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Take Control of Using Lion
Explore Lion's native habitat with an expert guide!
This ebook will teach you how to use your Mac more effectively with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, whether you embrace all of Lion's new capabilities or strike a balance between old and new. Mac expert and former college professor Matt Neuburg explains how to use these important new features in Lion:
"Matt Neuberg has written a book useful to both diehard [Mac] cultists like me, and new users, both of whom can find what they need easily and quickly." —Lisa Spangenberg, tech blogger
Other new-in-Lion-related questions that you'll find answers to are these:
"Once you’ve installed Lion you’ll absolutely want Take Control of Using Lion."
—Miraz Jordan, MacTips reviewer
You'll also learn how to:
iPad & Kindle
About the Author
Matt Neuburg is a TidBITS contributing editor and the author of several books about Apple software, including Programming iOS 4. He has been programming computers for 45 years, and has written popular Mac and iOS freeware such as MemoryStick and the TidBITS News app.
Table of Contents
Read Me First
Every couple of years, Apple plunges its users into a new world with a major revision of Mac OS X. This time, it’s Lion (Mac OS X 10.7). So, what’s new in Lion? What’s all the fuss about? This book gives you a hands-on guided tour, while pointing out the adjustments, tweaks, and customizations you can and should make in the System, the Finder, and more. It was written by Matt Neuburg, edited by Tonya Engst, and published by TidBITS Publishing Inc.
If working with computers teaches us anything, it’s that things change. Change is exciting! So I’m sure you’re excited about your brand new installation of Mac OS X version 10.7 Lion. As you’ve doubtless already noticed, it’s full of eye-catching animations; window styles have been tweaked; interface widgets are drawn differently; and there are some new features to play around with.
But change is also exhausting. It can even be confusing. When I first saw Lion in action on my monitor, my first thought was: “Whoa, what’s all this?” Since then, I’ve gotten my head more or less wrapped around Lion, and I’ve come to enjoy using it. This book is my report to you about what I’ve learned. You can think of me as an explorer, a pioneer returned from the frontier to show you the easiest path through a strange new landscape. Maybe I was initially exhausted and confused by Lion, but you don’t have to be! Together with this book, you can meet Lion head-on, understand what it’s about, and start working with it efficiently and successfully, straight out of the box.
My goal in this book, as in my previous Take Control introductions to new systems, is to make you productive. Your computer isn’t a mere interface display; it’s a tool for getting things done. Now that you’ve upgraded to Lion, that tool might feel a little unwieldy at first. I want to get you past that feeling as fast as possible. You don’t just want to look at Lion; you want to use it. And you certainly don’t want it to use you; you don’t want what’s new and unfamiliar to keep you from getting back to work comfortably and quickly.
That’s what this book is for. What options, settings, choices do you need to tackle, what new techniques and possibilities, what ways of thinking and working and understanding do you need to know about, in order to start using Lion comfortably and efficiently, so you can stop gaping at your computer and get back to using it? This book will show you.
It’s already a cliché, I know, but I’ll say it anyway: pick up that whip, grab that chair, and let’s tame Lion together!
This book describes many areas of Lion worth exploring and understanding, some of which will be more important to you than others. Naturally, I think that sooner or later you should take the time to read this book from start to finish, but I also understand that you’re eager to get working with Lion and that you might want to know what’s most important to know and do right now, and come back to the rest of the book later. So, I suggest a three-stage approach:
Here, then, is how I suggest you start using Lion.
Do these things right away:
Explore major new aspects of Lion:
Do these things as needed and when time permits:
If you’re familiar with an earlier version of Mac OS X, pay attention to this chapter! Lion presents interesting changes that you’ll want to take account of as you adjust your work habits to fit the new environment. This chapter lists some of the most important ones.
For some Lion innovations, I refer you to later chapters of this book for more detailed discussion; but for others, this chapter is the only place where I discuss them. So be sure to read this chapter to get an idea of what to expect as you start using Lion. (If you are new to the Mac or don’t understand all the terminology used here, don’t worry—all the important points are discussed later in the book.)
Here are the main points of what’s new in Lion:
When you quit an application in Lion, its windows are remembered, and are restored automatically when you launch that application again later. You will want to revise your work habits accordingly. Read Get Ready for Resume.
Some applications now save documents automatically as you work. Autosaving as a user option has been built into the system for applications to implement if they see fit since 10.4 Tiger, but this is different: it isn’t a user option; it’s a wholesale change in how these applications work, and in how you’ll work with these applications. Moreover, applications that autosave allow you to review and revert to earlier versions of a document, similar to Time Machine. Read Stop Saving.
You’ll manipulate windows a bit differently from before:
Note: iOS is the operating system that runs on Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch handheld devices.
Mission Control can also display the Dashboard as a Space; read Dominate Dashboard.
Here are some changes you’ll notice when working in the Finder:
Open and Save dialogs are more like Finder windows. They can be displayed in any of the same four view modes as the Finder. List view can display any of the same columns as List view in the Finder. Any view can be grouped and sorted on any of the same criteria as in the Finder. Read Tweak Your Open and Save Dialogs.
A new application, Launchpad, gives you a way to start up any application in the Applications folder. (What did I say about those “Houston” jokes?) Its interface is reminiscent of the Home screen (“springboard”) in iOS. Read Adopt a Launcher.
