Mac OS X Lion is should be available to install as soon as this Thursday. As this is the first Mac App Store OS installation you will be doing, we wanted to share a collection of tips and tasks to perform today, before the official release, so that your Mac is ready for OS X 10.7.
Mac OS X Lion is expected to launch on July 14th alongside new MacBook Air models. The OS X update will be available in the Mac App Store for $29.99.
Install OS X 10.6.8 Update
The first thing you need to do is install the latest OS X update. This update was released in early July to prepare your Snow Leopard Mac and the Mac App Store for the OS X Lion download.
You can download the OS X 10.6.8 update by clicking on the Apple in the upper left of your display and choosing Software Update… or you can download it directly from Apple.
We recommend updating to the latest version of OS X 10.6 today, as the download will likely be much slower on the day OS X 10.7 Lion launches. The only place to get Lion is the Mac App Store, which could put a strain on Apple’s servers.
Clean Up Your Mac
In order to download and install OS X Lion we are hearing that you need 4GB free to download the installation file, and possibly 8GB free total to perform the installation. If you have a MacBook or MacBook Pro you probably have plenty of room, but if you are on a MacBook Air you may need to clean off some space on your SSD in order to be ready for Lion.
We suggest using the free GrandPerspective tool to find out which folders and files are using up the most storage space. This tool helped us recover 30GB of storage in 10 minutes. We needed to clean house thanks to the small 128GB SSD on our MacBook Air, which had filled up to just 3GB of free space thanks to a lot of random files and several large video projects we didn’t need.
If you can’t delete the files, move them to an external hard drive for safe storage. Keep in mind after you delete files they will be removed from future Time Machine backups.
Time Machine Backup
After you install the latest update you should take the time to perform a full Time Machine backup, or backup to whichever cloud service you are using. If you have a spare hard drive nearby, a Time Machine backup will be much faster than a cloud based backup, assuming you start today.
Setting up a Time Machine backup is straightforward and pretty fast. We show you how to get started with a Time Machine Backup in this article. If something goes wrong durin the upgrade process, this backup will allow you to restore your Mac to working order and try again.
Ensure you have a Mac App Store Account
If you have made a purchase in iTunes you should be all set up to purchase OS X Lion in the Mac App Store, but if you haven’t set up an Apple ID and payment method now would be a good time to do so.
You can follow the directions from Apple to set up your account. After your Apple ID is configured, log into the Mac App Store and download a free app to make sure everything works as expected.
Prepare a USB Stick for a Clean Lion Install
The Mac App Store download is expected to offer a fast and easy upgrade from Snow Leopard to OS X Lion which will suffice or most users. If you want to perform a clean installation of OS X Lion, you will likely need to create a DVD or USB installation disk using the Mac App Store download.
How to format the MacBook Air USB disk to become an OS X Lion USB drive.
After you prepare your USB drive, you just need to wait for OS X Lion to arrive in the Mac App Store. After you purchase and download the Lion installer you need to extract the disk image and “burn” it to your USB drive or DVD. You can read the full directions for burning a OS X Lion boot disk at Egg Freckles.
This is not an essential step in preparing for OS X Lion, but certainly one that advanced users may want to take advantage of.
Mac OS X Lion is expected to be available on July 14th via the Mac App store for $29.99. The upgrade is available only on the Mac App store, which means users of older OS X versions will need to upgrade to Snow Leopard first, unless a work around is discovered. You can learn about the new features in OS X Lion, to see why you may want to upgrade to Lion.