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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.

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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
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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
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@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
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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
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The 200+ improvements mentioned by Apple can be found at apple.com/osx/whats-new/features.html –  Hope4You Jul 25 '12 at 19:12
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53 Answers

Take app screenshots without shadow

You can now take screenshots of apps without the shadow. Press ⇧⌘4 to enter screenshot mode, then press space to select a window, like normal. However, instead of simply clicking to take the screenshot, ⌥-click the window to take the screenshot without the shadow.

On the left is the default style of screenshot; on the right is the sans-shadow screenshot.

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upvoted - thanks for doing the work to find this great answer a proper home. –  bmike Oct 23 '13 at 19:29
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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!

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6  
This was on Lion too, I'm pretty sure I've used it before yesterday. –  Jonathan. Jul 27 '12 at 10:13
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In Mission Control, holding option will immediately show the + icon for adding a new desktop and X icons on each secondary desktop. You can then click these icons immediately, instead of hovering and waiting for them to appear after a delay.

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Browse through photos in screensavers via keyboard

In any of the various photo screensavers, you can hit the left or right arrow keys to manually navigate between photos.

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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.

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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
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Click-and-hold to toggle Notification Center

Click-and-hold the Notification Center icon to show your notifications; once you release the mouse button, they'll hide. This also works if you've assigned a keyboard shortcut for Notification Center (press-and-hold the key, then release).

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Clipboard content is persistent through reboots

The clipboard is not cleared on shutdown. All data in the clipboard remains there even after a power cycle.

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When updating apps, Mac App Store reopens apps and offers to skip open apps

When Updating All in the Mac App Store, rather than going straight down the list and demanding you shut down each open app along the way, it offers to let you skip the apps that are running:

enter image description here

Even better, if you do let it close an app, it will automatically reopen it when the update is complete. Furthermore, once you have initiated the update, the apps that are going to be changed are locked and a helpful error message is presented from the App Store if you try to launch an app that is about to be (or in the middle of) being updated. All together, these make updating apps less prone to error or conflicts due to files being in active use during an update.

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Ask to keep changes when closing documents

You can now force Mountain Lion to ask whether you want to keep changes you made to a document when closing it, which effectively allows you to sidestep autosaving.

System Preferences > General > [] Ask to keep changes when saving documents

Clearing the checkbox, as shown below, allows unsaved changes to be saved automatically.

enter image description here

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Please try to avoid bloating answers. I think in this specific case the picture wasn't necessary. –  gentmatt Jul 25 '12 at 21:30
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I think having a nice screenshot for each one would be nice, in order to get TL;DR type people up to date in a quick skim through the page –  XAleXOwnZX Jul 25 '12 at 22:12
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Whoever downvoted this : you are wrong. The "Close windows when quitting an application" was there in Lion, but not this. –  houbysoft Jul 26 '12 at 2:48
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@houbysoft I totally agree, and I think this is a terrific change, but then that's exactly what your tip should say. Don't say you can disable autosaving; you can't. Be accurate. –  matt Jul 26 '12 at 21:08
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@GrahamPerrin The answer is still inaccurate. I repeat, you cannot avoid automatic saving. At close time, the document changes have already been automatically saved. Regardless of the wording of the checkbox or the dialogs, what's happening is only that you are alerted to this fact so that you can revert if you like (using the Versions feature). That is something you could have done anyway. So the alert is all that is new. It's good, but you are not in fact avoiding / allowing automatic saving; it's happening, regardless. –  matt Aug 7 '12 at 17:24
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When Show contact photos in the message list is enabled, user image additions/edits from Contacts.app are updated immediately in Mail.app (not after relaunch, as in Lion)

enter image description here

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Navigate through a PDF in Mail.app by scrolling the mouse while hovering over it

The need to open a PDF in Preview/Quickview just in order to see pages other than the first one, is now gone.

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Mountain Lion removed the option to show the estimated battery time remaining from the battery menu bar item.

This data can still be accessed if your battery is not fully charged and isn’t charging, though. In those cases, + Clicking the battery icon in the menu bar shows something like this:

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Oops ... I relied on this feature. –  njahnke Jul 28 '12 at 16:27
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@MathiasBynens That's because your battery is already fully charged. Try discharing it a bit and then check again. –  Wichert Akkerman Jul 31 '12 at 10:25
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Software Updates Now Come Through the App Store

Whenever you get software updates, they now come through the App Store. You can check for updates like this (which opens the App Store):

enter image description here

Prior to Mountain Lion, software updates took place in a separate application that looked like this:

enter image description here

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3  
If my iLife apps are not from app store, what happens? –  Enrico Susatyo Aug 2 '12 at 1:10
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@EnricoSusatyo My fresh install of iLife '09 was updated via the App Store as well - even though I installed it using a CD i bought. –  gentmatt Aug 2 '12 at 10:10
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Kernel Exclusively 64-Bit

"Starting with Mountain Lion, OS X exclusively uses a 64-bit kernel, but it continues to run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications (OS X Mountain Lion Core Technologies Overview)"

Why this is a good thing:

There are two reasons this is a good thing. The first is simple: 64-bit computing is necessary if you want one of the programs on your computer to have access to more than 4GB of RAM. Second, there are some speed boosts associated with running in 64-bit mode. The Intel processors that power Macs have built-in math routines that operate more efficiently in 64-bit mode, processing tasks in fewer steps. That means that certain math-intensive tasks will see a speed boost under Snow Leopard’s 64-bit applications (Macworld).

