Power Nap means your computer will continue to get updates, notifications and to back itself up all while it is in sleep mode. Those who deride the iOS-ification of the Mac, with what some see as a dumbing-down of the computer for mainstream users, will find much to make them shudder here. They are a minority, however.
(77 reviews). OS X Mountain Lion is Apple's best OS yet. Because all these new features add up to one amazing experience on your Mac. And every device you. I have a confession to make before I begin this review of OS X less than 30 minutes on my MacBook Pro, and upgrading from Lion took.
For everyone else, Mountain Lion represents an upgrade that makes it much easier to work seamlessly between Apple devices and simplifies more of the tedious tasks of computer maintenance. Apple on Amazon. Terms and Conditions. Style Book. Weather Forecast. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation.
Tuesday 19 February Apple OS X OS X Related Articles. Related Partners. In Apple. Read more from Telegraph Technology. Technology email signup. If you're wondering just how liberally Apple borrowed from iOS in Mountain Lion, take a little trip just off to the side of the desktop. Notification Center mimics iOS' drop-down notifications, right down to the color scheme.
All important messages and plenty of non-important ones flow through here: Not keen on checking the Center every few minutes? Fear not: You can speed up the process by swiping them offscreen using the trackpad. More important notes -- system updates, reminders and calendar appointments, for example -- show up as alerts, which need to be dismissed before they go away. No, you can't blame missed meetings on ol' Mountain Lion.
If you're not feeling the default arrangement, you can't actually switch things around in Notification Center, but you can fine-tune things all you want in the settings. Apple has also found yet another location for sharing in the form of Notification Center, adding "Click to Post" and "Click to Tweet" buttons for Facebook and Twitter. Again, Facebook support is currently in beta, coming later this year.
With the addition of banner alerts, Notifications go right to the forefront of the OS X experience -- unless you go into settings and disable them or just never sign into any accounts , it's awfully hard to avoid them. Not that we'd want to. Notifications are a truly handy addition that should fit quit comfortably into most people's workflows. They never felt particularly intrusive to us especially since they disappear after a few seconds , but again, on days when you can't handle Twitter screaming for your attention, tuning out is as simple as rejiggering the settings.
Mourn not the loss of iChat -- Apple's long-running chat client had a good run, but things change, software evolves and mobile apps get absorbed en masse by desktop operating systems. It's the circle of life, really. The iOS client has been fully grafted onto OS X, and compared with other mobile-inspired features in Mountain Lion, Messages is arguably the most comfortable fit. After all, Messages is simply unavoidable in iOS. Integration here means you're able to communicate directly with anyone who has an iOS device.
Save for the touchscreen keyboard, the app looks pretty much the same as it does on the iPad. The left side is where you'll find different conversations, with a search bar at the top. The main pane, meanwhile, shows dialogues with the usual word bubbles -- by default, you're on the right side in light blue, and your friend is on the left in white, but you can tweak colors as well as fonts in the settings. As ever, you'll see an ellipsis when your friend is typing. Additionally, you can send messages to a phone number or email address with a autocompletion if it's in your address book and connected to an Apple ID.
If you happen to have Messages closed while someone's attempting to get your attention, a notification will pop up in the corner of your desktop. If you're online, a new conversation will pop up in the left column, with a blue circle showing it's unread. You can add attachments like photos and video up to MB , both of which will show up inline.
Video, however, will open up in a separate player when you click on it. Speaking of video, you can click the FaceTime button in the upper-right corner to cut straight to staring at your friend's beautiful mug. Group messages are also possible by typing multiple names into the "To" field. The desktop version of Messages supports full-screen mode, message forwarding and lets you set delivery and read receipts, so you know your messages are getting through.
