You’ve waited for months and months, seen leaks and teasers from official developers already using it, and spent hours gazing at its product page, but Lion is finally here and ready for you to install. You’re most definitely ready for it, but is your Mac? Here are a few things that you may want to make sure you’ve got before you get too excited about installing that brand new OS of yours…
1. Snow Leopard
Yes, it’s stupid, and no, it probably won’t be changing anytime soon. You can’t do a fresh install of Lion straight off the bat until you download it from the App Store first, and of course the App Store is only available to Macs which are running Snow Leopard, so to use Lion you will first have to install Snow Leopard to update it to install the Mac App Store to download Lion and THEN update it to the latest operating system. Are you as lost as I am? Good.
Fortunately, both Snow Leopard and Lion are both well priced. You can pick up a copy of Snow Leopard for £25, and Lion will set you back just over £20. Not bad for a brand new OS, but the installation is truly ridiculous if you aren’t already a Snow Leopard user.
2. A Core 2 Duo or higher CPU
You could install Snow Leopard on any Intel Mac, but this latest cat is only going to be playing friendly with machines which are equipped with Intel Core 2 Duo or later processors. If you were one of the early Intel adopters stuck with a Core Solo processor, then it may be time to upgrade, or at least say goodbye to Lion for now.
Although many people may not like Apple requiring a dual core processor for Lion, I’m behind moves such as these as it means that the software can be developed without holding back features in considerations for lower specced machines. It also means that the software will run as intended. I would rather have Snow Leopard run fast than have Lion run slowly, so it’s good having the cut-off point.
3. At least 2GB RAM
Did you know that you could install Snow Leopard with just 1GB of RAM? Considering how cheap you can pick up RAM now, there’s no excuses for having at least 4GB in most machines, especially since it’s so easy to install extra memory in Apple’s laptops. To be able to install Lion, you need to make sure you have at least 2GB installed, which most people should have covered, especially if they have a machine with a Core 2 Duo processor.
4. Say goodbye to PowerPC
Before you upgrade to Lion, check that you aren’t running any PowerPC applications on your machine, because they won’t work on Lion at all. Snow Leopard was the last operating system to support Rosetta, Apple’s PPC emulation software, and any older programs that you may still have lying around won’t thank you for upgrading too quickly. If you do have some PowerPC applications that you need to run, but want to upgrade to Lion, then consider dual booting your Mac and keeping a Snow Leopard partition handy.
I think that covers just about everything you need to know before upgrading to Lion, although it won’t hurt to do a little spring cleaning before you upgrade, either. Let us know how you get on in the comments, and be sure to follow the rest of our Lion in the Spotlight series this week!