Should I Upgrade to Lion?

This is the question that I keep getting from friends and family that primarily use Macs and have heard about the upcoming upgrade to Lion.

It is a great question whose answer depends entirely on your situation and your Mac’s specifications.

Before you delve into reasons why you should upgrade or not you first need to determine whether or not your Mac meets the minimum requirements for Lion.

Can Your Mac Actually Handle Lion?


In order for you to be able to upgrade to Lion your Mac must meet the following basic requirements:

  • x86-64 Processor (Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processors)
  • At least 2GB of RAM
  • The latest version of Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.8)
  • At lease 4GB of hard drive space for Lion upgrade download.

If your processor does not match any of those processors, Lion is not supported or recommended for your computer.

So if your Mac can handle the upgrade to Lion then we need to look at reasons why you should upgrade to Lion.

Should You Upgrade to Lion?


Should i upgrade lion mac book airIt depends. If you rely on your Mac for work and have a specific set of applications that you require to do that work then I would recommend putting off the upgrade until all of the apps you use have been updated and tested to work with Lion.

Upgrade When Essential Software Has Been Tested

The last thing you want to do is upgrade to Lion and find out that one of the essential apps you use to get work done doesn’t work or has serious issues with Lion.

Aesthetics & New Features

A lot of the changes in OS X are related to the Finder, specifically how it looks and reacts when you interact with it.

Apple has brought a lot of elements from their mobile device operating system iOS to Lion. This includes no scroll bars, full-screen apps, new gestures, and a slew of other updates that make the operating system easier to use.

Lion sports 250 new features so we wont delve into that right now, but there’s one thing you are sure to find annoying when you first launch Lion and that is, scrolling now mimics the iPad’s scrolling.

Scrolling Takes Some Getting Used To

So if you scroll up you actually swipe down and vice versa. Think of it is swiping your finger up or down as you would on a touchscreen device.

At the end of the day it boils down to having the time to learn how to use new features and becoming familiar with the changes made in apps like iCal, Mail, and Contacts.

I do believe that the Resume and Versions, two features new to Lion are worth the upgrade, which by the way will set you back $29.

I’ll Wait a Couple of Weeks

Personally, I will wait a couple of weeks to make sure that the essential apps I use are fully compatible with Lion before upgrading.

Are you upgrading to Lion? Or are you taking the precautionary route to wait for the bugs to be resolved/software to be compatible? Share your thoughts below.

  • Bcluer

    I think I will wait…………my iMac works very well as it is, and it it aint broke…….why fix it for $60 or so?

    • I agree…don’t fix what isn’t broken. BTW, the upgrade is $29.

  • Andrew Stukalenko

    Upgraded to GM version just to notice that CrossOver doesn’t work almost at all and Parallels works with serious issues. Also, a lot of minor issues like Safari losing cookies etc. So, I personally will wait till the first patch for Lion goes live before upgrading (though, I really liked all the new features, especially new Mission Control and full screen Safari).

    Also, Lion seems eating up way more resources compared to Snow 10.6. I noticed significant performance degradation on my top Air model (2.13 Cored2Duo, 4Gb, 256SSD)

    • Mike

      Have you really noticed that much of a performance issue? I am concerned.  I have the base MBA with 4gb of ram. It is not slow and does pretty well for what I use it, but if upgrading to Lion is going to slow it down, I am not sure that is something I am looking forward to. 

  • Jose

    I have a Macbook Air and I really do not use it for anything other than surfing the internet and using Microsoft office. Would you say that office counts as one of those applications that would not work with Lion? 

    • Jose,

      I personally use Office 2011 on my Mac and have not seen any Lion updates come through. My biggest concern with Office documents and Lion is Versions and the Resume features. Not sure how that will play with Office products. I’d wait to make sure that it would work correctly before updating. 

      Last thing you want is documents you are working on to have issues.

    • Andrew Stukalenko

      Office works surprisingly well under GM version of Lion. They’ve fixed a lot of office-related issues in DP2, so as for now it seems pretty stable and good.

      However, if you have not the top Air model (with 4 gigs etc.) I wouldn’t recommend to upgrade to Lion since you will experience significant performance downgrade.