I am still running Snow Leopard on my late 2010 Macbook Pro. Are there potentially any benefits of still using this version of the Mac OS, or am I more disadvantaged by not being on the latest version - Mountain Lion.

Some people have informed me that Mountain Lion is very iOS-eque in nature, and they feel that this really should be kept to iOS devices such as the iPhone & iPad, and not brought into the "computing environment", such is the case that if they were able to downgrade to Snow Leopard they would - however they inform me that their brand new iMacs are of an "architecture" that does not permit this.

Another person informed me that security updates for Snow Leopard ended some months ago, and it is now officially an unsupported OS (although I dont believe this to be the case), thus Lion is now the oldest supported OS.

Any clarification on the above is very welcomed........

  • 1
    @Downvoter I have no problem with being downvoted, however is there any particular reason for it ?
    – Simon
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 14:04

2 Answers 2



1) Speed. 10.6.x runs faster on older hardware, particularly if you only have a regular hard drive. I see the beachball much more often in Mountain Lion than I did in Snow Leopard because my MBPro only has a 5400-RPM drive and ML seems to access the hard disk a lot more. SSD is preferred for Lion and Mountain Lion.

2) Colored icons in the Finder sidebar. Apple made them grayscale in 10.7 and 10.8, a huge step back for usability. There is a hack that will re-enable color, but it can cause Finder instability.

3) Rosetta. If you upgrade to 10.7/10.8, you'll lose the ability to run apps based on PPC code.


1) No iCloud. There are workarounds but I've never been able to get them to work properly or reliably.

2) Security updates. However, you can "stay safe" just by keeping Flash up-to-date (or uninstall it and only use Chrome for Flash), disabling Java in your web browsers, avoiding pirated software, running Little Snitch, and periodically running AV software.

These are the ones that stand out to me. I'm sure others can add to this list.

  • Is it possible therefore to partition the hard drive and run Snow Leopard & Mountain Lion side by side in a dual boot format - for the reasons based in 3) ie u want to run those apps - just in the same respect that people dual boot with Windows
    – Simon
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 22:09
  • 1
    Yes, absolutely. Just partition your HD, install 10.6.8 on one partition and Mountain Lion on the other. However, if you also want to have a Boot Camp partition for Windows, then I don't believe you can have both 10.6 and 10.7/10.8 installed. You have to choose one. Just make sure you back everything before you do this.
    – Jonesy
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 22:45
  • Do u think many people are dual booting Mountain Lion with Snow Leopard - it sounds like a good idea !!. Also Apple must be still supply updates for Snow Leopard (despite what I was told).
    – Simon
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 23:40
  • I have no idea how many people are dual booting, but I do know some (including myself) have a copy of 10.6.8 installed on an external hard drive or USB stick for times when they need to run software that is incompatible with 10.7/10.8. If you're really curious about 10.8, get an external HD or USB stick and install it on there to try out for fun. If money is tight, look for a small used external USB or Firewire HD (40-120 GB) on Craigslist. You probably can find one for under $30.
    – Jonesy
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 23:45
  • Wow you run Snow Leopard off a USB Stick, that is awesome....i was going to say maybe there is a way to Virtual Box it...
    – Simon
    Commented Dec 22, 2012 at 9:42

I'm currently dual booting Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion. I have the latter strictly for iOS 6 and iPhone 5 emulators. I'm disappointed in Apple. ML is too much like the iOS. They threw away Spaces and Expose for Mission Control. You can no longer customize your spaces in an easy manner without downloading a third party software and it is way too slow. I have an early 2011 Macbook Pro instead of a 2012 because the new ones won't natively run SL. They seem to be taking the Microsoft route with that. I understand the lack of certain features on older OS's but not allowing them to be installed is just horrendous.

I say all this because there are issues dual booting. My SL install has been having issues and I've need to Safe Boot a couple of times. To do this I have to boot ML and specify the SL partition as my boot device otherwise it just boots to Safe Boot in ML. I've tried specifying this within SL but it's somehow getting ignored. It's annoying. I've also had to add a partition to use files across the two. If you choose the dual boot route I highly recommend it to avoid permissions conflicts and storing/maintaining two copies of the same file.

I'm going to try to use ML from an external but I fear that will be entirely too slow with the way it bogs down running from the internal. If their next release doesn't blow me away I plan on getting a PC and running Linux.

  • Hi Todd, Thx for your answer, yes people have told me ML is too iOS-esque in nature. I have SL, but am interested in using ML from external HD, therefore keeping SL as the primary OS. If you get to run ML from external I posted this question recently apple.stackexchange.com/questions/80680/…
    – Simon
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 22:58
  • If you did eventually run Linux, there is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution which sets to mimic the mechanics and appearance of Apple's Mac OS X called Pear Linux which you might be interested in pearlinux.fr
    – Simon
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 23:04

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