Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This question serves to share and collect the enhancements which are not documented by Apple, or documented poorly.

Please justify your answer; if it is something that is well documented by Apple and elsewhere on the web, it does not belong here. Your answer should put the feature into context, explaining how to use it. Add a picture if necessary.

Please add only one topic per answer. Try to find and edit existing features / answers rather than posting a duplicate answer which will end up getting deleted. Note that answers which are not specific to Mountain Lion will be removed as well. You can post such answers here.

share|improve this question
27  
I wish I had enough rep on Apple.SE to downvote. As it is, you'll have to make do with an angry glare: ಠ_ಠ – GnomeSlice Jul 25 '12 at 18:47
29  
I'm sorry, I just think it's not a very good question for the Q&A format of the site. No amount of editing will change that, in my opinion. – GnomeSlice Jul 25 '12 at 18:51
25  
@GnomeSlicE We've done these type of wiki collections several times in the past. While they are disputed, they always receive a lot of resonance. It's better to avoid them, especially for little things. But as Apple does not document everything they introduce in their software this question can be useful to many. Feel free to discuss these type of questions on meta. – gentmatt Jul 25 '12 at 18:54
24  
Disagree with GnomeSlicE. Agree with gentmatt. These types of questions, when well cultivated, can be very useful and discourage (to some extent) the really bad CW posts. – daviesgeek Jul 25 '12 at 19:02
14  
The 200+ improvements mentioned by Apple can be found at apple.com/osx/whats-new/features.html – Hope4You Jul 25 '12 at 19:12

53 Answers 53

You can now silence bouncing application icons in the Dock by just hovering over them, instead of needing to click and activate them.

share|improve this answer
    
Wow! Awesome!!! – daviesgeek Jul 26 '12 at 22:48
4  
Actually, this was possible in Lion as well. My mother used it all the time for Entourage (she gets a lot of mail ;) ) – Matt Jul 27 '12 at 6:17
    
I wish it made Adium stop flapping too :( – Steve Jul 30 '12 at 10:43

'Do Not Disturb' Mode for Notification Center

In the Notification Center drawer, scroll up a bit past what appears to be the top. There's a switch 'Show Alerts and Banners' that is checked by default. Uncheck it to disable notifications for the rest of the day.

Alternatively, option-click on the Notification Center menu bar item to activate Do Not Disturb mode quickly.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
7  
The ⌥-click trick is particularly awesome. The Notification Center icon turns gray when in do-not-disturb mode! i.imgur.com/MV3Tt.png – Daniel Jul 25 '12 at 17:20

Exposé for all windows

Mountain Lion re-introduces the pre-Lion feature to be able to disable group by application in Mission Control, this was enabled by default in Lion and could not be disabled.

You can disable this in:
System Preferences → Mission Control → Group windows by application.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
2  
This alone may convince me to upgrade. I have avoided lion solely because of the removal of all-window expose. – Fake Name Jul 27 '12 at 4:34
    
This was already present in Lion... mine was even already ticked post-upgrade. – Steve Jul 27 '12 at 10:55
    
@Steve You are the very first person to say this. Please link a screenshot to verify your claim. – gentmatt Jul 27 '12 at 10:58
1  
@gentmatt realised my colleagues sat next to me haven't upgraded, looks like it was enabled by default and you couldn't turn it off, the ability to turn it off is what is new. – Steve Jul 27 '12 at 11:06
2  
@Steve Yes, that's it. :) – gentmatt Jul 27 '12 at 11:10

Save As

...is back!

