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Survey: The OS X features you love the most (and those you don't love at all)

Macworld staff | June 3, 2013
Ten days before Apple (presumably) unveils the next OS X, we find out which features in OS X Mountain Lion our readers and staff actually use. The winners: Messages and Notification Center. The losers: Dictation and Game Center.

Documents in the Cloud
Our users were split on taking advantage of iCloud's file-storage system. Almost half never touch the thing, a third use it occasionally, and just 19 percent rely heavily on it.

Again, most members of our staff use the feature at least occasionally, given its close integration with Apple's iWork suite. But it doesn't get a lot of love, even from those who use it: "More often than not it's a pain in the neck," says Senior Editor Chris Breen. Dan Frakes was more blunt: "Really, really, really dislike the implementation, so I refuse to use it." If you wonder which alternative service our staffers mentioned most often, let's just say it rhymes with "Mopfox."

Mail VIPs
Mail VIPs may be one of Mountain Lion's more underappreciated features: Almost 60 percent of our survey respondents said that they never use it at all.

Our staff was much more positive about it: Two-thirds of us use it all the time. "I love the ability to limit Mail notifications to just those people I care about," says Dan Moren; Jon Seff has "set up VIPs for my wife and some other family, which quickly alerts me when something from one of them comes in." Dan Frakes calls the feature "hugely useful." Many of the Macworld staffers who say they don't take advantage of the feature don't use Mail itself.

Ah, Messages. Apple's reinvented chat client may win the "love to hate" award among Mountain Lion features. Three-quarters of our readers fire it up at least occasionally, and 44 percent use it all the time.

Almost all of Macworld's editors open the app at least once in a while. "I think Messages is mostly terrible as an instant message client, but I appreciate its ability to sync with my iOS devices and their iMessages," says Lex Friedman. The most common feeling, however, seems to be a sense of being held hostage: "I use Messages all the time, but I hate it," says Jon Seff, adding that he constantly misses messages from people due to poor alerting options. Serenity Caldwell dubs it "so broken," and Dan Moren quips, "Messages: I wish I could quit you. No, seriously — you relaunch every single time I get a new message."

Notification Center
Notification Center is a prominent part of Mountain Lion, so it's not surprising that only 18 percent of our survey participants have never yielded to its linen-ful embrace.

All Macworld editors use Notification Center at least some of the time, though most say they open it only occasionally. The prevailing sentiment is that it's more of an annoyance than anything else. "It's good to take a peek at occasionally, but holds plenty of out-of-date notifications," comments Serenity Caldwell. Jon Seff backs that up: "I have Notifications on for many things, but don't actually visit Notification Center all that much — mostly to clear out items." Dan Moren takes an even harsher view, calling it "a worthless time-suck where I have to spend 10 minutes deleting all those accumulated messages that I no longer care about."


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