However, having a 64-bit kernel does have its downsides: some older 64-bit computers like the iMac (pre-Mid-2007), Macbook Pro (pre-Mid-2007), Mac Pro (pre-2008), and others are not able to run Mountain Lion. This has to do with the fact that now with Mountain Lion, Macs can only boot into 64-bit mode, but prior to that, Macs could boot into both 32 and 64-bit mode, so older Macs were able to boot into 64-bit mode, but their EFI firmware was 32-bit and therefore can only interface with a 32-bit kernel.

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Improved Kernel Security (ASLR)

"Apple introduced randomization of some library offsets in Mac OS X v10.5 (released October 2007). Their implementation does not provide complete protection against attacks which ASLR is designed to defeat.Mac OS X Lion 10.7 has improved ASLR implementation for all applications. Apple explains that "address space layout randomization (ASLR) has been improved for all applications. It is now available for 32-bit apps (as are heap memory protections), making 64-bit and 32-bit applications more resistant to attack." Since OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 the kernel as well as kexts and zones are randomly relocated during system boot" (Address Space Layout Randomization).

This is beneficial in that it protects the user against the malware exploits that rely on fixed locations for some well-known system functions.

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Navigate forward/back while viewing a PDF in Safari

In Safari, if you are viewing a PDF, you can now use your normal 2-finger swipe to navigate forward or back! (Previously, this would only scroll the PDF or jump between pages if you used 3 fingers.)

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Multiple Time Machine Backup Destinations

In Time Machine you can now select multiple backup destinations.


enter image description here


That was from the "OS X Mountain Lion Core Technologies Overview".

You can select additional disks from System Preferences:

enter image description here

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Re: broken UI: 10.8.1 has improved this. Now it does show when the last backup was taken, even if it was to the "wrong" disk. –  Thilo Sep 4 '12 at 1:50
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Re: improved in 10.8.1: Maybe not, after all. –  Thilo Sep 25 '12 at 10:01
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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.

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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.

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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
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@Keen Unfortunately it is same as before in Lion, the other screen is useless. –  Ermiar Jul 25 '12 at 20:19
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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
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This feature is documented by Apple. –  Graham Perrin Jul 30 '12 at 12:57
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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

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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
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@gentmatt: the reason for the large screenshot was to see the dock icon too... –  houbysoft Jul 25 '12 at 17:42
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@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
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@PooriaAzimi: also note that a progress bar is now displayed under the "Applications" folder as well. –  houbysoft Jul 25 '12 at 18:28
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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

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Customizable sidebar

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

moving around the Favorites section of Finders side bar

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Du benutzt aber interessante Namen ;) –  gentmatt Jul 25 '12 at 19:40
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OH SWEET LORD! FINALLY! –  XAleXOwnZX Jul 25 '12 at 22:09
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This feature is documented by Apple. –  Graham Perrin Jul 30 '12 at 12:50
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Quick access to Accessibility settings

Press ++F5 to bring up a new Accessibility Options window that offers quick access to a subset of the settings from the Accessibility prefpane.

enter image description here

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Nice find! I wish that Apple would also include an option to toggle dictionary or location services here. –  gentmatt Jul 30 '12 at 12:49
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Inline progress for downloads and file copies

Bars show progress.

enter image description here enter image description here

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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
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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
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Documents in iCloud

If an application is iCloud-savvy, its Open dialog has an iCloud tab. You can not only open documents here, but you can also drag documents into the cloud from the Finder, and you can create folders (drag one document onto another to do so).

enter image description here

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Reading List caches content for offline use

Reading List in Safari is not new (it was introduced in Lion). But in Mountain Lion, a Web page stored in the Reading List stores the page, not just the URL, so you can read the page later without having to download it from the network.

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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

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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
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@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
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@Steve Yes, that's it. :) –  gentmatt Jul 27 '12 at 11:10
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Zoom and Mission Control/Launchpad play nice!

Finally, if you zoom in your screen (for example, by +scrolling), activating Mission Control or Launchpad doesn't immobilize the viewport!

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Week numbers in Calendar.app

Calendar.app can now display week numbers.

Week numbers in Calendar.app

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I always wondered who used week numbers. is it a thing that accounting people are into? –  estephan500 Aug 7 '12 at 4:11
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protected by Jason Salaz Jul 27 '12 at 9:29

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