Try the following keyboard shortcut: option-shift-command-S. Or simply hit the OPTION key while the file menu is pulled down:

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
13  
I love how they count this as a feature. They could have many more features if they removed them in previous versions and then added them back in in the later versions – Jonathan. Jul 26 '12 at 16:41
    
@Jonathan They don't, we do (count it as a feature). – jpc Jul 27 '12 at 14:04
    
@Jonathan Looking at this list, it seems that most “new” features fall into this category: they’re just fixes of what Lion botched up. Not sure if I should be disappointed or delighted. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 27 '12 at 14:40
    
@jpc, it is listed on Apple's website, on the page which lists all the new features. Therefore they count it as a feature. – Jonathan. Jul 27 '12 at 14:58
3  
If you assign a shortcut for duplicate in System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts The menu entry Save As... will be shown permanently - without the need to press ALT. – gentmatt Jul 30 '12 at 11:49

Mountain Lion offers direct video/audio encoding from Finder.

Select one or more audio/video files, then right-click and choose “Encode selected video files”. You’ll get something like this:

Note: this doesn't work for already compressed audio files (like aac and mp3). This does work for CAFF, AIFF, AIFC, S2df, and WAVE as per the -2700 error message that shows up if you attempt this on an already compressed audio file.

Also, this may be found as a Sub-Menu Item of the Services menu (contextual or from the File menu) for those with a number of third party service actions enabled/installed.

Additionally, this does not preserve meta data like locations of movies or ID3 tags for AIFF files, etc!

share|improve this answer
    
I don't see this option when I right-click a mp4 file. Could it be a feature of Handbrake or some other application you have installed? – jtbandes Jul 26 '12 at 21:44
    
@jtbandes I did a fresh OS X 10.8 install this morning and have only installed XCode, some browsers, and some text editors since — no video software at all. I get this context menu on any *.mp4 file: i.imgur.com/NFNj7.png – Mathias Bynens Jul 26 '12 at 21:46
    
Oh I see — it's hiding under the Services submenu for me. Apparently it's an Automator action. – jtbandes Jul 26 '12 at 21:48
6  
This was on Lion too, I'm pretty sure I've used it before yesterday. – Jonathan. Jul 27 '12 at 10:13
    
Is there anyway it can preserve the meta information of the original movie? I'd like to compress the videos I've created with my iPhone but when I do this I lose the location information embedded in the original movie. – Gerry Nov 17 '12 at 17:07

Inline progress for downloads and file copies

Bars show progress.

enter image description here enter image description here

share|improve this answer
3  
I wouldn’t say the sharing button is underdocument. :P It’s actually one of the main advertising points for OS X. – daknøk Jul 26 '12 at 22:15
    
Unfortunately, the copy dialog box still appears. – Matt Aug 9 '12 at 23:50
1  
This even works in the Dock via Stacks, in this case into the Downloads folder (that's the Download folder stack). Awesome. This is hands down the coolest feature in Mountain Lion for me. – Jason Salaz Aug 24 '12 at 18:16

Scrollbars get a bit wider when hovered over

Now it is easier to grab them.

screenshot showing normal scrollbar, and new wider scrollbar

share|improve this answer
    
This is awesome! Small, hidden, discrete while you scroll, bigger when you go to click… smart! – AMomchilov Jul 26 '12 at 19:27
    
Yes please!! I hate trying to scroll with the Lion scrollbars. – daviesgeek Jul 26 '12 at 22:46
3  
Odd, this does not work when using Show scroll bars: always. – Arjan Jul 27 '12 at 10:08
    
This doesn't work for me. Tried both Finder and Safari. – kba Jul 29 '12 at 2:26
    
@Arjan do the scrolls bar get bigger when you mouse over them? (whilst in "Show scroll bars: always" mode) – AMomchilov Jul 29 '12 at 22:18

Internet Sharing

Internet Sharing now supports WPA2 encryption (and no longer supports WEP, apparently) when sharing a wired connection to Wi-Fi.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
Glad to finally have WPA2 but removing WEP is disappointing. Some older devices only support WEP. – Kevin Mark Jul 27 '12 at 8:31
3  
@KevinMark WEP is still (kind of) supported in Internet Sharing and AirPort Utility. If you option-click the drop-down menu in Security (in Internet Sharing), WEP 40-bit and WEP 128-bit appear as new options. – Ethan Lee Aug 30 '12 at 16:58

