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I would like to call for a place to list some little things that surprise you about Lion. There are so many articles and lists of all the new features with information overload, I would rather focus this spot of the site on tiny delights with a note why it makes a difference to you.

Please one topic per answer, this isn't a race to enumerate everything that changed. This isn't the place for massive topics like the implications of FileVault 2 on your entire workflow - just a stroll past some little gems, fun oddities or subtle changes specific to Lion.

Answers must relate to why or how you use the feature - links to official tips and tutorials are great, but the intent is to collect little gems that affect how the system gets used. Expect answers that are not specific to lion or lack a personal use case to be heavily edited or deleted.

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I can't wait until someone wrote "Natural scrolling" as one of the answers... –  Enrico Susatyo Jul 22 '11 at 13:03
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@the_great_monkey I will admit to being totally comfortable with "natural scrolling", and I've only been using Lion since Friday. –  CajunLuke Jul 25 '11 at 19:03
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@CajunLuke me too, only took me 15 minutes to get used to. –  Enrico Susatyo Jul 26 '11 at 0:06
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Natural Scrolling only makes real sense if you use a trackpad, if you try that with a scroll wheel, it drives you nuts :) –  Martín Marconcini Jul 29 '11 at 11:38
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I'm especially happy about the price of Lion ($29.99 upgrade from SnowLeopard), but this isn't worth putting as an answer. –  bneely Feb 8 '12 at 5:42
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106 Answers

The Zoom ⊕ button will attempt to maximize

The Zoom button on the windows behaves more like Maximize on Windows OS rather than the old behavior where it usually made the window smaller (or the alternate saved/previous size). Be sure to experiment with the shift key when using the Lion controls.

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I think you'll change your mind once you plug in a second monitor :( –  Nick Bedford Jul 27 '11 at 22:46
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I found that iCal allows you to drag an event (so you can open another one).

Click on any event to get the popup:

enter image description here Then click on the areas in the green boxes of that popup and drag until it transforms into some sort of "palette".

The truth is that you can drag from any gray piece, but if the popup has a scroll area (because it's too large) then dragging from the scrollable area may not work. Try creating an event and adding a very large note to see the difference.

Once you drag it, it will look like this, so you can click another event and do the same, and you can have as many as you can pile :)

enter image description here Sry about the Blurring, but there were names there) ;)

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Lion allows you to create user names containing dots.

The lack of this frustrated standardisation with our corporate networks back in Leopard. Now I have the same user name over Mac, Windows and Unix.

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Mail now displays custom header

Under

Mail->Preferences->Viewing->Show Header Detail->Custom

enter image description here

you can specify custom headers that will be presented to you above the mails: enter image description here

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Launchpad

In Launchpad, holding down Option makes your icons dance or "jiggle". This also occurs when you click and hold an icon. I don't see the point other than making the user smile.


Edit: JAG2007's comment points out that apps which you've downloaded from the app store can be deleted from launchpad by using the Option key and selecting X.

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Neither did I. –  koiyu Sep 4 '11 at 13:13
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For apps you've installed from the Mac App store, you'll notice an "X" to delete them from launchpad, just like on iOS. Presumably that uninstalls them from launchpad (though they are saved in your Mac App store account). –  Joel Glovier Sep 24 '11 at 13:17
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Use Keyboard to Control Slideshow Screensaver

In the slideshow screen saver, pressing the space bar or arrow keys pauses and navigates between the pictures in the slideshow.

In Snow Leopard, I can't count the number of times I saw a picture in the screen saver I loved that I wanted to look at more closely or go back to. When I accidentally found this in Lion, it literally made me smile.

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The three finger drag is confusing

The three-finger-drag gesture does what it says it will, not what I thought it would.

What I expected:

Put three fingers on the trackpad, move them, the window under the cursor moves.

What happens:

Put three fingers on the trackpad, move them, the window under the cursor acts as if you have click-and-dragged. If the cursor was on Mail you might drag an email around. If it was on Safari, you drag some text snippet or image about.

To actually move a window, you need to move the cursor to the title bar and then drag with three fingers.

I thought it would be a nice meta-way to move "a thing I am working on" out of the way like shuffling paper on a desk. It's not, and I find it just as clunky as double-tap-drag. Try moving around in Google Street View with it, for instance.

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Mail defaults to date sort by most recent

In Mail, when creating new mailboxes/folders, the emails are now sorted by default by date in descending order, i.e. freshest email first. Previously, you had to switch from ascending to descending, so from reverse chronological order to chronological order, for every new folder/mailbox created. A small change that made me smile and is most welcome!

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1  
It's only welcome to people who like to read their email backwards. :-) –  zzz Aug 12 '11 at 14:21
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I don't know whether this is lion exclusive feature or not:

three fingers momentum drag

  1. select three finger dragging in the trackpad gesture panel.

  2. place 3 fingers in the trackpad still on the item you want to drag.(I use forefinger middle and ring finger)

  3. use only one finger( I use forefinger) swipe like nature scrolling, you'll see the item move momentum
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Launchpad

This feature migrated from iOS brings the home screen of iOS to the mac.

I have a few applications that I do not want sitting in the dock as they aren't used often. But I hated having to go through finder to find them. With Launchpad, I can tap a button which opens up a swiping iOS style menu where I can easily find an app I want to use, and open it with just the one click.

Splendid.

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Pinch to Zoom

Snow Leopard had this feature, but it didn't work in every application. With Lion, this works in pretty much every application. A major one for me is Final Cut Pro. Being able to pinch to zoom makes video editing so much easier.

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Authentication dialogs shake when you enter your password incorrectly

The "shaking head" animation that has long been used in OS X's login screen to indicate an incorrect password has been added to the authentication dialogs present throughout the OS. I love this! It's so clever and you immediately "get" what it means.

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Safari being two processes

When a site has some javascript that hangs the web content process, I can still add new tabs, navigate in other tabs, etc.

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QuickLook now shows the pages of a PDF in scrollable sidebar:

I just found this one and it is really helpful. I don't really need Preview anymore, as Quicklook suffices for almost all my PDF needs.

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System Preferences is so much faster when loading a preferences pane. Click on a pane and it loads almost immediately. I'm constantly amazed at this one every time I go into System Preferences.

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App Exposé shows all windows of an application even windows in other spaces and full screen apps!

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protected by Community Aug 8 '11 at 18:17

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