Review mac os x mountain lion

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Record your computer's screen with audio on a Mac. OS X Mountain Lion. Article by Jason Cipriani June 2, 2: Having managed to capture the imagination of slews of mobile gamers, the company is now looking to translate some of that success into the desktop experience, offering up an OS X version of Game Center, the social gaming experience first introduced for iOS 4. The primary reasoning behind bringing the feature over to the desktop seems to be the opportunity to allow OS X users to compete against iPhone and iPad owners in multiplayer games in an already bustling ecosystem with million registered accounts, as announced at WWDC last month.

Sign in with your existing account and you'll bring over your info from iOS. Through Game Center, you can find friends and opponents. Game Center also offers up in-game voice chat, parental controls and, of course, notifications, which alert you to friend requests and invitations, and tell you when it's your time to play a turn-based game. We can certainly see the appeal of maintaining scores across devices and playing against pals with iOS, but at the moment, we can't see the desktop version of Game Center becoming vital gameplay -- at least not in the near future.

When Apple first tipped us off about Gatekeeper, we were admittedly skeptical. We're all for security, of course, especially in a world were OS X's growing popularity has made it an increasingly popular target for hackers, but as OS X begins to look more and more like iOS, it runs the risk of becoming a far more controlled, less flexible environment. Because, let's be honest: Apple craves fewer things more than complete control over its hardware and software, even if that means severely limiting the influence of third parties.

Gatekeeper seeks to reduce the presence of malicious applications on your system. By default, your system is set up to only accept downloads directly from the App Store or identified developers -- a fact that leads to dialog boxes such as this one:. This can all be adjusted by making your way into the Security and Privacy pane in System Preferences, where you can ratchet up the security allow applications downloaded from Mac App Store or pare it down allow applications downloaded from anywhere.

Apple would no doubt love to keep your downloads restricted to its tightly vetted App Store. But even extended to include non-App Store downloads by companies with a Developer ID, legit programs can still get flagged see: Of course, Apple's been working double-time to get developers signed up ahead of Mountain Lion's launch -- and, worst case scenario, you can always switch your system settings when you need to download an app not listed in Cupertino's database.

Though Gatekeeper is the primary new security addition to Mountain Lion, Apple's got a few more tricks up its sleeve to tackle the aforementioned ever-growing threat against OS X. For one thing, the OS promises to check for security updates every day. According to Apple the encryption being offered up is currently in the process of getting its FIPS certification, to help it hit the government's standards.

Three ways to take screenshots on your Mac

We're not yet seeing the kind of focus on security enhancements that Microsoft will talk up with each new release of Windows, but Apple does seem to be coming to grips with the fact that, yes, Macs can get malware. As ever, Dashboard is always just a three-finger swipe away. Not a ton has changed from a UI standpoint, but Apple's apparently looking to bring more folks over to the barebones interface by making widgets easier to discover.

Swipe your way in and you'll see Plus and Minus buttons at the bottom of the screen. Clicking Minus brings pop-up Xs on top of your widgets, so you can get the ones you don't want out of your sight so long, Ski Report. Hitting the Plus will bring a list of all the default widgets -- pretty much the same selection offered up in Lion, albeit in a slightly roomier configuration.

Click a widget and it'll appear on your main Dashboard page. You can also hold down on a widget and then click to transfer it to the front of the Dashboard. Along the top of the page is a search bar so widget hoarders can find an item amongst the clutter. As you type, widgets that don't match the description will begin disappearing.

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Need something that's not stored locally? Click More Widgets and you'll be magically whisked away to Apple. Oh yeah, and you can add widget folders to the list of borrowed iOS features. From the Dashboard browser, simply drag on widget icon onto another and the screen will split, revealing the contents of your newly created folder.

Once created, you can keep dragging more icons into the folder you can't drag a folder into a folder however -- let's not get greedy. To make a folder disappear, simply drag all of its contents out. Launchpad, Lion's boldest step toward an iOS-like interface, is still present in Mountain Lion, accessible via the dock, a click of F4 on newer-model MacBooks or by pinching the trackpad with three fingers and thumb.

The Mac app interface looks nearly identical to its predecessor: As with Dashboard, however, Apple's added a search bar to the top of the screen, with irrelevant apps disappearing as you type. Still Universal: Apple has also done a bit to make Universal Access more, well, universally accessible, beginning with the name, which has been truncated to Accessibility -- a name borrowed from iOS naturally. The pane offers up various options to help users with disabilities customize their experience it's possible for both sighted and visually impaired people to do this.

Apple has also improved Accessibility through a new keyboard shortcut -- Command-Option-F5 -- which brings up a simplified version of the menu, anywhere in the operating system.

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From here you can enable the zooming of features via keyboard shortcuts or scrolling , VoiceOver, adaptable keys and display configurations like color inversion and contrast adjustments. More complex Accessibility features can be accessed by hitting Preferences in that window, or by locating them the old-fashioned way, through System Preferences in the dock. In Mountain Lion, the settings are a bit easier to navigate -- a vital consideration for this user group.