Chess

...can now be played over the internet via Game Center.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
9  
Wow, why didn't they advertise this? Awesome feature. – Nathan Greenstein Jul 25 '12 at 20:08
7  
Because it's Chess? – Daniel Jul 26 '12 at 15:27
1  
Wait, how can I enable that? – Moshe Jul 26 '12 at 18:59
    
@Moshe see my answer :) – houbysoft Jul 26 '12 at 19:11
1  
This was advertised. – asmeurer Jul 27 '12 at 2:09

Messages is AppleScriptable, including an Event Handler Suite! This could get fun.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
1  
Excuse-me, it's maybe a very dumb question, but where did upi find this Messages.sdef file, and what is this application you are using to reed it? Thank in advance! – Pascal Qyy Jun 21 '14 at 13:28
1  
Use AppleScript Editor and open the dictionary from the file menu – Daniel Jun 21 '14 at 21:36
    
Thanks a lot, it's very powerfull as we can script actions for messages sends from any iOS device! – Pascal Qyy Jun 24 '14 at 12:19

Show scrollbars without scrolling

If you have a multi-touch input device (a multi-touch trackpad or Magic Trackpad), resting two fingers on the device will make the scrollbar appear as an indicator of your scroll position. You no longer have to scroll the document to see where you are.

Note: doesn't work with Magic Mouse.

share|improve this answer
    
I hate having to move my fingers on the trackpad to show the scrollbars in Lion. This is a much improved feature! – daviesgeek Jul 26 '12 at 22:50
6  
This seems to be Apple apps specific? Like I can see it in Finder and Safari, but no joy in Chrome. – Arjan Jul 27 '12 at 10:12
    
@Arjan I suppose Chrome is not properly handling the event, since it looks like it's using standard scrollbars but you're right that it doesn't work. – jtbandes Jul 28 '12 at 5:41
    
Surely Chrome will soon get a new build that does it right. – leberwurstsaft Jul 31 '12 at 10:20

Customizable sidebar

You can now drag/drop sections in the Finder side bar again.

moving around the Favorites section of Finders side bar

share|improve this answer
9  
Du benutzt aber interessante Namen ;) – gentmatt Jul 25 '12 at 19:40
    
klar, immer doch – leberwurstsaft Jul 25 '12 at 19:42
5  
OH SWEET LORD! FINALLY! – AMomchilov Jul 25 '12 at 22:09
1  
This feature is documented by Apple. – Graham Perrin Jul 30 '12 at 12:50
    
How do you make the font size of the Finder side bar smaller? – matt b Jul 30 '12 at 13:46

New date picker

A small calendar appears in date entry fields. Example:

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
Lipiec!!!!!!!!! – AppleBottomFreak Jan 30 '13 at 8:15

Photo Stream and other screen savers

Mountain Lion includes a bunch of new kinetic photo-based screen savers.

You can select from several categories of stock images or choose a folder, iPhoto event, or Photostream as the source of images.

Go to System Preferences -> Desktop and Screen Saver -> Screen Saver and select one of the screen savers in the Slideshows category to try them out.

Personally, I'm a fan of Shifting Tiles.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
Alas they have dropped my old favourite one. – Dave Sag Aug 7 '12 at 2:01

Re-enable Web Sharing for individual users

May be more a "feature" than a feature, but anyway:

Per-user Web Sharing is gone from Preferences but can be easily re-enabled via Terminal.app. Copy the following snippet into /etc/apache2/users/USER.conf:

<Directory "/Users/USER/Sites/">
    Options Indexes MultiViews
    AllowOverride AuthConfig Limit
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all
</Directory>

and restart Apache with sudo apachectl restart.

