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Saturday, November 9, 2013

1423. What is Mavericks and should I upgrade?

As a Mac user, I’ve heard a bunch about this new upgrade called Mavericks. The last time I did an upgrade it was all about Lion or something like that. Is it worth upgrading again?
After a long series of operating systems named after big cats (Leopard, Snow Leopard, Mountain Lion, and just plain Lion), Apple apparently ran out of species and went for a new naming scheme, this time named after surfing beaches (Mavericks). The operating systems are actually named with user-friendly names (like Lion, and Mavericks) in addition to having a geek-friendly number (Mavericks is the same as OS X 10.9, Mountain Lion was OS X 10.8). Each version of the operating system Mac OS X, starting with Cheetah/OS X 10.0 in 2001, has added new functionality, user protections, and usability features.
Should you upgrade? Most likely, if your hardware will support the new operating system. You’ll find a list of requirements here: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5842. You can find a list of new end-user features in Mavericks here: http://www.apple.com/osx/whats-new/. In addition to the changes listed on this site, there are many, many more changes “under the covers” that fix problems and add protection. It runs faster, and more efficiently, than the previous operating system. Mavericks is a free upgrade from the previous version of the operating system.

Before you attempt this, or any other operating system, you must ensure that your computer is completely backed up, and preferably, more than once. Ken uses both Super Duper (http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper) and Carbon Copy Cloner  (http://www.bombich.com/) to make two backups of his computer’s hard drive before he attempts any system upgrade, and you should consider this, as well. All it takes is the easy-to-use software, plus an external drive or two to hold the disk images. Once you have your backups (and Ken always boots from each of the backups to confirm that they’re complete and accurate), feel free to start the upgrade. As with any operating system upgrade, there are changes that may affect the way your computer operates, and how it interacts with you, but all in all, Mavericks is a solid, helpful upgrade, adding new features like iBooks and Maps support, as well as far superior support for multiple monitors and improved battery life in laptops.

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