7 useful features Apple removed from Mac OS X 10.7 Lion (and how to get some of them back)

“Apple launched Mac OS X Lion on the Mac App Store in July this year to much fanfare, announcing that it had over 250 new features,” Aayush Arya writes for TNW. “Some of those features—like the new version of Mail, Multi-touch gestures, systemwide autosave, versions, and resume—were almost universally loved, while others like Launchpad, natural scrolling, and Mission Control were more controversial.”

“What people seem to have missed in all the hoopla surrounding the launch of the latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system, however, are some of the useful features that the company decided to remove when going from Snow Leopard to Lion,” Arya writes. “ll the great features that Lion does have make it a much better OS overall than its predecessor, but you may feel a twinge of nostalgia every time you try to use one of the features mentioned below and find them missing.”

• Erase and Install
• Save As
• Three-Finger Swipe Gesture
• Syncing of System Preferences with MobileMe
• Front Row
• iPhoto Integration with Time Machine
• Safari’s Reliability (Safari now drops open webpages from memory if its starts running low)

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Completely sucky “feature”and, yes, incredibly frustrating. I’m one one the crazies who has multiple windows and tabs open all
      The time. Because I can. Forced reloading is just stoopit.

    2. I wonder what triggers this. I have a list of 63 websites in a bookmark folder that I open in tabs every night. Safari’s never dropped one for me. Could it be a system ram thing?

  1. From the article:

    “Where previously you could make all the changes you wanted to a document and then save it as a different version, you now have to decide in advance whether you’ll want the changes you are making to be permanent or save them to a different file. Alternatively, you can duplicate the document after having made the changes and then restore the original one to the state you last saved it in.

    Neither of those processes are as convenient as what the Save As command allowed, however, and it would make a lot of sense to have a command in Mac OS X that allows you to save files under a different name while returning the original one to its last-saved state. A Duplicate and Revert command would work perfectly, I reckon.”


    When composing a document Auto Save now saves all your mistakes too. So imagine writing a 3, 7, or 15 page document. As you are composing it, it is saving it every seven seconds or so with any new changes. You miss a few changes, or corrections as you go, make others and then you are ready to publish it…but the final document has errors in it and you are now forced to go back through various versions to find the paragraphs you deleted, the phrase you now realize you want to use, the quote you had right the first time…going back through all your versions to find the exact spot where what you want to retrieve is located. It’s time consuming in ONE document. Now you have 20 versions or more to comb through. Ridiculous.

    1. I’ve often said that Apple adopts the policy of saving morons from themselves while removing features for power users. The question I’d like to put to Apple is do you want more morons to join your user base or people with real skill sets? Autosave was made by morons for morons.

      1. Well, when you’re so comfortable labeling others, I’ll say, you sound just what you’re describing.

        Autosave didn’t take ANY functionality away. You can still get everything you need from it just like you could before. For those still stuck in the 20th century mindset, you can always do the duplicate-and-revert song-and-dance. Then you’ll have your older version, as well as your newer version.

        Not to mention that the Time Machine interface is so intuitive, fast and simple that it is infinitely easier to find the version one needs using this than going through individual files representing different saved versions.

        Some people just need to forget about GUI and go back to using DOS. After all, real men don’t bother with mice; they use command prompt…

        1. How is GUI vs. DOS relevant to this argument? You want versions? Do it through Time Machine. I like my documents just the way they are. Besides if you’re smart enough to notice in Snow Leopard, documents in an unsaved state have a little black dot on the red stop light. So by looking at that you’d know if your document was saved or not. Are you in favor of being lobotomized because every critical decision is removed from your control?

          1. Would you also like to have the system no longer prompt you to save upon closing a document if you haven’t saved? I mean, you don’t want to be lobotomized, right?

            Come on, we don’t need no damn hand holding!

        2. @predrag,
          It did take away or rather REPLACED functionality with a different way. It means that you must decide in advance what you want to do. In Preview for example in my daily routine I must purpose photographs for use in three modes…1. In full print resolution 2. In web resolution (under 2 megs) 3. In a cropped size for the web.

          So…I get a photo in or take one…I export it from Aperture as Photo 1 Print. Previously I could make changes to the file by resizing it for the web and then do SAVE AS (Photo 1 Web) then crop it and SAVE AS (Photo 1 web-crop) again.

