5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

Summary: Mac OS 10.7 has lots of great features - and some real downsides. Here are 5 reasons to wait to upgrade.


Unlike Snow Leopard - Mac OS 10.6 - the new 10.7 Lion release breaks a lot of old software. But that's not all.

5) Rosetta Rosetta is Apple's Power PC emulation software that works so well that you won't know how many PowerPC apps you have until you upgrade and they stop working.

I had replacements for my PowerPC apps - or can download open source replacements - except the world's best solitaire: Solitaire 'til Dawn X. Rick Holzgrafe, the developer, has an cautionary post on the lifecycle of the 20 year old app.

But you may have more important apps, such as old versions of Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, that won't run on Lion. You can easily find out by selected the app, hitting CMD-i (or right-clicking and selecting "get info"):

If it says PowerPC it won't run under Lion.

4) Network Time Machine If your Time Machine backup goes to a network drive, Lion breaks it. The workaround is to attach a local USB, FireWire or Thunderbolt and use that instead.

If you use a local drive already, no problem. No word on when a fix will surface.

3) Broken apps Lack of Rosetta support isn't the only issue. Some apps, such as Nuance's Dragon Dictate speech recognition software don't work on Lion either.

You can check out Roaring Apps' App Compatibility Table, but don't take it as the last word: Dragon Dictate gets a "tested and has some problems" rating. It always crashes on startup for me.

Videobox from Tasty Apps gets an all-clear, but on their website they note that the Safari plug-in for Videobox is broken. Can still use the app, just not the easy plug-in.

Many pro apps are iffy. If you make a living on your Mac, wait until there are good updates for all your money-making apps.

2) Irritating changes and bugs There are some head-scratching "improvements" in Lion that - I hope - may get unimproved in a dot release.

For example, Apple has dumped the "Save As…" file option. Now Lionized apps have a "Duplicate" option: you duplicate the file - no built in keyboard command - and then Save it. Huh?

Apple Mail has - finally! - a horizontal letterbox layout. But despite what the preferences say, you can't enlarge the message list font. Weird.

Calendar and Address Book now have ugly leather-look interfaces. Can't believe Steve approved it.

1) There's no rush Lion will be around for a couple of years. 10.6.8 - the last version of Snow Leopard - works great.

Let other people take the arrows.

The Storage Bits take "Thou shalt not upgrade until 6 months after release" is the 11th Commandment in enterprise data centers. It isn't bad advice for consumers either.

Inevitably in any major software release their comes a time when release date and resource constraints force a reckoning. That's when cool features get dumped in a ditch and features that everyone assumed would be there go missing.

Lion is a worthy effort, but still young. Let it age on someone else's system and you'll be happier for it.

Comments welcome, of course. No, I haven't upgraded all my Macs to Lion, and I won't for some months.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Operating Systems, Processors


Robin Harris has been a computer buff for over 35 years and selling and marketing data storage for over 30 years in companies large and small.

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  • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

    What arrows? The system works great, I get that some stuff is no longer supported but overall I have no complaints about Lion.
    • taking the arrows

      someone did take the arrows. Apple, that is. The scrollbar arrows no longer exist! :/
  • How about One Reason to avoid upgrading and Four really minor ones

    The pluses far outweigh the minus reasons for a Lion upgrade, IMO.

    As anyone who has used Lion on the new MBA machines can attest to, Lion is a Great upgrade for OS X based notebooks. (PS .. I enjoy it on my desktop machine as well. I even have gotten use the the "natural or reverse scrolling" cursor feature.)

    BTW, broken apps are the only major reason to avoid an upgrade - but that's true for any OS platform change.
  • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

    No different than Snow Leopard. There were tons of bugs and htings not working and TONS of apps that broke and needed updates made... It always takes awhile for a new OS to get really good. For a long time Leopard was much better than Snow Leopard, just like Tiger was better than Leopard. After awhile this just won't hold true anymore, and eventually Lion will be better than Snow Leopard in every way except PPC app support.
  • sounds like......

    A Vista debacle..........
    • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

      @OhTheHumanity. Hardly. Lion takes some getting used to and breaks some compatibility, but it's hardly a Vista debacle. It's more like Windows XP before SP1 - an ambitious upgrade with some kinks that will be worked out.
      • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

        Well read through the comments and some are feeling that way, but you can sugar coat it if you want. Read too many articles so far on the issues and its shaping up to be more hassle than reward.
      • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

        @OhTheHumanity It's by no means perfect but what OS is. Sure there are a lot of people that are having issues but look at those issues. There are those with legitimate problems but the majority are people complaining because they don't like change or because they didn't take the most important step that everyone should know you should take before upgrading, make sure your software is compatible. I am absolutely amazed at the number of people that were surprised to find their PPC apps no longer work. I very recently returned to the Mac after over a decade of being on Windows machines and long before I made that move and long before lion had it's official announcement let alone release I knew Rosetta was going away. I wasn't even a Mac user and I knew this.
    • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

      @OhTheHumanity : sad to say but nothing can compare to the ME/Vista debacles...
      • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

        @deaf_e_kate Everyone talks about Vista but I have always though ME was the worst. I waited about a year before moving to Vista and probably due to that I never had any real issues with it.
  • Not exactly

    The most timely advice ;)
  • Yeah...

    Sounds like everything "just works" to me!
    • You are so witty.

      @chmod 777
      I just cannot control my laughter. Your comment is ingenious and certainly has not been used millions of times before.
  • Lion also replaces the SMB server.

    Earlier versions of MacOS X have included Samba, which is the most advanced and complete non-Microsoft server implementation of the SMB/CIFS (and, as of 3.6.0, SMB2) protocol suite available. Apple management seems to have a bad case of 'not invented here'. They decided to replace Samba with their own in-house implementation.

    I know the SMB/CIFS developers at Apple; they are good folks and very smart. I am annoyed at Apple management and PR for using the GPLv3 their excuse for replacing Samba in their distribution, and for spreading FUD about that license.
  • Not entirely accurate...

    Network Time Machine broken? I've been backing my laptop up to a Leopard server with no problems. I've also successfully restored it. My wife's MacBook is being backed up to my Lion server with no problems. Doesn't seem broken to me.<br><br>As for PowerPC, Apple had to pull the plug sometime. Developers have had since Tiger to get their apps ported over to Intel. While I'm not a developer, I think that's plenty of time.

    My only complaint is my 2008 MacBook Pro now runs at least 10 degrees celsius hotter that it did with Snow Leopard. I guess due to the additional filesystem stuff that Lion does.
    • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion


      Same for me. Time Machine backups to a drive attached to an Airport Extreme work perfectly.
    • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion


      Same for me. Time Machine backups to a drive attached to an Airport Extreme work perfectly.
  • I reverted back to SL after my Vista Experience.

    I reverted back to SL after my Vista Experience. I can't believe this OS version. Its like dealing with MS Vista all over again... I left a bad review and in return they disabled my account until 3 days of yelling at them. Once I removed my bad review my account became active again. Go figure...
    • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion


      Yeah... they disabled your account... you are so full of it that it is leaking out every orifice!
      • RE: 5 reasons NOT to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

        @Geuseppi No kidding.