Not a ton of changes on the Mail front, though Apple's made a few tweaks to its email client. Chief among these is the addition of VIPs -- a priority inbox of sorts that lets you hand-pick the folks who should skip to the front of your ever-flooded inbox. Hover over the email address of a sender and you'll see a little hollow star. Click this and, boom, that person gets the velvet rope treatment. You can view them and all their fellow Cristal-drinking emailers by clicking the VIPs tab in the mail toolbar. The rest of the riffraff will have to wait.
It's worth mentioning too that Mail's got an itchy spam-filtering trigger finger. You'll want to do some inbox training when you first get started. Speaking of preferences, all of your favorites, recent senders, signatures, smart mailboxes and other account info gets pushed out to iCloud and, by extension, all of your connected devices. Search in the Mail app has been souped up a touch, too -- start typing and it starts filtering, weeding out results that don't match. And skipping to the top of your inbox is as simple as clicking the sort bar at the top, in the blank space to the left of the actual "Sort By" drop down.
Oh, and if you're looking to email a webpage, you can do so by clicking the Share button in Safari and selecting Mail from the drop down. A blank message will pop up, letting you chose how you want to deliver that content -- in Reader View or as a webpage, a PDF or link. Name change aside, things haven't really changed. A share button has been added, so you can send contact cards via email, Message and AirDrop.
There are categories now, too -- you can add those by selecting New Group from File, dragging and dropping selected contacts into the categories. Handily, the Contacts app combines info from multiple sources -- email address, phone numbers, etc. On the whole, though, the program looks nearly identical to its predecessor, down to the faux leather gracing the top pane, and the remnants of torn-out pages.
There are a few minor tweaks here and there -- for one thing, the menu for toggling between multiple calendars e. Calendar's search, meanwhile, offers up events on the right side, rather than the bottom, where it sat in Lion. That search features offers up suggestions and search "tokens," which can be combined to create more specific searches. The date selector inside of an event now offers a small pop-up calendar, making it easier to choose a date by allowing you to go back and forth between months. And, of course, once events are added to the calendar, they'll feed into the Notification Center, sitting at the top of the screen until you see fit to dismiss them.
As in iOS, Reminders live outside of the Calendar. The app, new to OS X, looks a lot like its iPad counterpart, except with a few aesthetic tweaks, including a more leathery theme and more detailed texturing in the app's binder paper. Using the calendar, you can refine the reminders by day though not by month or week , so you can see everything you need to do on, say, July 25th. Reminders are organized by categories in the sidebar.
You can toggle between them by highlighting your chosen category or doing a two-fingered swipe left and right on the reminders themselves. Clicking the triangle icon in the bottom left-hand column will collapse the app into one column, removing categories from the view.
Click Reminders in that left sidebar and select a line on the paper to start writing. You can program due dates so Reminders can nag you as the deadline looms. Next to each reminder is a check box -- tick this when finished, and it'll get filed as complete. You can always untick it, if you need to add it back to your reminder list. As you'd expect, clicking the "i" that appears when you hover over the entry lets you go in and adjust its settings. You can add notes, change its priority, from None no exclamation marks to High three explanation marks in a drop-down menu and add reminders by ticking one of two boxes.
Reminders can be set for a given date and time location -- be it arriving or leaving. To utilize the latter, you're going to have to enable location-based tracking in the Privacy pane of System Preferences.
Download it now from the Mac App Store. Sign in with your existing account and you'll bring over your info from iOS. A blank message will pop up, letting you chose how you want to deliver that content -- in Reader View or as a webpage, a PDF or link. Some things, however, don't change. If you happen to have Messages closed while someone's attempting to get your attention, a notification will pop up in the corner of your desktop. Mail, Notes, Reminders and Messages all get delivered as well, without the addition of fans or system lights. Once signed in, iCloud lets you pick and choose which services you want to sync:
We set the reminder to pop up when we left Engadget HQ and took a quick stroll outside the building, and lo and behold, one New York City block later:. This popped up on the old iPhone 4. Pretty handy. The reminders get pushed to your devices via iCloud, appearing on the device you're using when the time comes to remind you. Really, that's what this app is all about -- it's less a desktop application than a counterpart to a feature that many are already using on their mobile devices.
