When a new operating system is released you question yourself. Do I really need an upgrade? How easy is it? Do I dive in or wait for the mass participation to die down? Do I research blogs to find the good, bad and ugly, will it put me off? I guess the answer is all of them. Here is my experience with my recent Yosemite upgrade on my 2-year-old Mac.
Preparing is key
I’m don’t necessarily suffer from OCD but having gone through the process of losing data many years ago. I have always been an advocate of backing things up especially after my friend once had to pay over £600 to resurrect her personal photos after her hard drive failed. These days there are so many inexpensive and easy ways to backup your data there is no excuse for not doing it. When I lost my data all those years ago I didn’t have any external drive or network drive (was too expensive), services like Dropbox didn’t exist and your options were limited to backing up to CD’s, DVD’s or if you were fortunate enough to have a secondary hard drive. Luckily the data I lost was minimal as I did frequent backups.
Key preparation is identifying what is important to you. It could be software you use daily, important files, collection of graphics or ebooks that you can’t live without. My key items were Ampps (Web Development Server Software), Mail and being able to connect to my MyBookLive (NAS). These important key items are always backed up manually by exporting all of my emails from Apple Mail in .mbox format and copying the entire Ampps Folder in Applications then pasting them into my personal folder on my NAS. If I couldn’t access my Time Machine Backup after upgrade I know I have these files available to work with. After backing up manually I did a full Time Machine backup.
I kept an eye on Yosemite development since it was made public, I opted out for testing as my Mac is my primary computer, although my PC with Linux Mint is a very close 2nd, I certainly didn’t want unnecessary risk of vital apps not working. I was happy to read plenty of articles, both positive and negative on the new features or any reported problems. The positives outweighed the negatives for me. I enjoy looking at screenshots but I never judged the book by its cover. For me it’s the stuff that it’s built on and not the aesthetics. The real test is when it’s installed!
After my last upgrade (Mountain Lion -> Mavericks) I decided to start afresh and install Yosemite on a clean wiped hard drive. This is more time-consuming than a normal upgrade but for me after 2 years it was much-needed.
I had looked at several tutorials on the web and came across the mashable one which I decided to follow. I first downloaded Yosemite and installed DiskMaker X to create my bootable USB. On reboot I wiped my drive and started the installation which ran rather smoothly and I didn’t encounter any problems.
Installation and Restoring Data/Accounts
On reboot I really liked the look of Yosemite and it’s new polished flatter design, like I said before it’s not all about the looks it how the OS performs. The first port of call was to add all my accounts. Windows Live, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all worked flawlessly. Gmail on the other hand kept prompting me for an application specific password, despite creating one.
The 2nd attempt I tried to get access to my account through Safari, which prompted me to add the account. This was great but unfortunately the apps box appeared directly over the authentication box which required an input (Code from my mobile phone) to go ahead with no option to minimise it. I had to force quit safari.
The 3rd attempt was to try to add the account to Mail app which worked thankfully although I had continuous problems with the outgoing SMTP server which wouldn’t accept my created password, thankfully this was resolved in the 10.10.1 update shortly after.
My computer recognised that I had a NAS on my network so it was time to use the Migration Assistant to migrate some apps and data from my Time Machine Backup. Migration Assistant recognised that I had a storage device but failed to display any backups. I had to mount my Time Machine backup manually in finder to restore my apps and data.
Some of the key features that prompted me to upgrade was the closer interaction with other iOS devices (iPad/iPhone). The handoff feature which requires being on the same network and bluetooth enabled, lets you start something, like composing an email, on one device and finish it off in Yosemite and vice versa. Obviously you need handoff compatible apps but as things progress I am sure we will see more of these.
Spotlight which I rarely used in Mavericks has been beefed up, now in the center of the screen displaying far more information, previewing of files, interacting with Wikipedia and displaying map info. Apple have certainly got spotlight spot on. Will it convert people from Alfred or Quicksilver, who knows!
The best feature for Mail is now being able to send bigger attachments via iCloud automatically, similar to Dropbox and providing that you have the right amount of space available you will not have any issues with email attachments again.
Despite the few problems initially I am very happy with the performance I get from my Mac and after using Yosemite for a month now I am glad I waited a few weeks before taking the big step. After reading all the problems with WiFi that people were reporting I haven’t had any such issue.
There are risks associated with any Operating System Upgrade, researching, preparing and always having the mindset to backup and have different methods of doing the same thing can be the difference between getting things done or throwing your computer out of the window. Patience is definitely a virtue!