Upgrade From Lion To Mountain Lion


**Update 27 Jan 2016: Apple did release a Mac App Store update for Snow Leopard, but I’m not convinced this means that they are still supporting Snow Leopard. I believe this is just a small tweak so that the upgrade path to the latest OS continues to work**

Check out our upgrade video of this Mac Mini: you enjoyed the video, please subscribe to my channel!Website and Blog: http://macinto.

With the last round of updates for Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lion, Apple appears to have left Snow Leopard off of the update list. Apple has never announced end-of-life for products, so it’s left up to the consumer to notice when Apple no longer releases security updates.

What does this mean? If you’re still running OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8, you may have already seen your last security update. In other words, if a security hole is discovered, your computer may be vulnerable to attack. It also means that application developers will be more likely to discontinue Snow Leopard support, leaving you missing out on new features and security updates from third-party applications.

  1. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is hot off the presses, and you're right—it does include some really interesting new features. Whether you should upgrade, however, depends on a couple of things, most.
  2. With the Mountain Lion installer window will open, select Continue. The license agreement will appear. Can I upgrade from Lion to Mountain Lion? After your OS and apps are up to date, launch the Mac App Store and download OS X Mountain Lion ($19.99 for Upgrade). A Mountain Lion icon will display on the Launchpad while it's downloaded.

Upgrade From Lion To Mountain Lion

What are my options?

Upgrade or replace. You can upgrade your software and/or computer. This is what I recommend because it means that your computer will be receiving the attention from Apple that keeps your computer safe. Any Mac since about 2007 is capable of running Lion 10.7 or later, though you may need to give your computer a simple and inexpensive RAM (memory) upgrade. PowerPC or 32-bit Intel Macs can’t be upgraded though, and may need to be retired or you may need to be extra careful.

Security Audit. If you simply must stay with Snow Leopard because you run a legacy program or because you can’t afford to replace your computer, you can do things such as disable unused services, turn on your firewall, and check your router settings. Not an optimal solution but sometimes you have little choice.

Alternative OS. Even if Apple isn’t supporting your computer anymore, other software can replace OS X. You may want to check out a Linux distribution such as Fedora or Ubuntu. These systems, though fairly easy to use, are often difficult to set up and require a bit more technical skill than many users are comfortable with. I won’t be covering this option any further here, but if this is something you can handle you’ll know where to begin. I only mention it because it’s a solution that people often overlook. Windows might not be an appealing alternative because BootCamp on the the Macs which are obsolete only supports Windows Vista, which will stop receiving security updates in 2017. Apple publishes a table of which Macs support which Windows systems.

Upgrade from lion to mountain lion


Most Macs since 2007 can run at least OS X 10.7 Lion, though they may need an inexpensive RAM upgrade to be really usable. The minimum requirement is technically 2 GB, but I always recommend at least 4 GB if your computer can handle it. On Mavericks you will likely notice a further performance boost with 8 GB.

Can my Mac run 10.7 Lion? **UPDATE** It seems that now Lion is in the same boat with no more security updates. Any Mac with a 64-bit Intel processor can run Lion. To find your processor click the Apple menu and then click “About This Mac…”. Look for the processor section. It will likely say something about Intel. If it says “Core Duo” or “Core Solo” you can’t run Lion and you’re stuck with Snow Leopard. If it says “PowerPC” you are stuck with an even older version of Mac OS. If it says anything else, including “Core 2 Duo” you can upgrade to at least 10.7 Lion.

Can my Mac run 10.8 Mountain Lion or 10.9 Mavericks? Both 10.8 and 10.9 **UPDATE** 10.10 and 10.11, too have identical system requirements. This question is a bit more difficult to answer. You’ll need to visit the Apple menu > About This Mac > More Info. If you are running 10.6.8 or earlier, in the Hardware Info section that comes up, look for the Model Identifier, which should look something like “MacBook 1,1”. Or you’ll see a year, depending on what version of OS X you have.

If your computer is any of the following or higher you can run 10.8/10.9/10.10/10.11.

