back to article Apple Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Part Two

You find me in better spirits compared to my anxious state during last week’s experimentation with OS X Lion. A weekend of sanity makes quite a difference. That is, sanity achieved through the cathartic process of a clean instal. Apple Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Safari swipe Swipe your fingers sideways across your Magic Mouse or …


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  1. Craig Chamberlain

    Get a magic trackpad!

    As an owner of a Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch and now an owner of an Apple Magic Trackpad, I can't over emphasise the difference between the two. While the Wacom is great as a graphics tablet, it is not nearly as smooth and efficient at multi-touch gestures as the Magic Trackpad. I never really liked the Magic Mouse so didn't buy one but the Magic Trackpad is so natural to use I have unplugged my Mighty Mouse and put it in a drawer. I now use the Magic Trackpad exclusively and it doesn't slow me down in the slightest. Accuracy is very good and it complements Lion really well. It seems clear to me that the MTP was designed with Lion in mind.

    So, if you are sceptical and don't want to risk £59 on my say so then at least try to go a computer store nearby and try one out for 20 minutes or so. If you can tolerate it after 20 minutes of undoing your mouse muscle memory then I'm pretty confident that you will love it after a few hours of owning one of your own. Also, be aware that you can pick them up on ebay for less than £59 if you want to save a few quid.

    Give it a try - Lion is made for it - the Bamboo doesn't do Lion justice.

    1. ducatis'r us

      trackpad in Lion

      I totally agree on the usefulness of the trackpad. Especially if you set preference so that you just tap it to click. Personally I really never liked the magic mouse, it's an awkward shape, a bit scratchy to move around and the limited multi-touch gestures possible are quite difficult in operation. I actually use the trackpad in conjunction with a logitech trackball as the trackpad is not great for games. Interesting write-up of Lion. I'm waiting a few days before I instal it, maybe until 10.7.1. I also have a couple of power pc Apps i would like to sort out first (and a magic mouse I'm open to offers on).

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Comparison with Wacom

      Thanks for the comparison with the Wacom for multi-touch and gestures. How is the "magic" touchpad for graphics?

      I currently have a Wacom pen only (well pen and mouse, but I use a normal mouse off the tablet!). Can the magic touch replace the graphics tablet (albeit as a small one for road use)?

    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      As nice as they may seem, imho mouse > trackpad anyday.

      You can't frag anyone with a trackpad.

      Nor, would I wager, very effectively with a 'Magic Mouse' either...

      I'll keep my razer and leave trackpads where they belong, on lappies....

  2. launcap Silver badge


    .. doesn't work with *any* MacBook Pro - I have a mid-2010 model (AirDrop shows up in Finder) and a 2007 model (AirDrop *doesn't* show in Finder).

    Not too much of a problem for me - I have a nice NAS that does AFP. Mostly :-)

  3. Pandy06269

    Mouse gestures

    I've been running OSX for a little over 36 hours also with a Magic Mouse on a MacBook Pro.

    Full-screen is a god-send, I can't believe it hasn't been done sooner. The only other app I've seen it in before now is Microsoft Office 2011 (specifically Word) which is amazingly useful on my MBP's 13" screen. I wonder if Apple were inspired by Microsoft on that feature?

    Mouse gestures do mostly work with the Magic Mouse, but are typically a finger less. For example - on the trackpad, you need two fingers to scroll while the mouse will happily scroll with one. Swiping two fingers on the trackpad across Launch Pad changes pages, while the mouse only requires one.

    Similarly switching between full-screen apps is a three-fingered swipe across the trackpad, while to do the same on the mouse it's two.

    The only one I haven't been able to replicate on the mouse is the three-fingered up-swipe to access mission control, which I do miss on the mouse when I'm running my MBP in clamshell mode connected to an external display.

    I have to say though, I do agree with Apple's decision not to support three-fingered swipes on the mouse - trying to hold the mouse still while swiping two fingers across it feels heavily unnatural, I can't imagine what it'd be like with three! Whether this is a limitation of the mouse hardware or a specific design choice by Apple, it's hard to say.

    1. RonaldK

      Make sure AirDrop is selected on both computers

      Both computers need to have Finder open and "AirDrop" selected and visible. Have you tried that?

      1. clanger9

        Re: Make sure AirDrop is selected on both computers

        AirDrop is unsupported on a number of modern Macs. Go here, look under AirDrop

        If there's no icon, it's not supported. Doesn't matter whether or not there is another machine in range.

