5 things I don’t like about Lion

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Mac OS X Lion has been around long enough to bring to light some quirks that aren’t exactly endearing. None are deal-breakers, in my opinion, so I won’t be going back to Snow Leopard anytime soon, but here are five things I really wish were different about OS X 10.7.

  1. Dashboard as a Space. Dashboard is one of the most useless additions ever made to OS X in my opinion, and Apple didn’t make it any better by now making it a mandatory Space all its own. Swiping left from your primary desktop could do so many useful things (activate a better full-screen Spotlight search interface, for instance), but instead it presents you with a bunch of widgets that do things Menu bar apps can handle, but with far less efficiency.
  2. No simple clean install option. Every six months or so, I like to completely wipe and reinstall OS X on my Macs. It’s great that Apple is doing away with physical media in many ways, but it’s also aggravating that there really isn’t an easy way to do a complete erase and reinstall of OS X. At least there are workaround options, like reinstalling from Apple’s servers or formatting a bootable Lion flash drive, but both require extra steps.
  3. Managing Launchpad. Launchpad in Lion suffers from some of the same usability issues that home screens in iOS used to have. Specifically, it’s quite a chore to reorganize apps and folders in Launchpad. Just give us a utility that lets users make the same kind of macro-level changes you can make in iTunes and this problem goes away.
  4. Multi-touch quirks. Apple introduced new multi-touch gestures in OS X Lion, which means a lot of the gestures third-party apps were using for basic navigation are now broken, like back and forward in Chrome. Also, I’ve had more trouble using gestures like two-finger back and forward in Safari than I ever had in Snow Leopard, because the gestures appear to be more sensitive.  I love swiping between full-screen apps, but why isn’t that a four-finger action by default, leaving three-finger gestures to manage back/forward actions system-wide (especially in Finder)?
  5. App window restore everywhere. Restore and Resume features are useful in OS X — in some applications. In others, like Preview, they tend to be more annoying than helpful. I would have liked to see some more judicious decision-making about which native apps got window restore features and which didn’t, or at least a central Preference pane where you can manually pick and choose which apps make use of the behavior.

These are my gripes so far with Lion, but in another article to come shortly, I’ll talk about the things that keep me using Apple’s latest OS, despite these problems. What are your top five (or any number, really) problems with the king of the operating system jungle?

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