How To Upgrade From Lion To Mountain Lion

  • MacBook 5,1 (Late 2008)
  • MacBook Pro 3,1 (Mid/Late 2007)
  • MacBook Air 2,1 (Late 2008)
  • Mac Mini 3,1 (Early 2009)
  • iMac 7,1 (Mid 2007) The easy way to tell is that if your iMac has a white plastic body you can’t run Mountain Lion or Mavericks. The aluminum bodied ones can.
  • Mac Pro 3,1 (Early 2008)
  • Xserve 3,1 (Early 2009)

Additionally, though the official system requirements for OS 10.7 Lion through 10.11 El Capitan are only 2 GB of RAM (memory), I recommend at least 8 GB if using a mechanical hard drive or at least 4 GB if using an SSD or flash drive. Any computer capable of running these systems can be upgraded to at least 4 GB except for the MacBook Air which does not have replaceable RAM.

Installation. If you are not already running OS X 10.6.8 you will first need to upgrade to 10.6 using a DVD. Once you have installed from a DVD and have installed all available software updates, you can then purchase and install a more recent version of Mac OS. 10.6.8 can be directly upgraded to any newer version. In other words, you can go straight from Snow Leopard to Yosemite without having to install Lion first.

Purchasing. Previous versions of Mac OS are still available through Apple’s online store. The current version is available for instant download on the Mac App Store.

  • OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard ($19.99 DVD, old version)
  • OS X 10.7 Lion ($19.99 download code, old version, also no longer receiving security updates)
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion ($19.99 download code, old version, also no longer receiving security updates)
  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks (doesn’t seem to be available anymore)
  • OS X 10.10. Yosemite (doesn’t seem to be available anymore)
  • OS X 10.11 El Capitan (free download, current version)

Security Audit

Disclaimer: I am not a security professional, so I can’t promise that taking these measures will guarantee that your system is safe, but they are some basic common-sense measures you can take if upgrading isn’t an option for you.

Disable all sharing services. Make sure that your computer isn’t running any server software such as file sharing, screen sharing, or printing. Disabling these exposes far fewer places for hackers to connect to your computer to look for known security holes. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Sharing (3rd row). Make sure to uncheck all of the items in the left column. If you need any of these services I suggest you find another way to get the same job done. If you can’t uncheck these items you may need to click to unlock the padlock in the bottom left corner.

Enable the firewall. Enabling the firewall isn’t something I normally push people to do on systems that are maintained with current patches. But if you’re running out-of-date software I highly recommend it. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Security (first row). Click the Firewall tab. Click the padlock to unlock if necessary. Click “Start”. The default settings should be fine. From now on, any new program that needs access to the internet or network will need to request your permission the first time unless it has a valid certificate from Apple.

Install antivirus software. Most Mac users don’t run virus scanners, since keeping your software updated is the best protection against viruses. And what Mac virus scanners are most useful for is finding Windows viruses so you don’t accidentally send them on to Windows users you know. But since Apple has seemingly abandoned Snow Leopard, I recommend that you do run a virus scanner on your older software. Lifehacker’s recommendation is Sophos. Sophos 9 requires at least OS X 10.6. Sophos 8 which works on 10.5 will be retired next month.**UPDATE** Unfortunately Sophos no longer supports OS X 10.6. One of the few remaining options is the $29 ClamXav.

How To Upgrade From Lion To Mountain Lion

Install a web filter. I am a big fan of Web of Trust, which is a browser plugin that attempts to prevent you from visiting websites with malicious software so it doesn’t even get onto your computer in the first place. Just remember that you’ll need to install it on each web browser on each user account to be fully effective. It has the additional benefit of helping to protect you from a phishing attack.

How To Upgrade To Mountain Lion

Do not use Safari. From now on, use only a web browser that is actively maintained for your OS. Chrome, Firefox, and Opera all work well. To change your default browser, you can open Safari and Visit the Safari menu > System Preferences > General tab. The first item should let you choose the default web browser. Then be sure to quit Safari and remove it from your Dock by dragging the icon off. This will need to be done for each user account on the computer.