    2. Robert Synnott

      RE: Mouse Gestures

      Using only two-finger gestures on the mouse is an Apple design choice. If you use MagicPerfs or similar software, you'll find that the mouse can support at least _four_ fingers, though I can't imagine this being terribly useful. It can also tell where your fingers are, but the only useful application I've found for this is middle-click, in practice. Third party apps can also use four-finger mouse gestures, if they so wish.

    3. robjmurphy

      Re: Mouse gestures

      You do know you can invoke Mission Control from the Magic Mouse by double tapping with two fingers?

      1. Pandy06269


        Oooh no, I thought that was zoom in? Or is that double tap with a single finger? I'l give it a go when I get home tonight.

  4. djclothier

    Mail and 'conversations'

    Hi Alistair,

    Nice article - kinda says it all really! I upgraded to Lion a day or two after the launch (downloads were too slow on launch day, so gave it a rest...) and am loving the newer OS, although nothing screams out at me as being too groundbreaking - but as you said, who can complain for less than £21 as an asking price....?

    With regards to your paragraph about conversation view in Mail and it only showing incoming messages in the thread and not your replies too: I did wonder about this yesterday and found the switch to enable your own replies showing up in the conversation thread: Mail, Preferences, Viewing tab, 3rd checkbox from the bottom titled: "Include related messages" - with this checked, it showed my replies to email threads/conversations immediately.

    Just thought you'd like to know!



  5. G C M Roberts

    A question if anyone would be so kind?

    Does encrypting your disk (not just home) still make time machine a bit rubbish, in that it becomes an all or nothing restore feature and not the dip in saviour it is with unencrypted partitions?

  6. Stuey

    Finder / icon view

    Finding my way around Lion, the only issue that it's causing me is in icon view on Finder - how do I grow the icons as I used to browse my images using this function???

  7. Bilgepipe
    Thumb Up


    >>> Messages with the same subject line are grouped together iPad-style too. Apple calls them "conversations", although since they don’t include your replies, these conversations are a bit one-sided.

    I believe there's a hint on OSXHints describing how to add your replies..

  8. Gulfie

    This review is a bit too kind!

    As somebody who uses Macs at how and work, but does not subscribe to the iOS side of Apple, I've had a few issues with Lion. I did an upgrade of my early '08 MacBook Pro from Snow Leopard and the upgrade itself was very straightforward. However...

    My first surprise was that, despite me performing an upgrade, Apple removed the installed Java - runtime and SDK. Now I knew Java isn't provided on the install disk but I did not expect it to be removed. Re-installing it was simply a matter of trying to do something - anything - with Java, so I settled on typing 'java -version' at the command prompt and it was installed seamlessly in a few minutes. That it is so seamless just re-enforces my belief that refusing to put Java in the core installation (regardless of the company that supplies it) is political.

    I have turned off or removed pretty much all of the 'new features' that try to turn my workhorse machines into a kind of less-portable iPad. And the nerve of calling the (flipped) default scrolling behaviour 'natural'?! So for 10 years Apple machines have scrolled unnaturally? At least Apple had the good grace to give me an option to change back so I shouldn't grumble too much. Lion also removed my copy of Mercurial for reasons unknown, and didn't bother to tell me this.

    Every time I log off I must deselect the checkbox that is ticked and will cause all my apps to re-open, even though I have disabled the restore feature globally in control panel. This is a small but very annoying detail that Apple should not have missed. I'd rather have an option to remove the checkbox from the logout dialog altogether - but there isn't one. Guess what - I log off or reboot when I want to clean the machine up. If I'm not finished, I just shut the lid on my laptop or hibernate my iMac.

    The worst transgression through is Versions and Autosave. You gloss over how the introduction of Versions and Autosave has a fundamental effect on the way people work. For decades (literally) I've got used to the idea that, regardless of the OS I use, I must save my own files. Apple now saves them for me, without so much as a by your leave. And I can't turn it off. This sucks. If I open a document, make some changes, and then abandon them - too late! Already saved. As a side issue, 'save as' seems to have vanished from iWorks and TextEdit (for starters). WTF?

    I could go on. I have a Snow Leopard Server running the (Apple-packaged) Tomcat with a production application. What is Lion going to do to my server? Remove Java? Yes. Remove Tomcat? Who knows. Provide me with the build-in Tomcat management options once I've got it all back? Who knows. This is messy so until I know the answers, I've put off spending the extra £35.

    To improve the upgrade process, Apple need to provide a pre-upgrade program that will identify in advance what will go missing during the upgrade (or at least provide the information before the point of no return in the installer).

