Mac: Any operating system update brings annoyances for existing users, and Mountain Lion is no different. Many of its new features are great, but there are some annoyances and hassles. Fortunately, most are easy to fix. Here’s how to do it.
De-iOS-ify the Interface
It’s no secret that Mountain Lion takes a lot of cues from iOS for its interface. Like Lion before it, Mountain Lion has tweaks that are a little annoying. These include reverse-scrolling on trackpads and hidden scroll bars. The good news? If you disabled everything in Lion your settings will cross over to Mountain Lion. If you didn’t? Most options are in the same place, though some are worded differently. Check out our guide to De-iOS-ifying Lion if the iOS-centric approach isn’t to your taste.
For more options, check out the free utility Lion Tweaks 2. Lion Tweaks was initially designed to get rid of some of Lion’s biggest annoyances, but has been updated with support for Mountain Lion. With Lion Tweaks you can quickly disable the resume feature for apps, get rid of the Calendar’s leather look and show hidden files, amongst other options.
Take Control of Hyperactive Gatekeeper Settings
Gatekeeper is Mountain Lion’s new security system, designed to keep you from installing apps that aren’t approved by Apple itself. It also alerts you if apps try to access private information such as your contact list. This is handy for new users, but for anyone who wants to step outside the Mac App Store ecosystem, it’s a bit of a pain.
To change your Gatekeeper settings, open up System Preferences and click Security & Privacy. The big change here is under the General tab, where the “Allow applications downloaded from” option exists. If you know what you’re doing and want to use software downloaded from outside the Mac App Store you can change this setting to either “Mac App Store and identified developers” or “Anywhere” in order to use your own software.
Gatekeeper also adds a few new customisation options on the Privacy tab. Here you can select which apps have access to your location and address book. When you first start launching apps that access your address book you’ll get a lot of pop-ups from apps requesting that access. This is valuable information, but gets annoying over time. The Privacy tab is your one-stop shop to enabling and disabling access.
Integrate Growl Directly With Notification Center
Many of us have been using the system notification tool Growl for a long time, but the introduction of Mountain Lion’s Notification Center means we now have a new option. However, not all of your apps are going to get updated to support Notification Center.
Thankfully, you can integrate Growl and Notification Center with an app called Hiss. With Hiss installed, all of your apps that support Growl will push notifications into Notification Center for a relatively seamless integration between the two. Hiss is still in beta, but it has worked well for us so far. You can’t fine-tune the notification types as you can in Growl, but it helps make Growl and Notification Center play nicely together. You can always disable Notification Center completely in the System Preferences under Notifications and use Growl exclusively.
Disable Annoying Notification Alerts Before They Start
By default, Notifications are set up for every stock Apple app (including Game Center, Facetime and Calendar). If you don’t often use these apps then the notifications — and their accompanying sounds — may come as a big and (annoying) surprise. Tweak the settings for Notifications settings under System Preferences to disable notifications for apps you don’t care about.
Turn Off Automatic System Updates
With Mountain Lion, you can automatically install software updates when your computer is sleeping. By default, this setting is enabled. If you’re not comfortable getting silent updates for software without reading the list of changes, it’s not difficult to turn off.
In System Preferences, click on Software Update. Here you can disable automatic software updates, security updates, and automatic downloading of apps purchased on other Macs. We’d advise everyone to keep the security updates on, but software updates are entirely up to you.
Get AirPlay Mirroring On Nearly Any Mac
One of the major annoyances with Mountain Lion is that the AirPlay mirroring feature that sends your Mac desktop to your TV via Apple TV only works on Macs released after 2011.
The good news for older Mac owners is that you can do this with AirParrot, a $US10 application that adds the same functionality to older Macs. We’re fans of AirParrot and if you don’t have a 2011 or newer Mac, it’s the easiest way around Mountain Lion’s AirPlay restrictions. [clear]
Install Mountain Lion On An Unsupported Older Mac
Apple dropped support for a few older models of Macs with Mountain Lion, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t check it out. The forum users in MacForums have put together a couple of different guides for installing Mountain Lion on unsupported Macs. The solutions require a lot of manual work to get your files in order, but if you’re dying to use Mountain Lion it’s an option. Just remember that Apple won’t support your computer if anything goes wrong.