Fifteen tips and tricks for OS X Mountain Lion you need to know

Here are 15 handy tips for OS X Mountain Lion that will make your experience on the new OS a better one.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
5 min read

Whether you have been using Apple's latest operating system for the Mac, OS X Mountain Lion, for a while now, or you are just installing it, you'll benefit from reading through some of the tips below. Some of them are ways to improve on the overall experience, while others will bring back past functionality. Let's get started, shall we?

Preparing your Mac
When upgrading the operating system, no matter your platform of choice, it's always a great idea to not go into it blindly. Be prepared, and more importantly, make sure you computer is prepared. Some of the prep is stuff you should be doing anyway, so make sure to give it a read if you are yet to upgrade.

How to prepare your Mac for Mountain Lion

Get started with Notification Center
Mountain Lion has borrowed a lot of features from iOS, including Notification Center. With OS X now having one convenient place for organizing notifications on your computer, you'll more than likely end up using it to some extent. It's best you know what it does and how to customize it.

Getting started with Mountain Lion's Notification Center

Options for accessing Notification Center
One thing not discussed in the getting-started guide for Notification Center is all of the different ways to access it. The guide touched on gestures but left out keyboard shortcuts and hot corners. This post will lay out all of the options and shortcuts to revealing Notification Center for you.

Four ways to access Mountain Lion's Notification Center

Growl and Notification Center
Since we are on the topic of Notification Center, we should probably talk about the popular OS X notification platform Growl. If you're interested in integrating your Growl alerts into Notification Center, this post is made for you.

How to integrate Growl with Notification Center

AirPlay mirroring
Another big feature brought from iOS to OS X is AirPlay. If you have a compatible Mac, you can now mirror your Mac's display to your TV through an Apple TV. For a video demonstration, check out this post.

How to use AirPlay Mirroring in Mountain Lion

AirPlay-only audio
If mirroring your display isn't something you want to take advantage of, but you want to stream the audio from your Mac through your TV, you can do it with a few clicks of the mouse.

AirPlay only the audio from your Mac using OS X Mountain Lion

Using dictation to type out a quick response in Messages, a blog post, or even a lengthy e-mail can save your fingers from pounding away on the keyboard. Using dictation on Mountain Lion is simple, with almost no setup required. Just make sure you have an Internet connection.

How to enable dictation on OS X Mountain Lion

Preview open tabs in Safari
Safari 6 was released alongside Mountain Lion, bringing a slew of new features to Apple's beloved browser. One of them is the ability to quickly preview all of the open tabs in your browser window. This is another feature that's similar to what's found on iOS. It works well and comes in handy if you're in the habit of leaving a lot of tabs open.

Preview all tabs with Safari in Mountain Lion

Bring back Web sharing

It's possible to bring back Web sharing, a feature that went missing in Mountain Lion, with a little work. If you're comfortable with Terminal, you'll feel right at home enabling Web sharing on Mountain Lion. If you aren't comfortable with Terminal, Topher Kessler does a great job laying out the required steps in a simple manner.

How to enable Web Sharing in OS X Mountain Lion

We all have a shortlist of contacts whom we deem a VIP -- someone whose e-mails we respond to immediately. You can now mark those contacts as VIPs and treat them as such in Mail on Mountain Lion. You can even limit Notification Center to only show alerts for VIP e-mails and no one else.

How to use Mail's VIP list in OS X Mountain Lion

Restore Save As
OS X Lion took away a functionality users had grown accustomed to over the years: Save As. There was plenty of bellyaching and bemoaning the missing feature throughout the OS. Enough of it, in fact, that Apple has brought back the feature in Mountain Lion. You'll need to do some setting up to get it to work, but it's back!

Apple returns Save As to Mountain Lion

Expose, I missed you
Another change in OS X Lion that upset users was in how Expose behaved. In Mountain Lion, you'll need to uncheck a box in system preferences, and the old beloved Expose feature of displaying all open windows, instead of just one per open program will be restored.

Restore classic Expose behavior in Mountain Lion

Keep it secure
You can now encrypt a disk volume with a simple click, securing your data with almost no effort. There are some caveats that you need to be aware, however, of before you dive right in.

Apple adds encryption contextual menu options to Mountain Lion

Sync Notes with Android
The new and improved Notes app on Mountain Lion is built to be used with Apple's iCloud service, allowing for easy syncing between all iCloud-enabled devices. This guide will not only show you how to sync iCloud devices, but also how to sync your Android devices with the Notes app.

Syncing Notes from Mountain Lion Macs to iOS and Android

Sync iOS with Mountain Lion
iCloud is built into OS X Mountain Lion from the ground up. Between syncing documents from Preview and Pages to contacts and calendars, iCloud is handling it all. As such, you'll want to make sure your iOS device is taking advantage of as much of the cloud as possible. This great walkthrough will show you how easy it is to be achieved.

How to sync your iPhone, iPad with Mountain Lion via iCloud

If you have another tip or trick you want to share with us, feel free to do so in the comments below.

First Look
Watch this: OS X Mountain Lion