    In their first service pack they also need to add in the missing options - turn off Versions, turn off the 'restore' checkbox when logging out...

    For me, what is left post-upgrade and post-customisation is Snow Leopard with more desktop wallpapers and some annoying 'features' I can't turn off. I'm happy to spend £21 to stay current, but Apple needs to allow people to customise all of the Lion features, and not force us to use features we just don't want.

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Finder / icon view

      If you're asking what I think you're asking, Finder's View menu has the Show Status Bar option. Select it and you'll get the old icon size slide at the bottom of each window.

      Or you can get it with Cmd-J, which calls up the window's Info panel.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, it doesn't.

      FileVault is completely different now, it's whole-disk encryption and is essentially transparent to applications. The Ars Technica review goes into detail.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Time machine

      Lion's full disk encryption is similar to TrueCrypt's. (It's actually implemented using LVM features.) You provide a password (Lion uses your login password), the disk encryption key is fetched from the disk, and then the computer boots. From that point, the disk is treated as a "normal" unencrypted hard drive at the application level. Time machine sees the usual disk structure, so it can back up file-by-file, even when not logged in.

    4. Thomas Davie


      Time Machine has been greatly improved, and now plays nicely with encryption.

    5. Thomas Davie


      I'm actually somewhat surprised that you can't goatse a finder window to scale the icons.

      1. G C M Roberts
        Thumb Up

        Ahhhh :)

        Many thanks chaps. Mrs G got a bit sick of having to do the whole logout thing for the family pics to be backed up to the network, so this is great news.

        Upvoted you all.

    6. Pandy06269


      Regarding your point about Versions, this also horrified me to begin with. However, apparently (I don't use iWork so I can't verify this) you are able to restore to a previous version - so if you didn't want your change, you just restore to the version of the document prior to when you made the change.

      I've seen it billed as time machine for documents (within each application not the overall time machine.)

    7. ThomH Silver badge


      Obvious comments, mostly:

      Re: removing Java, I assume the intention is to remove it just as any other bit of code included in 10.6 but not in 10.7 is removed. I hope there's some logic that tries to preserve it if you've been using it (e.g., if you have Java-utilising apps installed) and that it just didn't work here, but can't claim to be particularly confident. However, there are lots of reasons not to include software in an OS distribution other than politics. Apple's defence that if they make it an OS feature then they become responsible for maintaining it and that nobody else ships it as an OS feature is reasonably convincing, though you're probably right that politics was involved.

      Re: Versions, as already pointed out, this not only ensures that what is on disk is kept up-to-date with whatever edits you've made, but also retains all older version for browsing. So there's no "too late!" in your example — just scroll back through the revisions and find the one you like. Though I'm unclear as to what the behaviour is when exporting a file to an OS that can't do revisions, such as when you email a file, copy it to a flash drive, use an external server, etc.

      While I agree that it'd be nice to be able to turn off restore permanently and wouldn't be surprised if Apple added it (after all, they gave us the opaque menu bar back eventually), I'd be surprised if Versions becomes an optional feature. If anything I'd expect it to be baked into the filing system proper at a later date, rather than handled via a SQL database that is itself a file.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      So when you use your finger to push a real sheet of paper up your desk, it magically defies physics and under it's own power shoots down your desk in the opposite direction does it? Wow, that's cool !

  9. stu 4


    So unlike SL which gave me real performance improvements this gives me FA... makes my mac act like a big phone, dumbs down an already pretty dumb finder, and manges to remove 10 years of useful non-linear file editing (i.e. I can save when I want to with useful names like - 'before I do the big thing that might fuck it up' and easily come back to it 2 hours and 100s of changes later if those big things didn't work) with linear file editing...

    It's a total pain on imovie... it's absolutely hellish in FCP X (having to go out to projects to 'duplicate every time is a total pain... along with lots of the rest of it tbh - got my 200 quid back from apple there at least). I can only see a handful of programs that I'd actually want to be commiting my changes to disk constantly (garageband maybe - as it crashes all the fecking time). Without a non-linear meta-data driven change-browser (aka PS History palette) it's a massive step backwards. It's a good example of a feature that makes sense on a phone, but rarely makes sense with complex/creative apps.

    I look forward to them introducing a linear file system to go with it next.

    what a load of toss. I'll stick with SL as long as I can.

    My MBA 11.6 gets replaced next week with a new top spec one - I'll be immediately scrubbing Lion and restoring my current MBA HD onto it.


    p.s. copy and paste has always been in osx....