share|improve this answer
    
Or, you can use that software, to activate/deactivate web sharing easily :) (from VirtualHostX editors) : clickontyler.com/blog/2012/02/web-sharing-mountain-lion – rdurand Jul 27 '12 at 7:28
    
I can't get this to work, Web Sharing stays on irregardless of the position of the switch in the preference pane?! – patrix Jul 27 '12 at 7:46
    
Maybe you can contact the developer ? I really don't know how I can help here lol. I know they're active on twitter for their main app (@virtualhostx), maybe they can help you there ? Sorry it doesn't work, it seemed pretty good.. – rdurand Jul 27 '12 at 8:16

The Mac App Store can be navigated with two-finger swipes

Back and forward are (finally) bound to the two-finger swipe gestures in the MAS just like they are in Safari.

share|improve this answer
    
I've been waiting for this. Awesome! – gentmatt Jul 26 '12 at 7:41
4  
Still not the finder though.... :'( – Jonathan. Jul 26 '12 at 16:41
3  
@Jonathan You can go back and forward in Finder by holding option while making the mission control swipe (3 or 4 fingers). It probably doesn't allow two because some views have sideways scrolling. – ughoavgfhw Jul 26 '12 at 22:35
7  
I worked on this last summer! You're welcome! :D – jtbandes Jul 27 '12 at 5:32
1  
And two major OS releases later, it can finally be full screened! @Moshe Hi! Sorry I missed you at WWDC! – wjl Jul 29 '12 at 7:40

Enhancements to Launchpad

There's now a search bar on top, and when you mouse over the Launchpad icon while an app is downloading, you get progress information:

enter image description here enter image description here

share|improve this answer
13  
It's good to know that you do not need to click the search field first - instead: search by typing from anywhere in Launchpad. – gentmatt Jul 25 '12 at 17:39
1  
@gentmatt: the reason for the large screenshot was to see the dock icon too... – houbysoft Jul 25 '12 at 17:42
    
Yeah, sorry. I did not notice that :) But I did read about it in your text. – gentmatt Jul 25 '12 at 18:11
1  
@PooriaAzimi: well it lists all the apps. Whenever you install a new app in the App Store, the icon of that app "jumps" to the Launchpad, so it makes sense for launchpad to show the progress. – houbysoft Jul 25 '12 at 18:28
1  
@PooriaAzimi: also note that a progress bar is now displayed under the "Applications" folder as well. – houbysoft Jul 25 '12 at 18:28

AirPlay Everywhere

AirPlay devices like Apple TV and Airport Express now show as system audio output devices, so any audio on your Mac can be streamed to them. There are two ways to do it.

The fiddly way

System Preferences > Sound > Output

The easy way

option-click on the volume control in the menu bar

share|improve this answer
    
Is this limited to newer Macs? I only tried with a software receiver, which works with iTunes and iOS as a sender, but the option for AirPlay as System Output won't show up. This is a Macbook Late 2008. – leberwurstsaft Jul 26 '12 at 8:06
    
Not as far as I know. It works fine with my mid-2010 Macbook Pro. – Simon Whitaker Jul 26 '12 at 8:10
    
Nevermind, I just made a dry run with my old Airport Express. Didn't actually try to get audio out, but it shows up in the drop down menu. I wonder what the performance is like, for a system output it better have a much shorter delay than it has when playing music or video through iTunes or QuickTime. – leberwurstsaft Jul 26 '12 at 8:40

Three-finger tap for QuickLook

Tap (but don't click) with three fingers over an item in Finder to open QuickLook for that item. Tap again to close the QuickLook window. This is exactly like pressing the spacebar.

share|improve this answer

Slightly better Dock appearance

The Dock "shelf" (when the Dock appears at the screen bottom) is drawn in a less glassy way (looks more like brushed metal, less reflection, less wasted space).

