July 12, 2012, 12:35 PM — Editor's note: This article is the first in a series of upcoming articles on installing Mountain Lion. We'll
publish a complete guide to the new version of OS X once the update becomes available.
The word on the street is that Apple has released to
developers the golden master of Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8)--the final non-public version. And that means the
official public release of Mountain Lion isn't far off. Speculating on the specific date of release makes for
interesting discussion--all Apple has said publicly is that the new version will arrive in July--but those aiming
to upgrade as soon as the new OS drops have more pressing matters: Getting their Macs ready for Mountain Lion.
As with Lion (OS X 10.7) last year, Apple is advertising Mountain Lion as dead-simple to install. But as with
every major upgrade to OS X, there are a few things you can do before Mountain Lion is released to ensure that your
Mac is ready for the new release.
What you need
Apple says Mountain Lion requires one of the following computers, already running OS X 10.6.8 or any version of
OS X 10.7:
MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
Xserve (Early 2009)
(Note that while the above computers can install Mountain Lion, some features, such as Power Nap, AirPlay
mirroring, and AirDrop, have stricter requirements.)
Apple also says you need 2GB of RAM (memory), although in my experience, you'll enjoy better results with at
least 4GB. If you have only 2GB installed, you might consider a hardware upgrade before installing OS X 10.8. A
word of advice here: If you don't buy your RAM directly from Apple, be sure you get RAM that's specifically
designed for use in Macs. Some third-party RAM that's not up to Apple's specs will cause problems when you upgrade
your OS. Most reputable vendors will make it clear which RAM they offer is specifically compatible with Macs.