Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Dig deep into Lion: The best overlooked, underrated features

Ryan Faas | Jan. 30, 2012
Apple billed this summer's release of Mac OS X Lion as having more than 200 new features, but most coverage of Lion in the intervening months has focused on only a handful of them. While iOS-like navigation and app-launching interfaces, autosave/restore capabilities, AirDrop file sharing and an emergency restore partition are by all means important, there are a lot of helpful tweaks and enhancements that can easily be missed.

In Lion, however, if both Macs are configured to use the same Apple ID or iCloud account, you can connect without being asked to provide a local user account. This can make things easier for families with multiple Macs since each Mac no longer needs multiple user accounts to support remote connections.

Another change: In Lion, you can opt for a virtual display instead of sharing the screen, in which case you will have a completely separate user session. Both you and the local user can then launch applications, view/edit documents and perform any other tasks as though each of you is the only one currently using the Mac and without interfering with each other. A virtual display also offers a display where the resolution and size of a remote Mac isn't tied to that Mac's physical screen size.

This is a great feature for multi-user Macs if you need to remotely access files. It can also be used to help troubleshoot a problem or install applications and software updates remotely and inconspicuously.

Versatile window resizing -- at last!

This isn't a major feature by any means, but Lion allows you to resize windows from any edge/corner. True, it's something that Windows has done for ages, but it's still a useful addition that's worth noting.

Third-party email/cloud/chat services

If you open the new Mail, Contacts & Calendars pane in System Preferences, you'll see a series of options for adding accounts from common free and third-party services including iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, MobileMe (at least for the time being), Gmail, Yahoo and AOL.

This pane, which looks like it was dropped into Lion from iOS, lets you quickly and easily set up new accounts with each service.

Configuring any of these services is a one-stop solution not just for email, but also for cloud-based contacts, calendar offerings and instant messaging. When you set up a Gmail account, for example, you can instantly configure Mail, Address Books, iCal and iChat to access the associated Google services.

 

Mission Control tips

Mission Control is one of Lion's most talked-about enhancements, but it has a few little-known features worth including in this list.

First, if you want to switch to another space without leaving the Mission Control interface, simply hold the option key and select the alternate space. Similarly, holding the option key while hovering over a space allows you to delete it by clicking an X icon that will appear over the top left corner of the space.

Second, with the Lion 10.7.2 update, Apple made it possible to manually rearrange spaces in Mission Control by dragging them around. (Alternately, in the Mission Control pane of System Preferences, you can allow Lion to arrange spaces based on your usage.)

 

Previous Page  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.