Note: If you think that Lion looks a bit like the iOS operating system that runs on iPhones and other iPhone-like mobile devices, it’s not just you. Apple has deliberately copied aspects of iOS’s intuitive interface and behavior to Lion.
Here are some changes you’ll notice in the System Preferences application, and when working with the Dock:
You’ll notice many other miscellaneous changes in Lion. Here are some:
Changes that Apple made to 10.6 Snow Leopard during the course of its development are naturally still present in Lion. Such changes constitute differences between Lion and the first version of Snow Leopard, but if you were updating your system software regularly while using Snow Leopard, they won’t be new to you. For example, iTunes changed its interface slightly over the course of Snow Leopard. Safari 5 (released in June 2010) introduced Safari Reader and extensions. And, of course, Mac OS X 10.6.6 brought the Mac App Store.
Lion also brings with it many “under the hood” technological changes that matter mainly to developers. The chief technological change that will matter directly to you is that Rosetta is no longer supported. This means that PowerPC-only applications will not run under Lion (to learn more about the transition away from PowerPC-only software, read Take Control of Upgrading to Lion or my article “Preparing for Lion: Find Your PowerPC Applications”).
Take Control of Using Lion is the fifth edition of an ebook I originally wrote in 2003, then called Take Control of Customizing Panther. Fast-forward to 2011, and although Take Control of Using Lion still covers customization, it also looks more fully at understanding and using this newest iteration of Mac OS X.
If you’ve been reading this ebook through its previous incarnations, or feel that you already know a great deal about previous Big Cat versions of Mac OS X, take note of the Know What’s New chapter, a few pages ahead; it summarizes new goodies, methods of working, and other changes in 10.7 Lion, and helps you locate the related new info in this book.
Note: You won’t get the full Lion experience unless you use finger gestures with a trackpad or a similar modern mousing device. Although this ebook will work nicely for you no matter what your input device, I wholeheartedly describe finger gestures for trackpads (and Apple’s Magic Mouse) throughout.
Like previous editions of this ebook, this one is sold with a companion ebook with the word Upgrading in its title, intended to be read before this one. We coordinated even more tightly than usual between the two manuscripts this time. As a result, a chapter in Take Control of Upgrading to Lion, “Perform Post-installation Tasks,” explains a few immediately important customizations that I don’t talk about here, and then sends you here to learn more. You certainly don’t need Take Control of Upgrading to Lion to use this book, and if you’ve already been using Lion for a while you likely don’t need it at all. However, many people do buy these two books together.
There are lots of great ways to read our ebooks on these devices. For more details, please read our latest Device Advice.
Feel free to ask us if you have a question about this title!
How could we not publish such kind words? If you'd like to send us your comments (good or bad, though we hope they're all good), just click the Feedback link on the cover of your copy of the ebook. Be sure to let us know if we can publish your comment. Thanks!
August 4, 2012 -- We do not plan to update this ebook again for Lion. However, Take Control of Using Mountain Lion is available to help you tame the Mountain Lion beast.
—Tonya J Engst
May 4, 2012 --
In my Using Lion book, I describe ("Resize Efficiently, Lose the Lozenge") how to resize a window by dragging any edge or corner. In version 1.2 of the book, I added a fact that I'd missed: as you drag, you can hold Shift to maintain the window’s current aspect ratio, or Option to resize from the window’s center (or both). Incredibly, however, I still managed to miss a further aspect of this feature: If you drag from an edge or the bottom of the window the wrong way, you drag the entire window to reposition it, rather than resizing it.
By "the wrong way," I mean perpendicular to the direction of the arrow cursor that shows you the resizing direction. So, for example, you click at one side of the window and start dragging up or down, instead of sideways as the arrow cursor indicates. Presto, you're dragging the entire window! Once you've started dragging the window, so that Lion knows you want to drag rather than resize the window, you can continue dragging in any direction, and put the window where you want it.
This is a big improvement over earlier Mac OS X systems where, for many windows, the only way to reposition the window was to drag the title bar. There were exceptions; for example, in the Finder, if you showed the status bar at the bottom of the window, you could drag the window by the status bar. But Lion extends this so you can drag any resizable window by any resizable edge.
October 18, 2011 --
In his TidBITS article Meanwhile, Back at the Lion Ranch…, Matt tells you where to get the updaters for Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2, and takes you on a tour of what's new in this release. Hint: iCloud integration isn't the only thing.
—Michael E. Cohen
August 12, 2011 --
The iOS Home page was obviously the inspiration for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion's Launchpad feature, and for those who have used an iOS device, it should be very familiar. But not everyone with a Mac uses an iOS device.
—Michael E. Cohen
August 6, 2011 --
A new "under the hood" feature of Lion allows it to quit an application when it needs resources ... or when it "thinks" you don't really want it running. You can read all about Lion's Automatic Termination feature in the TidBITS article Lion Is a Quitter, by Matt Neuberg, author of Take Control of Using Lion.
—Michael E. Cohen
August 6, 2011 --
Take Control author Kirk McElhearn reports in a TidBITS article, Video Viewing in Lion Freezes New iMacs (4 August 2011), about a freezing problem that can occur when new iMacs running Lion attempt to play video after being woken from sleep. Find out the details, the symptoms, and what Apple has done so far to address this issue. (Note: I, too, have a new iMac running Lion, and have seen the problem first-hand.)
—Michael E. Cohen
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