Again, simplicity is the thing here. Graphical user interfaces can be quite difficult to navigate for the visually impaired and people with other disabilities -- there's no need to clutter them up unnecessarily. Mountain Lion's also ushers in some revised features in Accessibility. VoiceOver, which translates onscreen elements into spoken text, gets the most love here, with drag-and-drop functionality coming via modifier keys and the ability press and hold buttons and reorder tables.

The latest big cat release also sees the introduction of 14 new braille displays. There's nothing particularly groundbreaking on this front, but it's definitely nice to see Apple expand its support for disabled users. What's the old saying? If you can't nap longer, nap harder? Pretty sure it's something along those lines. That's the driving force behind Power Nap, an attempt to put your system to work, even while it's sleeping.

The new feature, introduced in Mail, Notes, Reminders and Messages all get delivered as well, without the addition of fans or system lights. And, it works whether your machine is napping with its lid up or down, all without spinning up any fans or using a lot of power -- however, it's only going to work if your system has flash-based storage. Pretty cool feature, all in all.

Even poor, oft-neglected Preview gets a little bit of feature love this time out. The PDF functionality gets some bumps as well, detecting text fields for you to fill out and letting you add inline notes. You can also search notes and highlights and plug scanned images and pages into PDF, going a ways toward making you a little less reliant on yet another Adobe product.

The ninth major version of OS X adds more than 200 new features

Oh, Apple, you scamp. Given Apple's growing presence in China, it should be no surprise that Mountain Lion comes with plenty of localized goodies designed to lure in more desktop users there. Three of those are popular Chinese mail services: You also get Sina Weibo -- China's most well-known microblogging platform, which works very much the same way on Mountain Lion as Twitter. Finally, for video sharing, the list includes Youku and Tudou, though strangely enough, these are only via the Share button in QuickTime and not iMovie.

We guess it's only a matter of time before Apple provides a more convenient way for Chinese users to share their videos. Most other Mountain Lion features for China are related to text input. While we're not exactly experts in every single type of Chinese input method, Apple claims it has significantly expanded on the existing offerings, especially handwriting recognition and the pronunciation-based Pinyin including the newly added Fuzzy Pinyin to cater to different regional accents.

Most notably, in Pinyin mode you can now type in English within a Chinese sentence without having to switch keyboards like in the olden days -- your English words would simply show up as an option in the suggested word list. Speaking of which, Mountain Lion will also quietly update its library to enhance its phrase suggestions over time, and the Chinese user dictionary gets the same iCloud sync treatment as its English counterpart. If you do get stuck with certain Chinese words, fret not, because OS X will now come with a simplified Chinese definition dictionary, so you can look up Chinese words by tapping on them with three fingers tip: Alas, this is only a Chinese-to-Chinese dictionary, and it's just in simplified Chinese Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan still use traditional Chinese , so some users will still have to rely on third-party solutions.

Other tidbits include the addition of Baidu as an optional default engine in Safari to be honest, many advanced users would probably prefer sticking with Google for all sorts of sticky-icky reasons , as well as eight new Chinese fonts though only four of them include traditional Chinese characters.

The most prevalent tweak on the system side has to be the beefed-up scroll bars. Those engaging in screen sharing, meanwhile, will like the ability to just drag and drop files between computers for transferring. The full-screen app mode, which was introduced back in This isn't a huge change, mind you -- in Lion, you could have an app go full-screen in an external monitor, so long as it was set as your primary display.

Also, as with Lion, your other monitor will be blocked out when in full-screen on one of the displays, which kind of defeats the purpose of the whole dual-monitor thing. Screen saver gets a little love, too. There's a slew of new slideshow viewing options, including a panning one named after our documentarian pal Ken Burns, who already got a nod over in iMovie.

Click one of those options and you can choose the source of your photostream from a drop-down menu, including default folders like National Geographic, Aerial and Cosmos or your own shots. The new Faces feature in iPhoto lets you tag people in pictures, making it easier to choose images when time comes to pick a profile pic or putting faces to the names in Contacts. While we can't personally claim to be heavy Font Book users, the new Smart Collections feature is pretty neat, letting you group different styles together by refining search criteria.

Speaking of collections, the Xsan 3 cluster file system is on-board for shared storage, as is X11 install, if you should happen to need it for a particular app. Apple hinted at some small performance enhancements, but the company isn't exactly broadcasting them as a selling point for Overall, we found the performance to be quite brisk -- we ran our standard OS X benchmarks, Geekbench and Xbench, and saw slight performance boosts versus the numbers we got with the same Retina display MacBook Pro running Lion.

