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Any version of Lion If you currently have Snow Leopard You can do this by clicking the apple icon in the upper left hand corner of your screen, choosing software update, and ensuring that your computer is running on Snow Leopard v Click on the Mountain Lion button, or search for "Mountain Lion". Click the price button in the upper left corner of the page. After clicking the button, it will change to a green color and read "Buy App.

You will be prompted to sign in to the App Store, and then to authorize your purchase. If you don't have broadband internet to download Mountain Lion, you can visit any Apple Retail Store and they can help upgrade your operating system for you. Monitor the download from the "Purchases" tab of the app store.

You can minimize the app store and "Mountain Lion" will continue downloading in the background. It has to be fully downloaded in order to install, and this can take quite some time depending on your internet speed. After downloading fully, Mountain Lion will open in a new window. Click continue when you are ready to proceed. Click "agree" after reading through the new license agreement. You will then be prompted to enter your computer login information, including its password.

The installation program will take a few minutes to shut down. From there, the installation process can take minutes.

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You'll be able to follow on-screen prompts during this process, and after installation you will have "Mountain Lion. If you bought a computer after June 11, you will be eligible for a free upgrade to Mountain Lion. Fill out the form on the Up-to-Date Program page, and then proceed to downloading. Once Mountain Lion has downloaded, you will be able to follow the same on-screen instructions from above to install and upgrade.

From there, simply navigate to the Mac App Store, purchase the upgrade, and begin downloading. The OS is about 4GB approximately the size of a full-length film download , so depending on your connection, you may want to start the download before going to bed or leaving for work. When the download is finished, the Mountain Lion installer appears in the Dock and launches automatically.

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Mac OS X Mountain Lion installs in place, so you won't need to create a separate disk or run the installation off an external drive. All of your photos, documents, applications, and other saved files will be there when you're finished with the upgrade. Once the installation is complete, your Mac will automatically restart and you'll be ready to start exploring.


One great new feature for those with a brand-new Mac is the ability to sign in through the Setup Assistant with your Apple ID and sync all your settings along with your apps. Your e-mail, contacts, calendars, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and more will automatically be synced up with other devices and made ready for use on your Mac by entering your Apple ID.

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This will be a welcome feature for iOS users setting up a new Mac for the first time because right off the bat you'll immediately be able to take advantage of all the new sharing features in Mountain Lion. One important thing to note , however, is that Apple says that Facebook integration will come in a later free update this fall. Documents in the Cloud should make it easier for those who work on multiple Macs and iOS devices.

Now, when you launch a program that produces documents such as Pages, for example , you'll be presented with what Apple calls the Open Panel. Here you'll see that specific app's iCloud Document Library with all of the documents you have saved to iCloud with the most recent at the top.

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Using a button at the top, you can also choose to launch documents currently on your Mac. The window supports document folders, letting you drag one document on top of another to create a folder, just as you would arrange apps into folders on an iOS device.

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As I talk about more of the new features in Mountain Lion, you'll see many that are clearly ideas brought over from iOS devices. As I mentioned, Documents in the Cloud will work with any Apple app that produces documents currently like TextEdit and Preview along with all three iWork apps.

Apple is also making it available as an API for third-party developers, so expect other apps that produce documents to come out with an update soon after Mountain Lion is released.

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Now, whether on a Mac or iOS device, you'll be able to take advantage of Apple's no-cost texting features with iMessage, and the ability to send a text to an iPhone from your Mac is certainly convenient. The way Apple differentiates between the services is by making iMessage chats blue and chats with other services green similar to iOS devices. The Messages window is set up with all your recent conversations on the left and the actual conversation window on the right.

Just like iOS, you'll get typing indicators to show your friend is responding and delivery receipts that show your message has been delivered to the device.

But in Mountain Lion, you'll also be notified when the recipient has read the message only if the iOS user has allowed for it in settings -- a feature that will be added to Apple's mobile devices in iOS 6. Just like the iOS version of Messages, you'll be able to start a group chat simply by adding more names at the top. When you send your message it will be seen by all recipients and their replies will be shown to everyone as well. In the Mountain Lion version, you'll also have the ability to quickly switch to FaceTime video chats using a button in the upper right of the chat window.

One issue I noticed in the preview that remains in Mountain Lion is the absence of a camera button to quickly add a picture to a message something that comes standard in iOS messages. Messages in Mountain Lion lets you drag and drop an image, but in the case when you don't have the image handy, it requires a few steps to go find one and drag it into the interface.

This is a feature where we prefer the iOS method, so hopefully it will be added in a future update. Safari Apple's Web browser isn't the fastest Web browser overall, but improvements in Mountain Lion have added more reasons to stick with it on the Mac. With the Smart Search Field, Apple is taking a page from other popular Web browsers like Google Chrome, making the address bar serve double duty as your place to enter addresses and search the Web. When you enter a search term, Safari displays Top Hits right below the field based on your browsing history.

With iCloud Tabs, Safari now has a new cloud-shaped button next to the forward and back buttons in the upper left.

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Once you sign in during initial setup with your Apple ID, you'll be able to view open tabs on all your Apple devices, making it possible to pick up where you left off on another device without missing a beat. Unfortunately, though I saw this feature in action in a demo at Apple, it will only work once your mobile devices are running iOS 6 allegedly available sometime in September. Apple has added a sharing button to Safari as well, where you'll find the options to add a page to your Reading List or create a bookmark, but it also lists out ways to share a site via e-mail, Message, Twitter, or Facebook.

If you pick Message, Twitter, or Facebook, Mountain Lion brings up a Share Sheet without ever leaving the Web page you're currently on; sending via e-mail populates the e-mail body with an image you're sharing, for example, and lets you fill in the rest. One major new interface enhancement for Safari is a joy to use when running Mountain Lion with a trackpad. When you have a lot of browser tabs open, the new Tab View lets you use a pinch gesture, then use a two-finger swipe to browse your open tabs. A reverse-pinch returns you to normal browsing.

While mostly a cosmetic upgrade, once I got used to pinching and swiping to browse tabs, it became second nature. In my years reviewing Apple products, this is yet another example of how Apple can make a small tweak to the interface that vastly improves the experience. It may not be totally necessary you could easily click to look at each tab , but it's intuitive and saves time. To round out the updates to Safari, a few added features will make your surfing smoother. Apple says it tested Safari admittedly in-house using the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, and says that it's faster than Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 13, and Chrome 20 in that order.

Safari also uses your GPU for improved hardware acceleration for noticeably smoother scrolling and faster loading of pages. A new Offline Reading List lets you save Web pages for offline viewing -- great for when you're going to be on a plane or in a no-service area. Safari is arguably the most important software on your computer as your window to the Internet, and in Mountain Lion, Apple has succeeded in bringing it up to speed with competing browsers, and offers a few extras like Tab View, Sharing, and Cloud Tabs that make common tasks much easier.

Game Center now on Mac, but it's not perfect Mountain Lion leans a lot on the up-to-the-instant, multidevice syncing capabilities of iCloud across several of the core apps, but you wouldn't know it from the Mac OS X debut of Game Center. The perennially underpowered social gaming hub of iOS has always been disappointing for iOS gamers, and its arrival on Mac desktops won't do much to change that.

Game Center on Mountain Lion offers all the features you know from the iOS version: leaderboards, friend info, game matching, and more, and it shows up in much the same way it does on the iPad.