Updating to Mac OS X Lion

The latest version of Mac OS X, Lion, is full of new features and improvements that make it well worth the update. The ability to take advantage of iCloud, Apple’s new, free online sync service is definitely at that top of that list, but Lion also includes greatly improved security, full-screen apps, auto-saved documents with searchable past versions, improved file sharing and email, and that’s just a few of the features that Lion brings to your Mac.

With the release of its latest Mac operating system, OS X Lion, Apple has also evolved the update process itself. Gone are the days of purchasing a physical DVD to install from; Lion is delivered directly to your system over the Internet, making the entire process relatively simple and convenient for the majority of Mac users.

Preparing your computer

Your Mac will get the Lion update directly from Apple via the Mac App Store, a feature only available in the most recent versions of OS X Snow Leopard. If you aren’t sure if you have Snow Leopard, Click the Apple symbol on the very left of the menu bar at the top of the screen, and choose ABOUT THIS MAC from the drop-down list.

A small window will appear with some basic information about your system. If you are currently running Snow Leopard, it will say VERSION 10.6.X near the top.

If it says 10.5 or anything lower, see Updating From an Older Operation System below.

Purchasing Lion

Once your sure that you are currently running Snow Leopard, click the Apple icon in the menu bar again, and choose APP STORE. (If you don’t see APP STORE in the drop-down list, choose SOFTWARE UPDATE and update your Mac to the latest version of Snow Leopard.

Type “Lion” in the search bar on the upper-right corner of the App Store window,  and press Return on your keyboard. OS X Lion should be first app listed in the search results.

Click the button that says $29.99, then click it again when it changes to say BUY APP. Type in your Apple ID and password when prompted, and click SIGN IN. If you don’t have an Apple ID, just click CREATE APPLE ID, and follow the steps to set one up.

Apple will charge the credit card registered with your Apple ID the $29.99, and Lion will now begin to download to your computer. A Lion download icon will appear in your dock, with a slider underneath that shows the status of the download.

 Lion is a very large app, and the download can take several hours, depending on your Internet connection speed, so you may want to go do something else and check back later.

Once Lion has finished downloaded, a installation window will appear that will ask you to agree to the terms and conditions and start the installation. Your computer will automatically restart after the installation is finished, and your computer is now ready to take advantage of the many great features of Apple’s latest Mac OS.

Updating to Lion from an older operating system

If your Mac is running OS 10.5 or anything lower, you won’t be able to take advantage of this new method of updating to Lion. Apple has provided another means for update for people in this situation. You will need to go to your nearest Apple Store and purchase the Lion installer on a USB thumb drive, which retails for $69.

Jason Merrill, Mac & iOS Consultant