          NOW I must DUPLICATE it IN ADVANCE twice. Make changes on the 1st copy, then Save…then go to the 2nd copy resize IT too…and then save it. It’s added two steps to the process by first forcing me to to duplicate it and then forcing me to make the same changes I made to the 1st copy to the 2nd copy. Alternatively I can go look in my Version History and pull one out and modify it but that’s yet another step.

          Bear in mind this functionality is solely found in Preview and Text Edit. Using Photoshop or Illustrator or a content management system or other software (pixelmator and others) means the processes used there for simple file saving and management are now different for a text file or an image file in the OS X based software.

          As I mentioned previously in a long document in Text Edit (which I must use since Word was disabled by Lion), means going back through various versions of the document, not just doing a simple search within ONE document. Now it’s a physical search to find one sentence or a quote or a phrase.

          Yes, I’ve experienced losing documents because I did not save them in time before some snafu…but it’s pretty rare. The problem here is that it’s a forced change that is a stronger solution than the problem calls for. It’s also introduced into a mixed functionality environment. I can live with it but it’s absolutely annoying when you realize you forgot to Duplicate and you are forced to go look back through the version history to find what you used to just have at the ready.

          1. I really don’t see the problem. You start with the original photo, edit it as needed to get your full print resolution format, continue editing to get your smaller web version, continue editing to get your cropped web version. At this point all of these are saved. Go and browse all your versions, find the one you need, select it and copy it then paste it into a new document.

            1. Ahhh…I see your confusion now…you think this is about cutting and pasting. It’s about file NAMING and storage.
              When you start with one file (a screen shot, a jpg, tiff or whatever) it has a name…. A content management system uses file names through a File system to upload the file. But simply making a subtle change or even a major one (like size), gets recorded and saved. In the case of a big file the system stops while it saves the file. Try working on a one hundred meg file (yes Virginia…people do work on large files). The universality of the application of Save As forces a mixed work flow between software types and means that as you look at an image you must constantly be aware of which application you are viewing it in…checking to be sure that anything you do isn’t being auto-saved. It’s annoying, not impossible. It’s not an unwillingness to learn a new way, or willful ignorance. It’s just that for some people, me included, this functionality doesn’t work as well and it’s FORCED.
              Exporting three versions from Aperture is not as simple or easy as the previous method since the decision as to WHERE and WHAT to save was in the MIDDLE of the process, suspended until it was SAVED AS..not pre-empted, and delayed by a system who action or interval cannot be controlled.

              BTW when you Duplicate? It doesn’t automatically save it where the file came from so they are in the same place when you need to apply them…it chooses a DIFFERENT place meaning yet ANOTHER issue.
              It’s RIDICULOUS.

          2. If you are using Aperture in the first place, the best and easiest method is to export 3 versions, one for each resolution and size you need directly from Aperature. You can easily create custom export presets for each. When you export, choose custom name and name it as you need. Easy peasy.

    2. I don’t understand; how is this worse than before, where the ONLY two versions of your document would be the one you originally had when you opened the file and the current, unsaved state, and NOTHING in between? How would you find ANY of the edits you made and then reversed along the way, if you wanted to change your mind again??

      1. Apparently, these folks just saved 100’s of different copies of their files (via “Save As”) with names like mydoc1.pages, mydoc20.pages, mydoc79.pages, etc. and that was their version control.

        Yeah, THAT’S efficient.

        1. It’s efficient because they’ve formed a mental mind map that gives them immediate access to specific locations where the file is saved rather than have to scroll back through versions. Besides to find file Pages.100, it’s only a question of locating it within a nested list sorted in alphabetical order and/or folder order rather than having to scroll through Pages.1 a hundred times until the right version is found.

          1. Well, what works for you is probably not indicative of what works for the majority of people out there. I’m sure the average user prefers not having to worry about saving, nor which numbered file has what changes in it.

            Of course, options are always good, and I agree that Apple should have provided one (put autosave on by default, but allow people to change it and disable it if they wish).

    3. 100% correct. This could only have been conceived by people who’ve never done any real work in their lives. My wife, at any one time, is writing a Phd thesis, multiple papers, proposals, reviews, putting together pilots, presentations and video edits using indesign, photoshop, word, endnote, pages, final cut, keynote. She has multiple references, drafts, p;hotos, film clips, web pages etc open. Automatic save would be a total disaster. Unworkable and stupidly contemptuous of actual users needs.

    4. I find it surprising that iCloud has not been mentioned in this whole argument on Save As. I suspect some of this change of approach is strongly influenced by the way iCloud will only update changes to your documents, and that some of this stuff will make more sense when editing over several devices. Just a thought!