**UPDATE Dec 30 2014*** Google Chrome has dropped support for 32-bit processors, effectively ending Snow Leopard support for those of you who are stuck running Snow Leopard because your computer can’t be upgraded. If you are running Snow Leopard but your computer can be upgraded to a newer OS but you’ve opted not to upgrade, Chrome will continue to work. Firefox and Opera are now your options. If Chrome updates to the latest version it means that your computer can handle at least Lion even if you aren’t running it.

Disable Bluetooth. If you don’t have a need for Bluetooth, it’s probably a good idea to turn it off. Use the Bluetooth menu in the menu bar or visit Apple menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth.

Delete unused accounts. Visit Apple menu > System Preferences > Accounts (4th row). Remove any accounts from the left column that are no longer in use, and disable guest account access. You may need to click the padlock in the bottom left corner to change the settings here. Note that this will likely delete their documents, music, preferences, email, etc. so be sure their content is moved elsewhere if needed.

How To Upgrade From Lion To Mountain Lion

Disable DMZ on your router. Most routers have a setting called DMZ (demilitarized zone) which is off by default. When enabled, a request that comes into the router from the internet will be sent to a set computer if it doesn’t know what else to do with it. This was quite common a few years back with gaming or people running other specific servers. Most software these days are designed so that DMZ isn’t required, but it’s worth combing through your router settings to be sure that you don’t have it enabled. I can’t go into the details of how to do this, however, because every brand and model of router is completely different.

Upgrade From Lion To Mountain LionHow

Be cautious. Only download and run software from sources that you trust. This also means that you shouldn’t download a trusted program from an untrusted source, because someone could attach malware to an otherwise legitimate program.

Upgrade Ios From Lion To Mountain Lion

Support‎ > ‎Advice & Articles‎ > ‎

Updating Mac OS

Sections in this article: What Version do I Currently Have?, Buying a New Version of Mac OS,
Add Software Update to your Dock, App Incompatibility

This article will show you how to update your operating system on a Macintosh computer.
Latest Update Available: macOS 10.13.1 (High Sierra)
Operating SystemRequirementsLatest Update for this Version
Mac OS X Panther (10.3)Power Mac G3, G4 or G5 (except early and late 2005 models)
iMac (2004 or earlier)
iBook (except mid 2005 model)
PowerBook G3 and G4 (except double-layer SD)
Mac OS X Tiger (10.4)PowerPC G3, G4 or G5 processor (300 MHz or faster)
256 MB of RAM
3 GB of free disk space
Mac OS X Leopard (10.5)PowerPC G4, G5, or Intel processor (867 MHz or faster)
512 MB of RAM
9 GB of free disk space
Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6)Intel processor
1 GB of RAM
5 GB of free disk space
Mac OS X Lion (10.7)Intel Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7 or Xeon processor
2 GB of RAM
7 GB of free disk space
Mac OS X version 10.6.6 or later (for Mac App Store)
OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)iMac (Mid 2007 or later)
MacBook (Late 2008 or later)
MacBook Pro (Mid 2007 or later)
MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
Mac mini (Early 2009 or later)
Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
Mac OS X version 10.6.8 or later (for Mac App Store)
2GB of RAM
8GB of free disk space
OS X Mavericks (10.9)(Same requirements as Mountain Lion)10.9.5
OS X Yosemite (10.10)(Same requirements as Mountain Lion)10.10.5
OS X El Capitan (10.11)(Same requirements as Mountain Lion)10.11.6
macOS Sierra (10.12)iMac (Late 2009 or later)
MacBook (Late 2009 or later)
MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or later)
MacBook Air (Mid 2010 or later)
Mac mini (Mid 2010 or later)
Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or later)
Mac OS X version 10.7.5 or later
2GB of RAM
9GB of free disk space
macOS High Sierra (10.13)Same hardware requirements as Sierra
OS X version 10.8 or later
2GB of RAM
14.3GB of free disk space

NOTE: The latest operating systems require 2GB of RAM, but that is just how much the system resources need. To run any applications on top of that, you should have at least 4GB. If you run more than a few applications at once, or any memory-intense applications, you should have at least 8GB. Sources to purchase additional RAM include crucial.com and macsales.com.
If you are not sure what year/era your Mac is from, click on the Apple menu which appears in the upper left of your screen, then click About this Mac. You can either click More Info, which will open System Information, or you can click on the gray text that says 'Version' twice. Either method should display the serial number. Once you have found the serial number, enter it at http://selfsolve.apple.com/agreementWarrantyDynamic.do.

