As we flip our calendars to July this morning, many Apple users excitedly await the release of Mac OS 10.7 Lion, slated to be released sometime this month. Each time a major revision of an operating system is released, our computers get a makeover. Updated ways of doing things, a user-interface-lift, and great new features.
Each time there’s a major operating system upgrade, it’s a good idea to do a handful of things to make sure the upgrade goes smoothly. Unequivocally, the most important thing you can do for your computer is back up your data. If you want to keep those pictures, documents, songs, and videos, you must have a backup. Time Machine is simple, easy, and effective.
Once your computer is backed up, run Apple’s software update and make sure you install all available updates. A week or so ago, Apple released Mac OS X 10.6.8, which in addition to general fixes, is necessary to upgrade to Lion.
Almost every computer that can run Snow Leopard will be able to run Lion. The models that are running a “Core Duo” or “Core Solo” processor may be able to run Snow Leopard, but in order to run Lion, the computer must have either a “Core 2 Duo” or “Core i5” or “Core i7” processor. Additionally, all models of Mac Pro will be able to run Lion. To check what type of processor your computer has, go to the Apple menu in the top left and click the very first item, “About this Mac.”
Lion is the first version of Mac OS X that will be available as an online download. In fact, Lion will be available exclusively in the Mac App Store. If you haven’t already tried out the Mac App Store, now’s a good time to familiarize yourself. I recommend downloading a couple free apps just to see how the process works.
If you have a slow internet connection, Apple has announced that customers will be able to come into Apple stores to download the approximately 3.5 gigabyte update.
The last point about upgrading is that patience can be a virtue. Apple will release Lion, and that day thousands of early adopters (your author included) will download Lion as fast as they can. It may be wise to let the earliest of adopters upgrade first, then wait a day or two to make sure no widespread problems are reported. And of course, make sure you’re backed up.