Is Your Mac Still Running OS X Lion? Why? You Should Upgrade to OS X Mavericks
It’s fairly common for computer users to delay updating to major operating system releases, and though Mac owners tend to be a bit better at upgrading than Windows users, many are still running old versions of OS X. For some users there are good reasons for this, maybe lingering on outdated OS X versions like Snow Leopard because of compatibility issues with a specific app, or because they just really like it. But then there are other users who have already made the leap beyond Snow Leopard, and are sitting on OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion, procrastinating and putting off the OS X Mavericks update for no good reason. This article is aimed at the procrastinators (and there’s a surprisingly large amount of them – nearly 17% of Mac users are on Lion and another 20% on Mountain Lion), particularly individuals with Macs still running OS X Lion, in any version from 10.7 through 10.7.5.
A quick reminder… OS X Mavericks is free from the App Store and simple to install. The entire process is usually completed in an hour or so for a simple upgrade, or you can clean install if that’s your preference too.
Notes: Many readers have responded in the comments with their personal experiences from OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, and OS X Mavericks. If you’re on the fence about upgrading, it’s worth a read to see some of the additional pros and cons of updating to Mavericks. Keep in mind that OS X 10.9.2 update fixes many problems that are reported here in the comments.
Running OS X Lion? You should upgrade now
Let’s just say it; OS X Lion was a mess of an operating system. Between the crashes, the crazy unpredictable auto-saving behavior, the aggressive file locking and forced file duplication, and the removal of simple yet core functionality and features like Save As, many Lion users were annoyed to say the least. The good news? All of those issues were mostly fixed with OS X Mountain Lion, and has been reiterated on further with OS X Mavericks. Things are better now, so if the holdup has been fear of making things worse, it’s unfounded.
At this point if you’re still running OS X Lion without a truly compelling reason (and I’m not even sure what one is since Mavericks system compatibility is generally the same), you’re subjecting yourself to unnecessarily frustrating experiences that have since been ironed out in newer releases of OS X. If you’re still running OS X Lion, ask yourself why? Do you have a amazingly great reason? If not, you should upgrade. No Mavericks is not perfect, but it’s much better than Lion. Do your Mac a favor; backup and upgrade.
Running OS X Mountain Lion? Upgrading still recommended
Mountain Lion is stable and fairly refined, resolving most of the complaints users had with Lion. If you’re happy 10.8 and have no usage for the few new features and tricks in Mavericks, stay put if you want, but upgrading is still recommended, particularly for Mac laptop owners, who almost all universally experience some nice battery life gains thanks to the energy efficient featured introduced in Mavericks.
Because OS X Mountain Lion is stable and pretty decent, there is much less urgency with upgrading to Mavericks, but you probably should anyway. Beyond the general improvements and new features available, it’s also just good practice to keep your Mac software up to date, both for individual apps and for the core OS. Get in the habit of updating, your computer will thank you for it.
Before Updating: Back up the Mac!
Though you should take a series of steps before upgrading to Mavericks, if you do nothing else – back up the Mac with Time Machine. Do a complete back up, start one manually right before starting the upgrade process so that you’ll be sure to have the most recent backup handy.
This is important because you can roll back if needed, or can recover your files if something goes wrong. Never initiate a major operating system upgrade without doing a full system backup first.
What if I upgrade but hate OS X Mavericks?
In the unlikely scenario that you upgrade OS X to Mavericks and decide you hate it, you can always downgrade to the previous version you had easily, assuming you made a backup with Time Machine before the update. Always backup first.
Or you can just wait 6-10 months or so for the next version of OS X to come out – not much is known about it yet, but Apple is on a yearly release schedule for major system updates, meaning you won’t have to wait terribly long before finding the latest version available to you, and, like Mavericks, it’ll probably be free too.
So what are you waiting for? Back up your Mac, and get OS X Mavericks free from the App store.