Notifications are key here.
We've had some difficulty incorporating these sorts of applications into our daily lives -- particularly on the desktop. The ubiquity of the notifications, however, may be enough to give it one more go. As such, it's added a sprinkling of welcome features to help sweeten the pot. Chief among these is the new Smart Search field, which, to be honest, is more of an "it's about time" addition than a truly innovative feature.
In short, it incorporates predictive search into the address bar. If you've used Chrome, you know the drill: As with Chrome, results from your Bookmarks and history are listed below the suggestions; Apple does a good job separating these results from one another, with a horizontal line. The iCloud feature, meanwhile, offers up compelling functionality for iOS users through iCloud Tabs, letting you pick up where you left of on your mobile device.
It is, of course, not unlike Google's Chrome Sync feature, creating synergy between the companies' desktop and mobile operating systems. But while Chrome's recent appearance on iOS will likely lessen many users' dependence on Safari, as long at Apple's browser continues to be the default option on the iPhone and iPad, it's likely to continue to be the most popular web browser on those devices.
Speaking of tabs, the new Tab View feature does a good job incorporating the glass trackpad into the proceedings. Pinch with two fingers and the tabs will shrink down, arranged flat on a gray background, just under their respective page titles and URLs. From here, you can quickly scroll through the pages. It's a nice feature, to be sure, but it's not likely to become an essential part of the workflow for too many people outside of Safari power users. For all of Apple's unabashed love of all things cloud-based, one new Safari feature does actually manage to acknowledge the fact that we can't always live our lives online.
Reading List, that icon with the little spectacles that sits along the bottom of the Safari toolbar, now does offline browsing, a feature that actually manages to distinguish itself from bookmarks, something Apple didn't properly manage in Lion. Save something to Reading List either through the Bookmarks drop-down menu or the Share This icon next to the toolbar and you'll have to wait just a bit while system caches textual and graphic elements.
And sure enough, if you fire up Safari offline, you'll be able to read full pages, images and all -- a handy little feature for reading news stories on the go, should you plan on taking your computer on the subway or on a plane that doesn't offer WiFi. But what about the seemingly endless strings of passwords we're forced to remember? Has Safari done anything to make them easier to manage? We're glad you asked. When you first fire up the browser, Safari will ask, many times over, if you'd like it to remember this password or that. You can either agree, put it off for later or just do away with the question altogether.
It's a bit of a nuisance when you're first getting started, but if you've got a machine no one else will be using, it's a useful feature, particularly for those who have more individual passwords than the human brain could be expected to retain. Even handier and more secure, too is the new Password pane, which lives inside of the Preferences menu in Safari.
Click through and you'll see a list of websites along with usernames and encrypted passwords. If you ever need help remembering one, click Show Passwords to bring up a dialog box, where you'll enter your system password. Once you've done that, you'll see your passwords listed, clear as day. You can also remove saved passwords from the pane, should you ever start to feel paranoid. Do Not Track, a privacy standard supported by browser bigwigs Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera, meanwhile, complements the privacy options offered by Private Browsing, helping to limit the amount of private information you let slip while browsing.
As such, the company has gone out of its way to simplify the process. Sign in with your iCloud account and Apple gives you a chance to opt out of syncing all the above-mentioned services, as well as set up Find My Mac, for locating and remotely wiping a lost PC. Once signed in, iCloud lets you pick and choose which services you want to sync: After you opt in, Apple will begin the great syncing, pulling data from your iOS devices onto your computer and vice versa. If you uncheck one of the elements, it will remove the synced data from your computer though not before warning you.
The primary iCloud page also offers up a status bar on the bottom, letting you know just how much of that iCloud storage you're currently using.