  10. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    USB Key install

    Don't bother with a DVD, way too slow, use a USB key.

    "Burn" the DMG, via disk utility, onto a USB stick ( has to be at least 8GB ) then boot and install from the USB key. I installed a complete 10.7 set up in just under 21 minutes on a an old 2.6GHZ iMac 24 using a USB key install. It only takes 4 minutes to setup the recovery partition, so even if the install blows out, it restarts and installs off the recovery partition rather than bother with the USB or DVD install media.

  11. Jim Benn

    Sounds more like a lock-in than OS Upgrade.

    Sorry to say it, but it sounds like the only real benefit to this version is a benefit to Apple. And all this "gesture" stuff prompts me to deliver a single finger (in UK, double) salute. Since I have used 3 button mice since before the Lisa, and Track-balls, since 1989. I don't use PC (or Mac) mice (or other substitutes) since they far less functional than what I'm used to.

    But I am so very glad you did all the work for this article. Thank You.

    I just wonder if the future MacOS releases will be incremental (seeing the price of Lion), and will require installation of all the others, in order, before you can "upgrade" to Lion "release 2". I would not be surprised.

    1. Paul Gorman

      Or better yet

      There's no need to burn a DVD or create a USB key unless your hard drive has died. Simply hold Command (Apple key) and R as you turn on the computer and you'll enter the Lion installer so you can run disk utility, do a clean install of Lion and various other things you would previously use the retail DVD to do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Restore partition doesn't contain much

        Take a look at the size of the restore partition and you figure out how they fit a multi-GB installer in less than a GB.

        To do a reinstall from the restore partition requires redownloading the installer. That's fine, but massively slow compared to reinstalling from a USB key with all the install files already present.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Isn't there an app for that?

    "I considered ordering a £59 Magic Trackpad for my iMac... but of course that’s exactly what Apple wants me to do, so I refuse. "

    Who needs Wacom or Magic Trackpad; all the hardware is already there if you have a iPad, just plug it in and... IS there an app for that?


  13. -tim

    Real searches?

    Is there anyway to get this new cat to search using a reasonable regex syntax?

  14. Ed

    Copy and Paste of files

    Copy and Paste of files has been in OS X since at least Snow Leopard.

    1. Rich 30


      But still not Cut&Paste!!! GRRRRR

      Apparently, its in case people forget to paste.

      This is one of the most infuriating things about OSX as far as im concerend. You have to open up two Finder windows and drag&drop, or Copy&Paste - Then - Delete.

      1. handle

        "Apparently, its in case people forget to paste."

        Then you don't actually remove the file from the original place until you paste it in the new place, i.e. a "mv" operation. I've just tried that in an Ubuntu file browser as I thought it was so obvious that I must have missed something, and that's exactly what happens.

        There must be another reason. Illogicalities like this are usually explained by a desire for style over substance, such as the supposedly uber-ergonomic Mac's refusal to have more than one button on the mouse for so long.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This is new to Lion...

        Try CMD + Option + V to copy & move. Yes, cut (CMD + X) makes more sense, however I can see pros for the differentiation.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        try the option key

        Try holding down the option key when you paste your files ...

    2. Joe 3

      Greetings from 2005!

      I'm still on 10.4 (is that Tiger?) and copying and pasting files in the Finder works for me, in fact I use it all the time!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Greetings from 1994

        A distant message from 1994, where my new OS supports full screen applications without any docks/taskbars in the way (ideal for those new 486 notebooks with 13" screens!), has it's own program manager Launchpad with applications grouped by function/publisher/user created groups, a file manager that supports file copy and network file shares, applications can be minimised to the desktop and has a command line, with a Cisco Aironet card it can even do Wifi! (although wireless routers arent available for a few years yet).

        Windows for Workgroups 3.Lion

        AC and a flameproof suit from those who practice Applism.

        From a lapsed Applist and now platform agnostic.

    3. sabba

      Yes, of course there is....

      ...use Bash or Perl!!!! Simples. Even a meerkat could do it.

    4. ThomH Silver badge


      If you equate real searching with regular expressions then no. However the same (nested) Boolean, wildcard, case and date stuff carries over. So the search is glob-like, which I guess also doesn't do a real search by your criteria.

      For documentation, see

  15. Mike Richards Silver badge

    It's a nice OS, but there's still so much wrong

    There are the atrocities of the Address Book and iCal whose interfaces are utterly broken by the insistence on copying real world alternatives.

