With the release of any new operating system comes a list of annoyances for veteran users. OS X Mountain Lion is no different, and while a number of its new features are great, a few annoyances have popped up that are pretty 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, hidden scroll bars, and more. The good news? If you disabled everything in Lion your settings will cross over to Mountain Lion. If you didn’t? Most everything is in the same place, even if it’s worded differently. Check out our guide to De-iOS-ifying OS X Lion for a rundown of doing the same thing on Mountain Lion.
For an additional set of options you can also check out the free software Lion Tweaks 2. Lion Tweaks was initially released to get rid of some of OS X 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, show hidden files, and more.
Take Control of Hyperactive Gatekeeper Settings
Gatekeeper is Mountain Lion’s new privacy system to keep you from installing apps that aren’t approved. It also alerts you when apps try to access private information. This is pretty 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 customization 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
Most of us have been using the system notification tool Growl for a long time, but the introduction of Mountain Lion’s own Notification Center means we now have a new option.
Not all of your apps are going to get updated to support Mountain Lion’s handy new Notification Center. Thankfully, you can integrate the two together 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 like you can in Growl, but it works to make Growl and Notification Center play nice together. You can always, of course, 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 all the stock Apple apps. If you haven’t really been using these apps then the notifications—and their accompanying sounds—might come as a big surprise.
For instance, all Apple software has notifications enabled. This means Game Center, Face Time, Calendar, and every other app that comes packed in with Mountain Lion that can push notifications. It’s a bit surprising to get a notification from something like Game Center if you don’t really use it, so it’s wise to pop into the Notifications settings in System Preferences and tweak the setting accordingly.
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 hard 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 say most people would want to keep at least 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 Mac’s released after 2011.
The good news is that you can do this anyway with AirParrot, a $10 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.
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. Currently, the forum users in MacForums have put together a couple different guides for installing Mountain Lion on unsupported Macs. The only 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.