A feature that was unavailable back when Mountain Lion first arrived in beta, the Documents Library marks a big step forward for iCloud. Just save something in a cross-device app like Pages, and it offers up a drop-down menu of locations, starting with iCloud, which makes that file accessible on devices signed into that account. Accessing the Library is as simple as clicking Open in an app with that functionality.
From here, you can open the doc to read or edit, duplicate it, rename it or transfer it via email, AirDrop or Message, courtesy of the Share button. Docs can be viewed as icons or lists, and can be sorted by name, date and size. You can also create folders by dragging one doc onto the other, iOS-style. Documents can also be dragged and dropped from the Library onto your desktop and vice versa.
Pinch-to-zoom, another "sure, why not" feature, has been brought over to TextEdit, letting you adjust text size using the trackpad. It'll save your cursor a trip to the toolbar, but mostly it feels like another step in Apple's eventual plan to incorporate that functionality into all of its native apps. And, again, why not? The MacBook's got a great trackpad -- might as well get as much use out of it as possible. Still, the implementation isn't perfectly smooth here -- once pinched, the text takes a moment to snap into place. The Auto Save functionality introduced the last go 'round has been peppered with some additional features.
Choosing Rename highlights the title, offering up a quick and easy way to affix a new name to the file. The "Move To" option, meanwhile, offers Apple yet another opportunity to integrate iCloud, letting you transfer anything saved to your desktop to that ethereal land of infinite document sharing.
Actually, by saving to your desktop, you've already skipped out on an iCloud opportunity. Apple has front-loaded the feature, making it the default location for saved documents. Of course, you can also save to your desktop, if you're still living in a localized, pre-cloud universe.
Saving to iCloud lets you share your documents across other OS X devices. If you want to edit a doc created in TextEdit on an iOS device, however, you're out of luck -- it only works on Mac-to-Mac transfers for the time being.
If you save a file in Pages, however, you'll get that cross-platform functionality. Apple describes its functionality thusly: After all, it was a program designed for making quick notations on the go, on a small screen. The program does, however, offer up more functionality than its Post-it-esque predecessor, Stickies which, for the record, managed to avoid the The interface looks like a pad of well-loved legal paper, with a few sheets already ripped out.
Typed text shows up on the notebook lines in customizable and optional bullet points and numbered lists. But Notes on the Mac has a few extra tricks up its sleeve: It supports rich text with different fonts, hyperlinks, bulleted lists, images, and even file attachments. The Notes app on iOS and Mac sync together, of course, so instead of having various separate notepads on all your devices, all your notes are with you at all times. Game Center now covers Mac games, but shows you your iOS games too. Yes, you can log in, add buddies, and see what games your friends are playing from the app.
By taking advantage of Game Center, developers get access to buddy lists, a ranking system, in-app voice chat, head-to-head gameplay, and gameplay across Apple platforms. Expect a flood of Mac games that are versions of games previously seen on iOS. Messages provides a new single-window interface with recent conversations sorted to the top. Blue bubbles signify messages sent via iMessage. In Apple introduced the iMessage communication system , a replacement for text messaging that let iOS devices communicate directly with one another. Unlike SMS text messages, the iMessage system transfers data not just text, but images and files via the Internet, so there are no text charges.
With Mountain Lion, support for iMessage comes to the Mac as well. And it happens via the Messages app, which is a renamed version of iChat with all its old features intact, plus support for iMessage. An integrated video-chat button allows you to kick off a video chat with capable devices, either over traditional instant-messaging systems as iChat has always done or by launching the FaceTime app. Not just at the beginning, but every single time I receive a message. This feature has another odd side effect, too: When I opened my Mac up after I had been having an iMessage conversation on my iPhone, Messages opened and proceeded to open a new chat window and display the old messages from that conversation.
And often times I only see part of a conversation, which is less than helpful. The bottom line is that I love the idea of iMessage, relish not worrying about the cost of text messages, and am happy that I can send things via iMessage from my Mac.