    Finder is still a dog. The left-hand pane listing foldings and drives is much harder to read now it has been stripped of all colour and contrast. And they still haven't fixed the basics of how data is presented in the Finder, the appearance of folder contents is still entirely random - will it be a list? a set of icons, a preview - who knows? That's the excitement / frustration of Mac OS.

    And then there are the wretched animations that can't be switched off. Windows zooming out of nothing circa mid 1980s GEM and the drives me to distraction bunny-hop of a new Mail message window.

    I wish Apple would get some real interface designers to work on their products rather than the kiddies who knocked up this monster.

  16. Mondo the Magnificent

    It pays not to be a pioneer

    Reading these two informative articles and the replies with the pro's and con's of Lion sort of makes me glad that I didn't jump on the upgrade bandwagon

    I have a few Macs and a MacBook Pro 13. I've decided the MacBook will be the first to be upgraded

    The great thing is, if I don't like 10.7, then I can use Time Machine to scamper back to the Snow Leopard comfort zone. However the reviews and comments seem to point at Lion not being the big bad animal we know it as. It seems as if most people get along with it.

    Everyone has their own view on change, some embrace it, whilst others loathe it.

    So, exit Snow Kitty and hello Lion, via a clean install of course..... and a big thanks for the article and the constructive comments

  17. Rich 30
    Thumb Up

    "screams ‘mobile!’?

    I downloaded Lion on launch day. To me, it screams 'touch screen macs coming soon". To me, a lot of the new features appear to be getting us used to, and transiting us to, touch screen macs.

    A lot of the new mutli-touch stuff makes me think they are pointing towards touch screen macs. Touch Screen Macs with a mouse and Keyboard aswell, but using a touch screen for a lot of the navigation. 5 finger gestures dont feel that confortable on the mousepad, but on the screen would be lovely, especially on the laptops. Launchpad shouts touch screen, dont you think? As far as i can work out, its no easier to use than the applications folder? But if my MBP was touch screen Launchpad would be way better than Applications. The new 'inverted' scrolling speaks touch screen to me. When scrolling up/down/left/right the screen moves as if your fingers were pressed to the screen, as a touch screen would. This is perhaps a bit more natural for a first time computer user, rather than someone who is more used to manipulating scroll bars. To me, this too points towards touch screen macs.

    Full screen apps are welcome, but so far it seems to be mostly Apple own apps. Its especially good for iTunes.

    2 finger swipe navigation in Safari (to move back and forward thorugh your history) doesn't excist in Chrome, and they have killed the old 3 finger navigation. This has annoyed me quite a lot.

    Mutliple desktops are remincant of Ubuntu, and i like them. Not sure if you could use them before on OSX, but i have only discovered them since Lion, although in honesty haven't used them yet. Its worth noting, that "full screen apps" open on a new desktop and moving between these full screen apps is a joy.

    All in all, i rate OSX Lion. But perhaps, for me, its not actually that much better than 10.6.*.*

  18. Anonymous Coward

    and remember

    pissing and moaning on here about whats good and bad is all well and good. tell apple about it

    that is all.

    1. handle

      Thought that was symlinked... /dev/null?

  19. F. Svenson

    Gone but not forgotten...

    Mission control is not a replacement for expose: All windows.

    Big oversight.

  20. Rich 30
    Thumb Up

    Download speed

    I use BT Infinity, so have great internet speed. But i was impressed with Apple too. I pressed download within the first 30 minutes of launch. I had downloaded the whole 3.74GB in under 20 minutes.

    Well done Apple.

    Windows could learn a thing or two from this. Their update servers are just horrendous. I often download at a speed of about 1MB every minute during update patches, and this just isn't good enough. I know windows has many more users, but surely MS should account for this?

    1. Wibble
      Thumb Down

      Mission control is rubbish

      Since Leopard we've had Spaces which worked extremely well. This has now been replaced with the awful mission control which may be appropriate on a pad, but sure as hell isn't appropriate on a decent screen resolution or with multiple monitors.

      Where spaces gave you two dimensions and up to 9 screens, mis-control has one dimension and list the ability to move application windows between screens. Given the chance I'd switch back to spaces in a trice.

      Launch control is a complete waste of space. Just cmd-space and type the first few characters of the application name.

      It's like the kids have been playing whilst the Jobs' is away.

    2. Richard 102

      Good point

      Yes, MS does have many more users, but they are less likely to upgrade (especially all at once) and surely all those people buying Windows means MS should have more cash to spend on servers, farms, and bandwidth ...


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