10 New Features In OS X Mountain Lion

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OS X Mountain LionIn the entire history of Apple Company, no other OS X version has enjoyed so much popularity than the latest release 10.8 of OS X Mountain Lion. Within a week, Apple has sold millions of copies crossing their own predictions. Mountain Lion includes over 200 new features, but we're going to discuss 10 most important and useful features. These new features make it one of the most successful OS X release till date. Free upgrade for existing OS X Lion users and a price tag of $20 has contributed in increasing its sale across the globe. This new version of OS X is different in several ways from its predecessors. It's not only more intuitive with some cool new applications but is more responsive due to technology that fully leverages multi-core CPU. Here are some of the most important and popular new features of OS X Mountain Lion that makes it the best release yet.

OS X Mountain Lion

Mandatory 64-bit Kernel Loading

Earlier versions of OS X can either boot with a 32-bit kernel or with 64-bit kernel depending on your choice, but Mountain Lion can only be booted with the 64-bit kernel. This doesn't mean that you can't run 32-bit Mac applications on it. It's backward compatible with all 32-bit applications giving you more flexibility in application choice. The new mandatory 64-bit kernel loading ensures you fully utilize the power of new generation multi-core CPU boosting your Mac's overall performance. If you're upgrading to Mountain Lion on an old Mac, make sure you thoroughly check the minimum system requirements before going ahead with the upgrade process.

Gatekeeper - Malware and Untrusted Application Monitor

A new security feature called Gatekeeper has been introduced in Mountain Lion. For many years, Macs were considered virus-free and were less prone to malware and similar kind of malicious software. But in recent years lot of Mac-specific viruses has been reported that have affected its users. Gatekeeper is a one step forward towards combating infected applications downloaded from the internet. This new feature allows you to control applications' download in three different ways. You can either allow download of applications only from Mac Apple Store or can allow both from Mac App Store and identified developers. And lastly, users having a reliable antivirus engine can choose the 3rd option of allowing application downloads from anywhere.

Mountain Lion Gatekeeper Dialogue Box

Choosing the very first option may beef up your Mac's security to the maximum, but it may also introduce restriction of application downloads from various 3rd party websites and developers. This may shrink your application choice available on the internet. The second and the best option not only put Mac App Store on the whitelist but also let you download and install trusted applications from identified developers. Obviously, activation of the third option is not recommended by anyone as it dilutes the security policy of your Mac system.

AirPlay Mirroring - Wireless Mac Screen Sharing on HDTV with Apple TV

AirPlay mirroring in mountain lionThis new feature lets you mirror your Mac's screen on an HDTV having Apple TV. To get the best results, you must configure the aspect ratio and screen size settings. AirPlay mirroring supports up to 1080p HD that ensures you get crisp and clear screen sharing experience. This new utility automatically detects the presence of Apple TV on the local network. This triggers the auto-display of AirPlay Mirroring option for the user. And since Wireless connections are also prone to hacking, AirPlay sends the entire data in an encrypted format so that nobody can sniff the shared content. It's not just screen content that is shared, but AirPlay also sends the sound stream to your Mac while mirroring the system's display. It also uses full hardware video acceleration to relieve the main CPU from video encoding task for better and optimized HD screen sharing.

Power Nap - Firmware Update To Run Important Tasks In Sleep Mode

Now your Mac can perform important tasks in the background even when it is in the sleeping mode on battery or on AC power source. A new firmware update adds a Power Nap feature to the regular Battery and Power Adapter settings. Once installed and enabled, it quietly checks for emails, calendar, and other important iCloud associated tasks to keep your Mac synced and updated even when it is sleeping.

Mountain Lion Power Nap Dialogue Box

While on AC power source, it can perform much more tasks compared to the sleep mode on battery power. When on AC power, it can also perform regular software updates, application updates, Mac App Store downloads and creation of backups through Time Machine. Remember, when Power Nap is in the active state, it completely disables system sound and perform each task silently. So, even if some of the applications that are required to complete different tasks use alert or various other system sounds, you cannot hear them at all in Power Nap mode. This feature is enabled by default for AC power sleep mode. You have to explicitly enable it for using it with sleep mode on battery power.

Safari 6 - A Better Web Browsing Experience

Mountain Lion comes with a feature-packed and new Safari 6 web browser. It has several new features that tightly integrate with other new modules on Mountain Lion giving you the best browsing experience. Following are some of the new features in Safari 6.

iCloud tabs - Now you can easily see which web pages you've viewed with Safari on other devices registered with your iCloud account. This enables you to monitor web browsing activity on all your registered devices like iPhone and iPad.