  2. Forgot to add.

    Spaces *Setting up spaces and rearranging windows between displays doesn’t work anymore
    Spotlight: Doesn’t show file locations anymore
    Fullscreen: Doesn’t work in secondary monitor. *Except for a few programs. VLC, Silverlight, Instant preview

  3. This is the first take on Lion and its feature set.
    I can see things getting tweaked after getting more feedback from people.
    I have not written too many docs and had not noticed the lack of the “Save As” function. You are using Pages? Of course some other program will not have taken it out.

    1. Duplicate works pretty much the same as Save As. When you Save As, before you do anything else, you have to save the document and give it a name. The original document is closed. If you want to go back to the original document, you have to open it up manually.

      When you Duplicate, you get both the old and the new document open at the same time. You can edit the Duplicate document right away, and give it a name and save it at your leisure. If you close the application without naming it or saving it, it will come back. Nothing is lost.

      There’s a different, and to my mind, more convenient and more sensible workflow, but it accomplishes the same thing.

  4. What am I missing here. Is everyone telling me that each time they opened a document, they saved it as something else first? I work at a university and see a ton of papers being written, yet I’ve never seen anybody do that. And, if one is a responsible writer, they save frequently. So, it seems to me that the ability to go back and see all changes/versions of a document in Lion is outstanding. I know it will be great for the students who constantly forget to save changes and complain about it when they close the document. I think people are having flashbacks because the logic behind the “no Save As…” complaint sis just trippy and confusing. Besides, even if you always did initially open a document and Save As… something else, then how is Duplicate any different?

    I guess I’ve found it nothing but useful and cannot seem to wrap my head around the complaints. So, can someone with more of a nietzschean mind rather than a merry prankster mind explin the issue? Because to me and others I know, the complaints sound like they are coming from people unable to accept change and break habits or are just complaints made for the sake of complaining.

    1. I use save as all the time. I make a file then use the file for something else, ending up with two files. I guess like a template.

      I’m not using lion yet and can’t figure out the difference it will make to my work flow from what people say about save as.
      I can’t imagine it is much extra effort with the new way of doing it, though duplicate and revert sounds perfect…

    2. I also use Save As all the time. I have dozens of documents which are modified to the current need. I supposeni could set all of them up as templates, but that’s a time consuming and really unnecessary step.

      I also currently copy filesni am going to make changes for a client, and thus have version 1, 2, etc. The new versions feature will be useful, but I often néed to have a set version which was sent to a client for review or with changes made.

  5. Personally love Lion, but does anyone else miss SMB (samba) share functionality? I had a homebrewed Wii streaming my movies/music from the iMac upstairs straight to the TV using that -til the Lion update removed SMB capabilities.

    1. I replied to this but the reply never appeared. SMB is open source software. The license changed, and a side effect of that change is that Apple can’t use it any more. Apple has engineered a replacement for SMB, which works much better on Windows networks.

  6. It’s the Alias thing that is bugging me the most (and the Save As but not quite as much). I store all my folders deep down on the hard drive and create aliases of the folders to protect them from inadvertent trashing but any time I try to remove docs from them to place on my desktop and file some other place they revert to aliases while the original doc stays in the folder. The only way I’ve found round this and it’s a nutty solution is to send them to the trash and then pull them out from there and then file some other place. An accident waiting to happen, I think so. but any better suggestions would be welcome?

  7. I used Lion (on a seeks machine which was quite old, don’t have the specs but it was the thick, white, plastic iMac) and I found Lion to be overall VERY snappy and responsive, a lot faster than what I’m used to from Snow Leopard. And that’s on an older machine! Natural scrolling was pretty easy getting used to… It’s ‘natural’!

    The one feature I missed, is seeing the item count at the bottom of finder windows to know how many files in a particular folder. Anyone know how to get that back?

    1. If you read the comments they provide ample examples of real world problems with no Save As command. It’s certainly possible to learn to use this new system. And attacking those who don’t like it or for whom it is not a practical solution is a childish response. The issue really is personal functionality. Elsewhere in this thread, the point was made that you simply adapt to changes Apple has made and move on. But that too is a specious argument. When something is clearly not as useful a workflow process or impedes your work, regardless of any adaptation you might make, that’s not a good solution. Read those comments. User after user providing examples of how their work is now less efficient or made more difficult by this change. Just as in Final Cut X if you’ve read some of those forums you’ll find that the attention paid to the professional users has been SCANT at best. Understandable from a wide system point of view but I hasten to point out that through the dark days of Apple it was the pro users who kept it afloat, not the general public. Apple simply needs to offer a previous version of the tools that will run under Lion as they have with Final Cut or Quicktime. That would put these questions to rest, keep a large number of people happy, and allow those for whom Mission Control and Launch Pad and swiping around on your desktop are all part of the fun(!) to enjoy combing through multiple page documents in an outer space screen!

