad or Mouse settings in System Preferences, and a few new ones have been introduced in Mountain Lion.

New gestures in Mountain Lion include:

  • 3-finger single tap (no double tap required) to view dictionary definitions
  • Swipe 2 fingers from the right edge of the trackpad to open Notification Center
Note that the Notification Center swipe shouldn’t interfere with the two-fingered forward/backward-swipe in Safari because has to be performed from the right-hand edge of the trackpad. There may be additional new gestures in Mountain Lion that Apple adds before the official release, but those demonstrated so far should help improve your productivity on the Mac even more.

Gatekeeper IconSetup Gatekeeper

Once you’ve installed Mountain Lion, you’ll want to configure Gatekeeper to control what sort of applications can be installed on your Mac. Gatekeeper is a new security measure which can prevent unapproved apps from being installed, or it can just allow everything much like Lion does today.

To use Gatekeeper:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Go to the Security & Privacy item
  3. Under the General tab, choose the relevant option in the lower section
If you’re a novice user and are happy with using the Mac App Store only, the first option is sufficient.
Gatekeeper screenshot
Gatekeeper controls which applications can be installed on your Mac

iCloud IconMake Sure iCloud is Setup

Installing Mountain Lion is made much easier if you simultaneously setup iCloud to synchronise your Contacts, Reminders, Calendar, Bookmarks, Photos, Documents and more with any other Apple devices you own. The setup process is quite simple, as you’re prompted to enter your Apple ID during the Mountain Lion setup process.

Once you’ve fully setup Mountain Lion and iCloud, it’s worth taking a few minutes to check your iCloud settings to control which applications and services you’d like to synchronise. The various options are shown below.

Don’t forget that you can also go to Apples¬†iCloud website in your browser to view many of the synchronised items.

iCloud Option
Configure the individual services you want to sync in iCloud options

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