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Ten exciting system changes in Mountain Lion

Serenity Caldwell | Feb. 22, 2012
Sharing, sharing, everywhere

Sharing, sharing, everywhere

Mountain Lion’s new Share button (modeled after iOS’s Action button) is just about everywhere in OS X 10.8. It’s embedded in apps like Safari. It’s a new button in Quick Look. It’s present in the bottom right corner of an app’s Open menu. And share options like Twitter and Email are even available when right-clicking on text in certain programs. The message is clear: Apple wants it to be easy for you to share files, folders, pithy phrases—you name it.

Many computers, one account

In keeping with the sharing theme, Apple will let users sync their accounts across computers. It may not be as full-featured as iOS’s “Restore from iCloud Backup,” but I’ll welcome any kind of account parity between computers—especially if this brings back password and Dock syncing.

iCloud-y documents

While Apple shows no sign of throwing out the file system whole-hog just yet (and good thing, too), there will be a new option popping up with Mountain Lion: iCloud document storage, a central online repository for your files, images, PDFs, and such. You can create new documents within iCloud directly, add documents from your Mac by dragging them into the window, or send them back to your Mac by dragging them out.

(Image Caption: Store your documents in the cloud and have access to them anywhere.)

Screen sharing: Now with draggable files

Apple’s Remote Desktop software has had drag-and-drop file sharing for several years; now, every Mountain Lion user who uses Screen Sharing will have that same privilege. Just drag a file or folder from your shared screen to your own desktop, and voilà—it’ll appear on your local Mac.

Multi-disk backup

After having a terrible hard drive disaster back in college, I’ve been horribly paranoid about my backup arrangements. Mountain Lion will humor my paranoia by letting me use Time Machine to back up to several disks at once, automatically. And since OS X supports backup to networked drives, I can keep my files current in several physical places as well, without any extra work.

One-stop software updating

(Image Caption: Never spend time in front of this awful window again.)

Software Update, possibly the slowest Apple program on your Mac, is saying goodbye in Mountain Lion. Instead, the App Store will be handling any system patches, along with updates for your Mac App Store programs. And as a bonus, Notification Center will alert you in the background when updates are available, saving you five minutes of staring at the “Checking for new software” window.

Accessibility gets a little more… accessible

In the past, Apple’s Universal Access preference pane presented a panoply of options to the user, and always struck me as a little bit intimidating. Mountain Lion’s revised Accessibility pane simplifies the process greatly by taking a cue from iOS: Information is presented in three categories—Seeing, Hearing, and Interacting—with clearly labeled sub-sections under each.

 

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