      BTW….has anyone here actually tried to use an iPad with a Content Management System that requires a FILE SYSTEM to function properly? Or used one through Log Me In Ignition or Splashtop to access a desktop machine? To call it laughable and barely usable is not enough. There are limits to the value of continuous innovation when a system cannot be actually improved upon, only changed.

      As a culture however we seem possessed by the idea that anything, everything can always be made better, improved upon, reimagined, remade, re-invented, and reintroduced.
      That’s simply NOT true in the case of all things. There are things that when changed are not made better. They are just made different.

  8. Erase and install? Making a bootable USB drive is tough? Is it that hard to download and install the Recovery Disk Assistant that Apple released for this purpose?


    Also, “Three Finger Swipe Gesture” Maybe I was doing it wrong in Snow Leopard, but I use 2 fingers to swipe back through my history in Safari. I still do know in Lion. And my fingers are not fat at all.

  9. There’s a joke about how many Virginians it takes to change a light bulb: three. One to mix the martinis, one to call the electrician, and one to talk about how good the old one was. It also takes three Mac fanboys to update the OS. One to install without preparation, one to blame the resulting glitches on Apple, and one to talk about how good the old one was.

    They are amazing people. After three hours with the UI they get smarter than Apple. They all talk about how to regress the new version to work exactly like the previous one. They only go back one version. I haven’t seen any articles about making Lion behave like Panther. At least not yet. The get help from writers who are under deadline pressure but can’t think of anything, so they write articles about regressing OS X.

    The best way to “fix” Lion so that it works exactly like Snow Leopard is to reinstall Snow Leopard.

    When Apple comes out with OS X 10.8 Puddy Tat, or whatever it’s going to be called, all these people will be writing articles on how to make Puddy Tat behave as if it were Lion. I’m yawning in advance. Guys, take a nap!

    1. Finally someone with common sense.
      Where some move forward others like to live in the past.
      When the iPod was launched people complainted about the click wheel and they went back to their cassette players.

      You can do exactly that with Lion as suggested. Deal with it people.

    2. I’d love to have stayed with Snow Leopard, but unfortunately some people are releasing software that only runs on Lion. That’s really Lion’s only compelling feature, the version number.

      I also have no issue with change, but some changes are change for their own sake, others are misguided. There’s been a good deal of both in each iteration of OS X. I’d accuse Microsoft of doing the same.

      Much of the way the iPhone and iPad work are such because they are crippled devices, less than a desktop. They can never be the equal of a desktop system, and there’s no good reason to try to reduce a desktop OS to their level.

      If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  10. I must confess that I also had problems and quite a lot of frustration with the new features and the changes in Lion, but I operate under the rule that I learn it before I change it. As a result, I’ve have many “aha” moments and I haven’t had to change a single thing.

    1. What is your point exactly? We expect every new release to introduce better ways of doing things, not make backward leaps to dumb down the interface or introduce unneeded elements so the OS can be seen to draw inspiration from an OS that is designed for tablets. That’s not progression, that’s regression. One would expect Lion to add functionality not take away essential bits to be replaced by bits that don’t introduce efficiencies in time or effort in performing the same task. There’s no forward movement, but change is being made so that convergence between two disparate OSes can be seen to be made. I question Apple’s motive for dumbing down the interface, for introducing autosave as if folder management is not a priority. These are ideas borrowed from iOS which do not translate well into a full fledged desktop environment.

      1. My point exactly is this: every release does introduce better ways of doing things, but a lot of people don’t take the time to learn the new features, they expect everything to be the same as in OS 7, and that creates the illusion that Apple is going backwards. I gave Lion a chance. Now I like the fact that with Lion-compliant applications, I don’t need to save documents, that Versions is finer-grained that AutoSave, that Duplicate is better than Save As, and that if I forget to give a document a name and save it, it’s still here. Each of those features has rescued me at least once. I don’t have to quit applications and that I don’t have to care whether I am switching to a program or restarting it. IF I JUST LET LION BE LION. I like the fact that scrolling moves the contents of the window instead of the scrollbar, but if that’s too disconcerting, I have a system preference that will let the window contents move down when I scroll up, like it used to, but I learned the new way and i don’t want to go back. I didn’t like Mission Control until I got the hang of it. Now that I have learned Lion, I don’t want to change it.

