Apple recently released the latest version of its Mac operating system (OS) called OS X Lion. There are some great new features such as multi-touch gestures, iPad style app launcher and the option to resume apps from where you left off.
The upgrade is very reasonably priced at £20.99 but you cannot purchase physical media such as a DVD. So how do you upgrade?
Firstly you need to backup your Mac. We would recommend you do a full backup using Time Machine, a backup utility already included on your Mac. This very useful tool, and is so simple to use; just plug in an external hard drive (ensuring that it has enough free space to backup your system). Time Machine will then ask whether you would like to use this disk as a backup disk. Click "Yes" and let Time Machine do the rest. This can take a few hours depending on the number and size of files you have. Be aware, Time Machine will wipe anything you have on the external drive so make sure you have everything you want to keep removed from the drive.
Next you need to check that your Mac can actually run Lion.
The basic requirements for Lion are quite modest. You will need an Intel Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7 or Xeon processor, 2GB RAM, 4GB Hard drive space and an internet connection. You will also need to be currently running Snow Leopard.
You can quickly check your Mac to see if your machine can run Lion by clicking on the Apple button in the top left hand corner and going to ‘About This Mac'. A window will appear similar to the one below;
Check for any updates that need to be installed. To do this click on the Apple icon again and select ‘Software Update...', install any updates that are available.
Now that you have checked that your Mac is capable of running Lion and up to date, you are ready to upgrade to Lion!
The process is very simple but you must have an internet connection. Click on the Apple icon and select ‘App Store...' this will bring up the Mac App Store. You can then either search for ‘Lion' in the search bar or click this link to take you straight there. Once you have found it simply click on the button which says £20.99 under the Lion icon, this will change the button to a green colour, click on it again to confirm the purchase.
The image below shows you what you will see in the Mac App Store. You'll notice that we have already installed Lion;
You will need to login with your Apple ID. Chances are you already have an Apple ID but if not you can create one for free here.
Once you have logged in the app is automatically purchased and you will see it on your dock with a small progress bar at the bottom of the screen. It is quite a sizable download at 3.5GB so it will take a while to download. However, if your internet connection is not fast enough, or you simply cannot wait, Apple will allow you to visit their stores, connect to their WIFI and download Lion in a matter of minutes free of charge.
Once Lion has been downloaded the install window will pop up. Simply click on "Continue" and confirm which hard drive you wish to install it on and click "Continue" again.
You may wish to make a cup of tea or grab a bite to eat as Lion will take around 30 minutes to install.
Once Lion has installed your machine will reboot and you will be presented with your new desktop with all your documents and apps intact. You can start using Lion straight away!
If you want to find out more about the new features in Lion take a look at Apple's website.