Also, the active appication indicator lights are much more subtle that the glowing "orbs" that used to sit on the glass and look awful, and now look like little LEDs set into the edge of the shelf

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
This is useless for everyone (like me) who has their dock on the side of their screen. That dock's appearance has not changed. – Fake Name Aug 5 '12 at 12:43
    
Yes, @FakeName, but the side dock appearance is the good one. In fact, there's a way to make the bottom appearance look like the side appearance, and that's what I actually do. Makes the dock more compact, and the active application indicators are a lot clearer. So stay with your side dock and don't worry, be happy! – matt Aug 6 '12 at 22:09
    
I wish they had made this same change in iOS! – daGUY Nov 14 '12 at 20:19

Go full screen on any display

It is now possible to use a fullscreen app on a screen other than the primary one.

To do so, drag your app on the screen of your choice and hit the fullscreen arrow or the fullscreen shortkey of the app.

share|improve this answer
2  
What happens on the other screen? My understanding was that the other screen was useless in Lion when you had an app full screened. – Keen Jul 25 '12 at 20:18
10  
@Keen Unfortunately it is same as before in Lion, the other screen is useless. – Ermiar Jul 25 '12 at 20:19
6  
that's a step in the right direction, though full screen mode is still utterly useless for me, since I work with two monitors. – daviesgeek Jul 26 '12 at 1:45
    
that is a misleading use of "support". "support" would mean that you could actually still USE more than monitor.. you know.. for more than one thing… you know.. like how it was for 20 years before Lion. don't get me started on that "basically-Ballmered" feature! – alex gray Jul 29 '12 at 2:47
1  
This feature is documented by Apple. – Graham Perrin Jul 30 '12 at 12:57

New "Edit" toolbar in Preview.app

There is a new toolbar in Preview.app to replace the old "Annotations" toolbar that brings all the basic editing features that Preview offers (including their awesome smart lasso and instant alpha) plus the addition of speech bubbles! enter image description here

share|improve this answer

Zoom in PDF with Quick Look

Easily zoom in to a PDF with Quick Look (without Preview).

Methods include:

  • spread your fingers apart whilst the cursor is over the Quick Look window
  • smart zoom, Magic Mouse double-tap with one finger.

It doesn't seem to work on anything but PDF documents.

share|improve this answer
    
Well, it's a step in the right direction. I've been lamenting the limitations of Quick Look for a while now. There's a step higher than skimming that this zoom enables, especially when the font used in the PDF is absurdly small. – Jason Salaz Jul 26 '12 at 0:06
2  
Typical Apple doing something people want but not going all the way. This would be useful on images too... – Jonathan. Jul 26 '12 at 16:40
    
@Jonathan. Well, they need something to save for the next release, now that they have a note and a reminder application. rolls eyes – Harold Cavendish Jul 28 '12 at 8:48
    
I have normal vision, but find the difficulty I have reading plain text documents with QuickLook (and the inability to change those text rendering settings) to be a: needlessly inflexible b: maddeningly frustrating and c: an uncharacteristic F-you to anyone that doesn't have the vision of a 5-year old (aka, everyone, brailees, etc). – alex gray Jul 29 '12 at 2:44

Dictation

You can dictate text wherever you can type text - even in an application that has not been rewritten for Mountain Lion. You must go in System Setting -> Dictation & Speech to activate the feature.

Note that you must have an Internet connection, since this is Siri behind the scenes and your speech must be sent to Apple's servers for interpretation.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
will this feature be available in spanish? – Barranka Jul 30 '12 at 17:23
    
double press on function key (fn) to activate it & single press to finish. Its a handy shortcut for dictation. – Praveen Vijayan Jul 31 '12 at 16:11
    
Too bad that this cannot be done locally. An iPhone may not have the horse power, but a Mac should be able to.... – Thilo Aug 6 '12 at 10:09

Accidental Dock icon removal prevention

When moving and icon outside of the dock, it doesn't delete automatically, you need to stay out for a little at a minimum distance before it deletes.