Mac OS X 10.5.8 is the latest version if you have a computer with a Power PC processor (that would be pre-2006).
Versions up to 10.6 also require a DVD drive, as these versions are only available on disk. Starting at version 10.7 Lion, upgrades are available via the Mac App Store. 10.7 is available on a USB stick as well.
Upgrading from Pre-Snow Leopard to Post-Snow Leopard
Apple has announced that users interested in upgrading to Lion (10.7) or later can do so from Snow Leopard (10.6) using the Mac App Store (10.6.6 or later required for the Mac App Store) without having to purchase or download the intermediate versions. Therefore, if you have Leopard (10.5) or earlier, and have a Mountain Lion compatible Mac, you will have to upgrade to Snow Leopard first to get Mountain Lion or later, and you can skip Lion. To get Snow Leopard, order it on disk: http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC573/mac-os-x-106-snow-leopard. The disk at the above link ships with version 10.6.3. You will need to run a software update to get 10.6.8, the latest version of 10.6. You can also choose to run this Combo Updater (you still need 10.6.x for the updater to work). Updating to 10.6.8 is necessary if you intend to install a newer version afterward, and a good idea anyway. It will give you access to the Mac App Store. Once you have 10.6.8, you can upgrade straight to Lion, Mountain Lion, or Yosemite.
You start by clicking on the Apple menu located on the upper left of your screen. Then, it is as easy as clicking 'Software Update...' which will launch the Software Update application and then check for updates.
NOTE: Do you Need Snow Leopard (10.6), Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8)?
With the release of Mavericks, Mountain Lion was removed from the Mac App Store, and the same thing happened to Lion when Mountain Lion was released. You can still order it, however, by ordering a download code from the Apple Online Store (see 'Buying a New Version of Mac OS' below). For Lion or Mountain Lion, you can order a code to enter in the App Store for $19.99 (again, a minimum of Snow Leopard 10.6.6 is needed to get the Mac App Store). Snow Leopard is only available on disk (linked above). Every OS from Mavericks (10.9) onward has been completely removed when a subsequent upgrade is released, and is no longer available.
What Version do I Currently Have?
Just like described earlier, click on the Apple menu to begin, then hit About this Mac. You should see a display like below.

