Apple releases first update to Mac OS X Lion

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Apple has released OS X 10.7.1, the first update to Mac OS X Lion. Might be a surprise to some, Mac OS X 10.7.1 update is available via Software Update and not from the Mac App Store.

The 10.7.1 update is recommended for all users running OS X Lion and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability and compatibility of your Mac, including fixes that:

  • Address an issue that may cause the system to become unresponsive when playing a video in Safari
  • Resolve an issue that may cause system audio to stop working when using HDMI or optical audio out
  • Improve the reliability of Wi-Fi connections
  • Resolve an issue that prevents transfer of your data, settings, and compatible applications to a new Mac running OS X Lion

Apple support article: About the OS X Lion 10.7.1 update

Preview app in Mac OS X Lion has a new Magnifier loupe feature

Preview app in Mac OS X Lion has a new “Magnifier” tool that allows you to zoom into specific portion of document with a loupe view. This is in addition to the standard zoom in/out which applies to the whole document.

To activate the Magnifier tool, select from menu Tools->Show Magnifier or simply press the backtick ` key.

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A loupe view will be displayed once the tool is activated. You can move the loupe and adjust the size of the loupe using pinch gesture.

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When you use the Magnifier of Preview app on a PDF document, the loupe changes to a rectangular shape, with its size and position adapts to the document content such as paragraph boundary while you move or pinch to size.

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Automatically restart if your Mac freezes in Mac OS X Lion

You can setup your Mac to restart automatically when it freezes using a new feature in Mac OS X Lion. Select “Energy Saver” option from System Preferences, tick the “Restart automatically if the computer freezes” option.

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A common cause of computer freeze is spoilt RAM memory. A Mac that freezes is unusual and if you encounter random freezes and crashes, there probably is some defect in the hardware. It’s then time for a visit to Apple support.

 

Apple releases Lion Recovery Disk Assistant software for creating recovery disk on external USB drive

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When you install or upgrade to Mac OS X Lion, a Recovery HD volume is created on your Mac hard disk as part of the setup. The Recovery HD allows you to reinstall Lion, access Disk Utility, restore from Time Machine backup or browse the web with Safari.

Apple has released Lion Recovery Disk Assistant software, allowing you to create the same Recovery HD volume on an external USB disk or thumb drive. This is useful if your Mac hard disk is not usable or you are replacing the internal hard disk.

Creating the external USB Recovery HD volume is also an alternate way for you to have a clean install of Mac OS X Lion, instead of manually creating the boot disk.

In order to create the external Recovery HD, your Mac’s hard disk must have an existing Recovery HD. The external USB hard disk or thumb drive must have at least 1GB of free space. The Recovery HD volume on your external USB drive is not visible in Finder. To boot from the USB external drive, hold down Option key while Mac is booting, and select the Recovery HD from the boot up screen.

Apple has also created a knowledge base article describing more about Lion Recovery Disk Assistant. The article noted:

  • If the computer shipped with Lion, the external recovery drive can only be used with the system that created it.
  • If the system was upgraded from Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard to Lion, the external recovery drive can be used with other systems that were upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion.

Lion Recovery Disk Assistant download

Lion Recovery Disk Assistant knowledge base article

How to access hidden Library folder on Mac OS X Lion

The ~/Library folder is hidden in Finder by default in Mac OS X. Library folder is used by apps to store app related data and is not meant for end users to access. This is Apple’s way of locking down folder to protect users from modifying or deleting any files or folders under ~/Library.

Sometimes, you might be required access to the Library folder in order to troubleshoot issues. Care must be given when you’re accessing the Library folder, or else your Mac or apps might not work properly.

Access using Option key

To access the ~/Library folder, hold down the Option key while looking at the Go menu in Finder.

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Access using “Go to Folder”

An alternative is to select the option “Go to Folder” under the Go menu or using the shortcut keys Command+Shift+G. Enter “~/Library” under the “Go to the folder” prompt.

Permanently make the ~/Library folder visible in Finder

Open Terminal app under Applications>Utilities. On the command line, enter the following to permanently display Library folder under Finder:

chflags nohidden ~/Library/

To hide the Library folder, enter the command:

chflags hidden ~/Library/

Access via Terminal app

Using Terminal app, you can easily access ~/Library folder using the “cd” command line. You can also open Library folder under Finder window by using the command line “open ~/Library”.

Accented characters made easy with Mac OS X Lion

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Other than multi-touch gestures, full-screen mode, mission control etc main new features, Mac OS X Lion has numerous small features that make life just much simpler. It is now alot easier to access accented characters under Mac OS X Lion.

Just hold down the letter for a little more while and a list of alternatives accented characters will show in a popup. Press the number below the desired character to select the character and continue to type as usual. This feature appears in all apps that make use of Mac OS X Lion Cocoa text edting components.

About full-screen mode in Mac OS X Lion

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Full-Screen mode is a new system wide feature in Mac OS X Lion that apps can take advantage of. Many standard Lion apps such as Mail, iCal, Safari, FaceTime and Preview are full-screen apps. Apple apps such as iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages and Numbers were updated to work full-screen, and you can expect third party apps to follow.

  • You can tell if an app supports full-screen by the double-end arrow icon at upper right corner of app window. Click on this icon will switch the app to full-screen mode.
  • When in full-screen mode, the menu bar and the dock disappear.
  • Move the cursor across the top of the screen to gain access to the menu bar.
  • To gain access to the Dock, first move the cursor to the edge where the Dock is pinned. Then swipe or move the mouse in the same direction again. This two-steps process is designed so that the Dock will not easily block any buttons or elements on your app when you accidently move the cursor off the edge of screen.
  • Press ESC to quit the full-screen mode. Or you can reveal the app menu, and click on the double-end arrow icon at upper right corner to exit full-screen mode.
  • The shortcut keys to enter full-screen mode is Control-Command-F. You press the same shortcut keys to exit full-screen mode.
  • Full-screen mode is per app window. For example if you have two windows under Safari, you can have one window in full-screen mode while the other window remains the same.
  • OS X Lion create a Space for each full-screen app window. You can easily switch between full-screen app windows using the three fingers swipe left or right to swicth between Spaces.
  • When in full-screen, you can access Mission Control as usual by swiping up with three fingers.
  • When in full-screen, you can access Launchpad as usual by pinching with thumb and three fingers.