        People customize the OS without learning it first. They clutter up the OS with all sorts of third-party software to make their OS completely idiosyncratic, and then they can’t understand why installing an upgrade causes so many glitches.

        When I first got a Mac, I tried to customize the Panther to death, because that’s a necessity with Windows. Then I realized that I was just booby-trapping myself, Now I learn the UI instead of raping it. The UI quickly makes sense. Apple is very good at designing things, including the UI, if I spend a little time with it. I have had very few of the problems I have read about, and OS upgrades always work. I never have to spend hours and hours on erase and install or on repartitioning and starting from scratch. Panther to Tiger to Leopard to Snow Leopard to Lion all just worked fine.

        If you going to use a Mac, use a Mac. If you way to design your own UI, get Windows. You only improve it, and unlike OS X, it really needs to be improved. And you can’t break Windows’ upgrade and install process any more than it already is.

        1. Have to disagree, both on Windows needing customisation and Apple being inerrant in their design choices. Assuming or trying to pretend that Apple doesn’t make some horrible UI choices is just silly. Windows and OS X each have their own flaws.

          The scrolling direction thing is a classic example of there being no universally correct behaviour. There’s reason the one makes sense on an iPhone and the other makes sense on a desktop.

  11. Like it or not, Apple is dumbing down the interface. Witness the move away from file paths. This stuff will be hidden in future. Most users don’t know where their preference files are stored or how to locate the QuickTime codecs on their machine.

    I’m worried that they seem to have made a choice of lowest common denominator computing. ie. cater to halfwits who don’t bother to learn anything. where does that leave people who actually know what they are doing? Why do we have to suffer?

    1. Most users don’t need to know where their preferences files are stored. Knowledgeable users can get to the Library folder by holding Option down with the Go menu in Finder.

      Microsoft had this bright idea called “Libraries,” which are places to put documents in Windows 7. Switchers might think they should save their files in the Library folder on the Mac, which would cause confusion, unhappy customers, and long lines at the genius bar. Apple obscured the folder from the people who would be confused and left it easily accessible to people who know what they are doing.

    2. Like it or not, whether or not you opine that Apple is dumbing down the interface, it’s done. So, unless you can get through the doors at 1 Infinite Loop, locate all the designers and programmers and convince them that your idea is superior to theirs you have these options:

      1) Revert back to or continue to use Snow Leopard.

      2) Upgrade to Lion then alter the OS by making it behave like Snow Leopard or earlier by adjustments or third party apps.

      3) Abandon Mac OS and Apple Inc for their efforts to “dumb down power users” and use Linux… or Windows.

      4) Learn the new (Lion) OS.

      It’s early yet. Some of those features may come back. If they don’t you’re stuck with the list above.
      I remember back when I heard some of the same arguements against GUIs in favor of the command line, “…power users, people are lazy, need to learn the system” etc. Most of the people who made those arguements back then very rarely use the command line today.

  12. Bring back the Aqua style round buttons to Lion! These buttons were unique to the Mac. Now my Mac OS looks more like MS Windows, now that the round buttons are gone and replaced with rectangular buttons (like the buttons for OK, Cancel, Print, etc.).

    1. Windows icons are from an alternate universe where folders held vertically don’t spill out their contents and such, and it is hard to tell what the icon is supposed to be a picture of. They are too heavily stylized.

      The lack of color is a good thing in two regards. 1) If a person is editing a photo or a movie or laying out a brochure, UI colors be distracting. 2) It makes the operating system look more professional. That’s a big help in selling to business.

    2. I agree removing those round buttons shows Apple makes stupid design choices.

      While grey icons might make sense in some applications, and that’s a big maybe, they make zero sense in something like Finder. Now we have nearly indistinguishable icons where before we had ones that we could instantly recognise by a combination of shape and colour, but the colour was the critical component (at least for anyone who isn’t colourblind). You’d think Apple with all their supposed design experience and knowledge would know this about human perception.

      Claims that this change makes it look more professional are simply laughable. Sorry Apple we’re not buying products because they’re not grey enough. Yeah, right. Trying to talk this change up as more ‘professional’ smacks of a desperate attempt to justify a bad design choice.

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