Below this display is a Software Update button. This is another way to access the software update. You can also click on More Info to find information about graphics, processors, serial number, and software.
Buying a New Version of Mac OS
There is a difference between 'updating' and 'upgrading.' Updating is when a newer version of your current software is available (for example, going from Mac OS 10.7 to 10.7.1). Updates can be found by doing a Software Update, described above. Upgrading is buying an entirely newer and better software version of Mac OS (for example, Mac OS 10.6 to 10.7). So if you see 'Your software is up to date,' then that means that your version of Mac OS X is up to date. If you don't know which operating system you have, please refer to the 'What Version do I Currently Have?' section above. Then check below to see the name of your version of Mac OS X.
  • 10.0: Cheetah
  • 10.1: Puma
  • 10.2: Jaguar
  • 10.3: Panther
  • 10.4: Tiger
  • 10.5: Leopard
  • 10.6: Snow Leopard Install Disk: Purchase Link ($19.99)
  • 10.7: Lion Order a Mac App Store download code: Order Link ($19.99)
  • 10.8: Mountain Lion Order a Mac App Store download code: Order Link ($19.99)
  • 10.9: Mavericks No longer available
  • 10.10: Yosemite No longer available
  • 10.11: El Capitan Mac App Store: Download link (FREE)
  • 10.12: Sierra Mac App Store: Download link (FREE)
If you have an older computer, your hardware may not be compatible with the latest and greatest, but you may still be able to upgrade to a new version. Versions up until 10.6 (Snow Leopard) can be purchased on a disc. Version 10.7 and later can be downloaded as a digital copy from the Mac App Store. The Mac App Store requires Snow Leopard, running 10.6.6 or later. If you have Snow Leopard but do not have the Mac App Store, you can check for software updates, and the latest version (10.6.8) should have the Mac App Store.
Upgrading RAM
Mac OS X Snow Leopard requires 1GB of RAM, and all later versions of macOS require 2GB of RAM. If your Mac meets all other requirements for a macOS upgrade but does not have enough RAM, you can probably upgrade to more RAM. Two good sources (there are more) to buy RAM are Crucial - http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/apple-memory, and OWC - https://eshop.macsales.com. Note that, for smooth performance, you should probably have at least 4GB of RAM installed if your Mac supports it. Below is a chart of all modern macOS versions, and the amount of RAM we recommend.
OS VersionRAM RequirementOur Recommendation
10.5 Leopard512MB1GB
10.6 Snow Leopard1GB2GB
10.7 Lion2GB3GB, 4 if possible
10.8 Mountain Lion2GB4GB
10.9 Mavericks2GB4GB
10.10 Yosemite2GB4GB, 8 if possible
10.11 El Capitan2GB4GB, 8 if possible
10.12 Sierra2GB8GB

Add Software Update to your Dock
Note that the below will only work on Mac OS X Lion (10.7) or earlier. In 10.8, Software Update redirects to the Updates tab of the Mac App Store. If you add the icon to your dock prior to upgrading to Mountain Lion, this will still work and it will retain the shortcut in Mountain Lion.
You can check for updates a lot quicker by adding the Software Update icon to your dock. Software Updates can not only check for operating system updates, but also for application updates such as iPhoto, iMovie, Keynote, Pages, printer drivers, etc. So first, go to the Apple menu in the upper left and click Software Update...

The Software Update icon should appear in your dock. But when the application is quit, the icon disappears. You want to keep it in the dock so that you can access it with a single click any time and have it check for updates. To do so, hover over the Software Update icon, and do a right click by holding the control key while clicking. Then click on Options.

From there, you should see an option titled 'Keep in Dock.' Click on that, and a check mark should appear next to it. Now, when the application is quit, the Software Update icon should remain in your dock. You only need to click on it again and Software Update will launch. Note that the 'Keep in Dock' option will work on any application, not just Software Update.

There are many ways to access Software Update on the Mac, and Mac OS makes it easy to stay up-to-date. Use any of the above methods to check for software updates periodically. You can set it up to check automatically under System Preferences > Software Update (in the System category) > Scheduled Check, and then select the box 'Check for Updates:' and you can choose daily, weekly or monthly.
App Incompatibility
See Will My Applications Work when I Upgrade macOS? for more information.
There are a number of users who state that they cannot open some applications after upgrading. This typically occurs when upgrading from version 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or earlier to 10.7 (Lion) or later. The reason for this is support for Power PC apps was dropped. Snow Leopard, which exclusively runs on Intel Macs, still allowed the use of Power PC apps through Rosetta technology. Rosetta was removed in 10.7 Lion. Code designed for computers with Power PC processors cannot run on Intel processors without Rosetta.
Before upgrading, open your Applications folder. For any third party apps, right click (control + click) on the icon and click 'Get Info.' Next to 'Kind:' it should say 'Application (Power PC)' or 'Application (Intel).' Applications marked as Universal or Intel will work, just not Power PC. Most software can still run if you upgrade to a newer version of the software. For instance, Microsoft Office 2004 or earlier will not work in Lion. Version 2008 or 2011 or later use Intel code and can run on Lion or Mountain Lion or later.


Article ID: AA1058

Comments (2):
By Anonymous20 on 12/31/12 • Reply
Quite helpful to me.
By Anonymous26 on 02/07/13 • Reply
Great article. Very informative
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