OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion - Everything you need to know!

In 10.8, OS X 2012 Mountain Lion was the second Mac operating system to be offered via the App Store and the last Mac operating system to be named after a big cat. As of 2013, naming progressed to locations in California, beginning with OS X Mavericks 10.9. The then new OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion introduced over 200 small and large innovations for the Mac, including new apps, new system-wide functions, tidier notifications, greater connectivity with iCloud and other Apple devices, and much more. Here you will find information about these innovations, a video of the Keynote, the high-resolution background image of the system and, last but not least, the download for your Legacy Mac.

What's new in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion?

Traditionally, the (then) new Mac operating system OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion was presented at the World Wide Developers Conference. Craig Federighi began introducing the system during the WWDC12 keynote by saying that it included 10.7 new features compared to OS X 200 Lion. In the further course of the presentation, however, the focus was only on eight major innovations. The first feature was iCloud, which was introduced in October 2011 - by WWDC12 the cloud service had already registered around 125 million users. Starting with Mountain Lion, the synchronization of apps and Apple services (calendar, mail, contacts, etc.) was implemented for them. Along with this, the Messages app for iMessage has been brought to the Mac, along with Reminders and Notes.

Also introduced with this new type of synchronization is "Documents in the Cloud". As the name suggests, documents can be filed, viewed, edited and saved via iCloud on various Apple devices (Mac, iPad, iPhone). In addition to Apple's own apps such as Pages, Numbers and Keynote, this feature was also offered to other developers via a software development kit (SDK). In addition to the iCloud demo to present the new features, the new reminders and notes apps and their possible uses were also shown. Furthermore, the news app for iMessage was demonstrated and it was shown that even HD videos can be sent and viewed with it.

In OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, the notifications from different apps were standardized for the first time in 2012 and implemented as push notifications. A distinction was made between notifications, which disappear from the upper right corner of the screen after a short time, and alarms, which are only removed when you actively trigger them. In case you are giving a presentation, a feature has been introduced that automatically turns off notifications and alarms when a projector is connected. But you could also deactivate it manually if you wanted to work undisturbed. The introduction of the dictation function on the Mac also earned a lot of applause. Also new was the share button for faster forwarding of links, images, videos and more.

There were also innovations for Safari in OS X Mountain Lion. Not only the "world's fastest JavaScript" according to Apple, but also the new address bar, which could now be used for searching and displaying search suggestions in real time. A standard feature now, cause for applause back in 2012. iCloud Tabs also introduced the ability to open Safari webpages open on other devices (iPhone and iPad) on Mac. Various trackpad gestures have also been introduced for navigating within and between tabs. A big topic back then was sharing content or ideas via Twitter, Facebook and the like. Therefore, various "Share" and "Post" buttons have been integrated for these platforms, even for completely new posts (without shared content) via the notification center.

Also, Power Nap came to Mac as a new feature with OS X 10.8. This allows Apple computers to receive updates for app content, such as e-mails, calendar data, notes, information for Where is? and so forth. Powered Macs could also perform scheduled Time Machine backups and install app and system updates during the power nap. Compatibility was still limited back then, but today it's all standard. The same applies to AirPlay, which made it possible to wirelessly send video signals to the Apple TV and transmit the display. Audio could already be sent to AirPlay-compatible speakers. Last but not least, the Game Center was brought from the iOS devices to the Mac.

Other new features were also mentioned during the presentation: Mail VIPs, Launchpad search, Gatekeeper, simpler ones AirPrint, automatic password insertion in Safari, and more. It also broke down the new features for Macs in China, as well as the SDK with the Notification Center API, Twitter API, Better Graphics APIs, and more. At the WWDC12 keynote in June 2012, Mountain Lion was announced for release in July of that year through the Mac App Store for $19,99 instead of $29,99 previously. You could also upgrade all of your own Macs with one purchase. Mac operating systems are now free. But back then, the new distribution model and price development was a big deal. 

More information about OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion for the Apple Mac:

These Mac models are compatible with OS X Mountain Lion

The upgrade to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion requires an Apple Mac with at least 8 GB of free hard disk space, at least 2 GB of RAM and OS X 10.6.8 or later than the previously installed system. The Mac models required for the basic system go back to iMacs from 2007. However, there are some features that require newer hardware. Below is an excerpt from the individual compatibility lists.

Mac models supported for basic functions:

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • Xserve (early 2009)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)

AirDrop is supported on OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion on these Macs:

  • MacBook Pro (Late 2008 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 or newer)
  • iMac (Early 2009 or newer)
  • Mac mini (mid 2010 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2009 with AirPort Extreme Card or Mid 2010)

The AirPlay Mirroring (display transfer to the Apple TV) introduced with Mountain Lion required at least this hardware in addition to the Apple TV of the 2nd generation or newer:

  • iMac (Mid 2011 or newer)
  • Mac mini (mid 2011 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2011 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Early 2011 or newer)

For more information on OS X 10.8 and compatibility with other Apple devices and systems, see Apple's data sheet. There are also technical details about using Time Machine, FaceTime and other technologies.

Download OS X Mountain Lion and create a boot stick

You can download OS X Mountain Lion as a dmg file here at Apple download. This can be opened directly on the Mac on which the system is to be installed. Furthermore, the pkg file can be extracted and/or an installer can be created. We have already explained in other posts how you can use it to create a boot stick for installing a system on the Apple Mac using a USB stick. Here is a selection of articles that may help you:

Buy Apple OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Boot Stick

If you have to buy a new USB stick anyway to create the bootable storage medium with OS X Mountain Lion, then the more convenient alternative would be to order a ready-made USB boot stick. One of these is currently available from Amazon for 16,99 euros, and even with Prime shipping. Here you come to the offer including the detailed product description and the reviews.

DS Systems Installation Boot Stick Compatible with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion macOS Bootable...
  • Comes with detailed but easy to understand step-by-step instructions. Completely in German.
  • With this DS Systems USB (Type-A) boot stick it is possible to carry out a complete new installation on, for example, a...
  • Always check the system requirements beforehand. If in doubt, you can check compatibility...

Download OS X Mountain Lion Wallpaper - Desktop Background in 5K and 6K

Apple's Mac operating systems are not only recognizable by the respective version number and name, but also by their unique desktop background during use. The system OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion does not show a big cat, but like the system before it shows a space image. Like OS X 10.7 Lion, this system features a galaxy on its desktop by default. However, this is presented from a different perspective - a visual indication that Apple has not fundamentally changed the system, but has improved, expanded and tidied it up, especially in small areas. If you want to use the high-resolution Mountain Lion wallpaper on a new Mac or on a PC, it's very easy.

At 512pixels you will find all standard backgrounds from Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah and 10.1 Puma. However, these are not pixelated screenshots of old systems, but 5K and 6K versions that look great even on the very latest high-resolution displays. Up to High Sierra there is only one image each, from Mojave onwards there is one image for the light mode and one for the dark mode. Away macOS 11 BigSur there are four images, since the transition to the new systems with photos and digitally designed graphics was heralded there. You can find the Mac wallpaper collection by 512pixels with this link.

OS X Mountain Lion manuals and guides

Unfortunately, we don't have that many instructions, guides and help for older systems in stock here in the blog. For more modern Mac systems, however, you will find a whole lot of troubleshooting, tips and tricks. If you want to find out everything about retro systems and try them out down to the smallest detail, then Amazon, for example, has the right offers. You can still buy a few manuals there.

My tips & tricks about technology & Apple

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The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.