Mountain Lion OS X certainly has its enticements, in fact at the Mac App Store it says it has over 200 of them. With so many neat upgrades, many are looking forward to a Mountain Lion upgrade. Before you go through what Apple says is a simple install though, there are some things you should do to make sure it is actually simple.
Step 1: Make Sure Your Mac Meets Mountain Lions Requirements
With any major OS X upgrade you should always prepare your Mac before you go to the Mac App Store to start the download. Of course, before you even begin to get your Mac ready for its new OS X, you should first make sure that you Mac fits its requirement list.
Apple’s requirements state that to run Mountain Lion you will need to have one of these computers listed below. If you have one of these Mac computers, it also must already be running Snow Leopard OSX 10.6.8 or any version of Lion OS X 10.7. If you’re not sure which operating system you’re running you can go to the Apple menu and click on ‘About this Mac.’ If you’re using Snow Leopard, you may not get all the information you need. You can use the free app called Mactracker though, and it will tell you what you need to know.
Mountain Lion Compatible Computer List:
iMac – Mid-2007 or Later
MacBook – Late 2008 or Later
MacBook Air – Late 2008 or Later
MacBook Pro – Mid 2007 or Later
Mac Pro – Early 2008 or Later
Xserve – Early 2009
If your Mac is one of the ones from the computer list and is running Snow Leopard or Lion, then you can proceed on to the next steps to get your Mac ready for the Mountain Lion upgrade. If your Mac is compatible but not running Snow Leopard, you can still get Mountain Lion, you’ll just have to upgrade first to Snow Leopard.
Step 2: Update Your Current OS X
Even though you are upgrading to a whole new OS X you still need to be sure that your Mac’s current OS X has the latest updates. To get the update for your Snow Leopard or Lion OS X, click on the Apple menu button and ‘About this Mac.’ Now you can click on the button for updates.
Step 3: Do You Have Enough RAM and Free Drive Space?
The third step to make sure your Mac’s ready for the Mountain Lion upgrade is to be sure that you have enough RAM. How much RAM should you have? Apple says that you will need 2GB of RAM, but most Mac experts agree that 4GB of RAM will make sure you’ll have a better running Mac. If you only have 2GB, this may be the time to consider upgrading your RAM. Do it before you upgrade your OS X. For your drive Apple suggests that you have at least 8GB free, however, 15GB or more is considered safer by those in the industry.
Not sure how much RAM or free drive space you have? Here’s how you find out:
RAM and Drive Space: Click again on the ‘Apple’ menu button. Click ‘About this Mac,’ and then on ‘More Info.’
In Lion: Click on the ‘Storage’ tab and it will show you how much drive space is free. Then click on ‘Memory’ to view its RAM amount.
In Snow Leopard: Once you click on ‘More Info’ you will have a window open called ‘System Profiler.’ Select ‘Memory’ to check your RAM and then select ‘Serial-ATA.’ Now click on your drive’s name on the right and you will see how much drive space you have free.
Step 4: Prepare Your Mac for Mountain Lions Upgrade by Giving it a Quick Checkup
So that you can have a truly simple and problem free Mountain Lion upgrade and installation, it’s best to give your Mac a quick checkup. Here are a few things that can help:
1) Mac First Aid: Go to Finder>Applications>Utilities>Disk Utility. Select your startup drive, which is in the list on the left. Now click on the ‘First Aid’ tab and click ‘Verify.’ If there are any problems, you’ll need to do some repairs using the ‘Repair Disk’ button.
2) iCloud: Lion users: Mountain Lion uses iCloud with many of its apps and services, so it’s good to get this out of the way before you install it. If you’re in Lion, you already have iCloud so just be sure you’re logged in to the account. Then make sure that syncing is enabled.
3) Firevault: This is for Snow Leopard users, because Lion’s OS X already uses Firevault 2. It is recommended that you disable Firevault in Snow Leopard before you upgrade.
Step 5: Final Step Before Your Mountain Lion Upgrade: Backup Your Mac
Before you do any big change to your Mac, and yes, changing its operating system is considered a big change, you should backup your Mac. You can use Time Machine if you have it setup and ready to go, or you can create a bootable clone copy. You can use a free program like Carbon Copy Cloner to do this.
Once you have made sure your Mac meets all of the requirements and that it is good shape, you can go to the Mac App Store and download your new OS X. If your Mac has all the available RAM, free drive space and a healthy system, then you should have a pain-free experience with your Mountain Lion upgrade.