5 Annoying Things About Mac OS X Lion and How To Fix Them

So you’re running Mac OS X Lion…

Let me start by saying that among the 250+ new features added in Lion, there are some really useful ones. Some of my favorites include:

  • Accessible from App Store – The fact that the upgrade itself is accessible from the App Store is extremely convenient. Granted, you could argue that Lion is little more than the equivalent of a Windows Service Pack, which are free and automatically delivered.
  • Face Time – Face Time is no longer beta as it was with Snow Leopard and is fully integrated into Lion.
  • Document locking – This grants you the ability to lock documents to prevent unwanted modifications. Not groundbreaking (see ‘read-only’), but the stuff Lion does behind the scenes, like automatically locking old documents, is pretty nice.
  • Full disk encryption – No more is only your Home path safe. As of Lion, FileVault has been totally revamped and your entire disk will now be encrypted.
  • Full screen apps
  • Resize windows from any edge

In addition to these nicer features, Lion did some really annoying stuff to user interaction and the user interface. I’m all for change for the better, but most of these fall under the category of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Fortunately, there’s ways to get back the settings you expect. Here’s 5 I specifically ran into.

Unhide ~/Library

For whatever reason, Apple decided to hide your ~/Library path. This is a real pain the ass if you find yourself in there a lot. For example, Appcelerator installs its SDK and other files in ~/Library/Application Support/Titanium. I’m constantly tinkering in that directory and it would be nice to see it in Finder.

Execute this line in Terminal and you’ll have your Library visible once again. USERNAME is your username:

chflags nohidden /users/USERNAME/Library

Disable “Natural” scrolling

Lion has included “natural” scrolling. I use quotations around “natural” because it feels anything other than natural for the average user. The content you are scrolling will now move in the direction you scroll, which is essentially the opposite of how it has always worked.

I have no problem with this functionality. What I do take issue with is that this was made the default behavior. To set scrolling back to the way most of us expect it, open System Settings, go to Trackpad/Mouse, and in the Scroll/Zoom tab uncheck “Scroll direction: natural”.


Fix 3 finger horizontal swipe navigation

The trackpad gesture I use more than any other is navigation using 3 finger swipes. I don’t even remember the last time I manually pressed the back button in a browser. No wait, yes I do. It was when I got my MacBook Air and it had Lion on it.

Turns out Apple mapped 2 finger horizontal swipes to its “Swipe between pages” functionality by default. Unfortunately, unless you switch this value to use 3 finger horizontal swipes, it won’t work for browser navigation. Check out the image below to see how:

Get Rid of LaunchPad

If I wanted what is effectively a “Show Desktop” button combined with an applications list, I’d use Windows. Just remove that thing from your Dock and be done with it.

Do yourself a favor. If you really want an effective way to find and run apps, check out Alfred or Quicksilver. You can thank me later.

Get a Fresh Restart

I don’t know about you, but I reboot my Mac really infrequently. When I do, though, it’s generally because I want a clean slate. I want all my apps closed and everything to go back to a fresh state. Lion disagrees with me.

By default Lion will remember every app you had open and make sure everything is just as you left it when you restarted your computer. For those of you who would also like a fresh restart, open System Settings and go to General. In there you just need to uncheck the “Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps” checkbox.

2 Responses to “5 Annoying Things About Mac OS X Lion and How To Fix Them”

  1. Sarah says:

    I see that you are using the BlueBubble theme and posted a comment stating that you “wrote a quick hack to allow you to page (older/newer entries) your portfolio when its set up as your home page.” I was wondering if you could share this with me, as my Older Entries link isn’t showing my older entries and its a pretty important problem. Thanks!

  2. Dave says:

    Oh cool. That last tip is awesome. I always wondered why my stat menu told me lion was hogging so much memory after reboot. Whew!