Safari 6 Web Browser

New share button - You also get a new and powerful share button that can be used not only to bookmark any webpage but can also be used to share that webpage through email, text message or directly on Twitter. This enables quick sharing of your favorite web pages on multiple platforms.

Finger gestures - Now you can browse web pages with finger gestures to speed up and ease the entire browsing session. Swiping with two fingers left or right scrolls the webpage horizontally. Similarly pinching with two fingers on the web page brings it into its original full size no matter what's its current size. You can also zoom a tab by pinching out with two fingers.

Download popover in Safari browserDownloads popover button - This is a handy download management button that not only displays download lists but also lets you manage them effectively. You can not only pause active downloads but can also resume those downloads which were paused earlier. You can also directly find the folder where a particular download is saved. This handy download management popover is useful for users who regularly download multiple files. It greatly helps in prioritizing important downloads and installing the less important ones.

There are several other features in Safari 6 like a smart search field, improved bookmarks bar, reader button and much more to get most out of the web.

Improved Time Machine - Multiple Backup Destinations

Time Machine backup application has been improved in Mountain Lion. Now you can specify multiple locations for backing up your important data. Once you've configured the settings, it quietly backs up your data on all the locations and also performs incremental backups at predefined intervals. This helps in keeping multiple copies of extremely important data to avoid any disaster in case of system collapse. I strongly advise using multiple backup destinations feature only for mirroring critical files to avoid unnecessary resource consumption.

Dictation - Replace Typing With Speaking

Dictation in Mountain LionThis handy feature can save your hours if you type a lot on almost daily basis. Now wherever you find a text field no matter which application you're using, you can enable dictation to speak instead of typing. Whatever you'll speak will be converted to text in no time. This utility also understands various text-related commands like 'all caps', 'new paragraph' and 'new line' to speed up text conversion. It also converts punctuations for you very easily. Dictation feature is also integrated with your contacts so that it can correct the name spellings even if they're wrong. The best thing is this that you don't need to do any kind of configuration or training for this application. Simply activate and start using it immediately. This powerful utility automatically adjusts to your accent and learns your speaking style with the passage of time.

Notification Center - Your Hub for Systemwide Notifications

Finally, notification center's desktop version has arrived with Mountain Lion. Now you can get all important notifications from services, applications and other sources on the top right of your screen so that you do not miss any important update. You can also tweet selective updates and alerts quite easily from the notification center. You can configure different types of notifications (banner notifications, alert notifications) as per your choice and preference.

Notification Center Mountain Lion

If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of notifications, you can fine tune the settings by creating a set of applications from which you want to receive notifications. This helps in reducing the number of notifications you receive and lets you watch only the most important notifications from key applications. If you're giving a presentation or have mirrored your Mac display, notification center automatically disables all alerts so that you can work in an uninterrupted way. Tight integration of Facebook and Twitter lets you easily share your views and content directly from within the notification center.

Game Center - Play Games Across All Registered Devices

Simply use your Apple ID with new game center application to get a unique gaming experience. You can view all games played by you across all your registered devices. Browse games directory and find other players from across the world for multi-player games. You can also increase your friends' network with a new feature that lets you build your friends list within the game center. It also lets you discover new games based on recommendations and games played by your friends. This helps you in finding the best games that match with your interests.

Mountain Lion Game Center

Inbuilt leaderboards let you track your own progress and rank as well as top scores in each game category. While you're playing multiplayer games, you can easily initiate voice chat sessions with the opponents for the better gaming experience. It also includes a handy notification system that alerts you whenever it's your turn in the multi-player game. The game center application also includes strong parental controls to keep a check on the gaming activity of kids and the amount of time they spend with this application.

iCloud Integration - Work With Documents Directly on Cloud

With new OS X Mountain Lion, you get a powerful iCloud Document Library that lets you store, sync, edit and share your documents across all your registered devices on Apple's proprietary cloud storage service - iCloud. After installing the operating system, you're prompted to create a new iCloud account so that all your documents and files can be directly stored in the cloud for universal access across multiple devices. It has several advanced document management functions to easily sort, arrange and share with your network and peers.

iCloud folder integration in mountain lion

You can view your documents stored on iCloud in two different formats. You can either view them as icons or can opt to browse them as an ordered list. Its smart document library syncs changes made to folders and documents across all your devices. It also syncs application specific documents such that you get the same documents on multiple devices when you open a specific application.


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