Exploring OS X Mountain Lion

Are you new to OS X Mountain Lion? If so, learn about exploring the operating system in this free lesson.

OS X Mountain Lion features

OS X Mountain Lion has added hundreds of new features that make it more convenient to use. Many of these features are designed to make it easier to switch between your Mac and your iPad or iPhone. Below are a few of the most useful updates.


Notifications are pop-ups, banners, and other audio and visual cues that work with the applications on your computer. They're designed to let you know when something needs your attention, or when there's been any recent activity (for example, on Facebook). You can receive notifications in three different ways:

Many applications generate notifications automatically. You'll learn over time which ones do and which ones don't. To find out how to customize your notifications, visit Lesson 6 of this tutorial on Changing Your Computer's Settings.

Sharing options

Mountain Lion has included a Share button Left Tab Icon in many of its applications that you may recognize from iOS devices. You can use this button to quickly share photos, videos, websites, and more across a variety of networks—including email, instant messaging, Twitter, and Facebook.

Screenshot of SafariUsing the Share button


The dictation tool allows you to speak to fill in any text field to create emails, reminders, and messages. It's important to know that the dictation tool requires an Internet connection to send your spoken words to Apple where they are converted and then returned to you as text. You can enable dictation in your System Preferences.

Screenshot of System PreferencesVoice dictation settings

Twitter and Facebook

You can now tweet and receive messages through the Notification Center. OS X Mountain Lion also offers full Facebook integration as of fall 2012—all you have to do is sign in to Facebook in your System Preferences, and you'll be able to post things to Facebook from almost any app. You can even integrate your Facebook friends with the people you have in the Contacts app.

Additional iOS features

Mountain Lion has added other popular iOS features like Game Center, Reminders, and Messages. You'll be able to enjoy the benefit of iCloud by syncing these apps on each of your Apple devices.

Are you upgrading from an earlier OS?

If you're upgrading from Snow Leopard or an earlier version of OS X, you should be aware of some features that were introduced in Lion, like Mission Control and Launchpad. Mission Control allows you to view all open documents and applications, and it also allows you to switch between different virtual desktops. Launchpad makes it easy to launch and manage your applications. To learn about the many other changes and improvements Lion introduced, visit our Mac OS X Lion tutorial.

Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionMission Control
Screenshot of OS X Mountain LionLaunchpad