There is a follow up question asking how to disable this feature - preferebly using a defaults write command.

share|improve this answer
    
I removed the picture, because this picture does not help in understanding how the changed dock icon removal works. – gentmatt Jul 26 '12 at 14:18
    
Ok, thanks for explaining, was curious why you removed it – Philippe Gilbert Jul 26 '12 at 14:19
3  
I was really confused after the ML install when I was trying to remove some default Apple stuff I don't need in the dock ;) – timbooo Jul 26 '12 at 19:32

Applications in the Get Info dialogue window are now expressly listed as 32-bit as opposed to just "Intel," which has been entirely dropped.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
Let the "Apple's moving to AMD/ARM/back to PowerPC" conspiracies begin! – njahnke Jul 28 '12 at 16:26

Week numbers in Calendar.app

Calendar.app can now display week numbers.

Week numbers in Calendar.app

share|improve this answer
2  
I always wondered who used week numbers. is it a thing that accounting people are into? – estephan500 Aug 7 '12 at 4:11
    
Good one :) About two-three times a year I have someone saying he/she can do some task "starting week X". Used to subscribe to some public calendar for those rare occasions. – Marie Fischer Aug 22 '12 at 3:57
    
I used it a ton working Meteorology. – Jason Salaz Sep 28 '12 at 22:15
    
It can be usefull for task repartition: "You do this even week, I do it odd week. We also can use it with statistic, eg: "how many money week 1, 2, 3, etc". The most important is to use the same mathod of counting, there are 3 or 4… – Pascal Qyy Jun 21 '14 at 13:35

In-App File Manipulation

When you hover over the file name in the application bar you can Rename, Move to iCloud, Move to.., Duplicate, Lock and Browse all Versions.

Other than that, you can also have specific services that appear there.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
    
In my view, this is the best new feature of Mountain Lion (especially in combination with the option to bring back the "Save Changes?" dialog when closing a document). The screen shot does not represent its full yummy goodness: you may also see a menu item letting you Revert to the state of the document when it was last opened or last saved (or both). – matt Jul 26 '12 at 18:27
1  
Provided a better screen shot – matt Jul 26 '12 at 19:01
    
by the way, what do you use to make your screenshot? it's really great! – Philippe Gilbert Jul 26 '12 at 19:30
    
Probably Snapz Pro X. – matt Jul 26 '12 at 21:06
    
@matt thanks, never heard of it but it look awesome. It's not cheap though... – Philippe Gilbert Jul 26 '12 at 21:08

User prompt for address book access

This has only been officially announced for iOS 6 but quietly made it's way into Mountain Lion.

Your address book data is located in:

/Users/my_name/Library/Application Support/AddressBook

So far, I've used a firewall to controll read/write access on a per-application basis, but Mountain Lion does this now itself:

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
6  
In case you gave an app access to your contacts but change your mind later, just go to System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Privacy → Contacts and uncheck the app. – Mathias Bynens Jul 27 '12 at 13:07
    
This also happens for Location Services and Twitter account access. Which means it should do the same for Facebook access in a future OS update that enables the Facebook account type in the first place. – Jason Salaz Jul 30 '12 at 6:35
    
Are you wondering why some apps show your contacts even though you denied them access? See this question: Can OS X apps access my contacts even if I don't give them permission?. – gentmatt Jul 30 '12 at 19:22

Better Dashboard Widgets Management

The "widgets bar" at the bottom of Dashboard is gone. To manage what dashboard widgets appear, click the + button to enter a mode where you see all available widgets; click one to add it to your default set of widgets. A new search bar helps you find the widget you want just like in the refined Launchpad. So, click...

+

..at the bottom left to enter the "add widgets" mode:

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
2  
Definitely a big fan of the improved Dashboard. – Terrance Shaw Jul 26 '12 at 23:21

protected by Jason Salaz Jul 27 '12 at 9:29

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.