It wasn't a huge gain by any stretch, but we'll never argue against a performance boost, no matter how minor. Let's get this out of the way, shall we? Of course it does. If you're an OS X user with a reasonably new piece of hardware, stop what you're doing and upgrade now. There are features here -- odds are you're going to discover a couple you like. Better yet, if you picked up your system from Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller on June 11th or later, you can get it for free. AirPlay Mirroring, Messages, Notifications and some great new uses for iCloud make for an extremely solid upgrade.

In our time with the new operating system, we experienced no major issues; just rare hiccups that are likely to be fixed in a system update. Heck, even the installation went smoothly. Apple devotees will find a lot to like amid the long list of tweaks and new features. Taken as a whole, the features mark a fairly aggressive bid to fold the best of OS X and iOS into one product -- a strategy we first saw with the introduction of the Mac App Store on Snow Leopard, and with the arrival of Launchpad last year in Lion.

Fears that the operating system has become more walled-off in the face of these moves are mostly overblown -- for now, at least. GateKeeper and the App Store hint at how Apple might seek to regulate the OS X experience to the degree it does on iOS, where content from outside the App Store's heavily vetted selection is strictly forbidden though not expressly illegal, of course.

Moving ahead, we hope the company continues to allow end users to download whatever they please. As for that question of precisely how fresh OS X feels -- it's not quite fair to compare the change between Lion and Mountain Lion to the steps between Windows 7 and 8. After all, the company has mostly been keeping to a yearly upgrade schedule, and while OS X has maintained a fairly consistent aesthetic presentation since it was first released in the world back in , every upgrade has brought with it key features, and the end result is a very different operating system than the one we were introduced to more than 10 years ago.

That said, it seems time for Apple to make a bold new pronouncement on the desktop front. The company appears to have most of its resources invested in the mobile side -- and there's no question as to why: Still, it might be hard for OS X users not to feel neglected -- many of the latest new features feel a bit like iOS hand-me-downs. When and if Apple rolls out a new operating system this time next year, hopefully we'll be seeing a very different side of Mac OS. All products recommended by Engadget were selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company, Verizon Media.

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Mountain Lion Review 95 Photos Engadget Score Poor. Summary Mountain Lion's plus new features add up to a welcome upgrade at a nice price point. We want to hear what you think. Post a quick review now to join the conversation! Write a review. Upgrading Upgrading to Mountain Lion couldn't be easier -- assuming you have the kind of internet connection that can reasonably handle a 4.

Finder Twin galaxies: In order to take advantage of the feature, you'll need one of the following devices: Sharing button You can run, but you can't hide from the Share button. Notification Center The most significant addition to Finder in Mountain Lion is actually hidden away -- or rather, pushed to the side. Messages Messages, wherever: Mountain Lion, left; iPad, right; iPhone, below. Mail and Contacts Not a ton of changes on the Mail front, though Apple's made a few tweaks to its email client. Reminders, compared: 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: Auto Save, TextEdit and Notes Pinch-to-zoom, another "sure, why not" feature, has been brought over to TextEdit, letting you adjust text size using the trackpad.

Dictation Those holding their breath for the arrival of Siri on the desktop will likely be pretty blue in the face until this time next year -- the cheeky personal assistant isn't on the list of Mountain Lion's plus features. We gave the feature a test drive and were pretty impressed with what we saw: The Spaces Bar—that strip at the top of the screen that appears when you activate Mission Control—has also gotten a major upgrade.

When you move your cursor over the Spaces Bar, it expands. You can also drag a window to the top of your screen, and Mission Control will automatically activate with the Spaces Bar expanded, so you can quickly toss a window into a new or existing workspace. When you click it, you see the two windows slide back into their place in the Mission Control landscape. Between Siri and Spotlight, Apple continues to build up its collection of searchable data sources. On iOS, Siri and Spotlight seem to be merging and mingling in a bunch of interesting ways.

On OS X, those data sources crop up in a bunch of different places: With El Capitan, Spotlight and Safari both have access to weather, stocks, sports, transit, and web video, as well as support for natural-language queries. I like this approach, because the fact is that many people search using natural language queries regardless of whether their search engine of choice supports it. So Spotlight gets smarter, we get to be lazier, and it should all work out.

That said, the quality of the results from these data sources needs to be tightened up. Not smart enough, Spotlight. Last year, Yosemite cut the cord between the Spotlight window and the Spotlight icon in the top-right corner of the Menu Bar. It floated in the middle of the screen, disconnected from the icon it was supposedly attached to.

Mountain Lion review: Apple gets its operating systems in sync

Now with El Capitan, you can move the Spotlight box anywhere you want, and resize the results window, with the menu bar icon serving as nothing more than a shortcut. As someone who likes to bookmark a few very-favorite sites and visit them regularly, this has the makings of a cool feature. Since Pinned Sites are always open, if you try to close a Safari window when viewing a Pinned Site, it will switch you to a new tab instead. Command-number shortcuts are now reserved for navigating Pinned Sites and browser tabs, moving from left to right.

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Review mac os x mountain lion

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