How to Find Out If Your Favorite Apps and Programs Will Work on Lion

Getting a new operating system can be an exciting thing. Sometimes it can be a bit too exciting. If you are busy thinking about all of the new gestures that you are going to get to use when you finally install OS Lion, then you may want to calm down for a while. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with the newest Apple OS (though I’m sure someone will find a flaw or two to gripe about), but just that you should curb your enthusiasm for a few moments and give consideration to some of the details.

What details? You may wonder. Well, how about your favorite programs? When an operating system gets an upgrade, your software may not be up to snuff, at least not initially, when it comes to compatibility. Before you go ahead and install that upgrade, you will want to be sure that you are going to be able to run all of your favorite (and essential) software. Skip this step at your own peril. After all, what is the worst thing that could happen?

Oh yeah. You know that copy of AdobeĀ® CS5.5 Design Standard that you bought last year? The one that cost you $1,299.95. Well, you could run the upgrade and find out that it no longer works and you are now without a whole lot of cash, and for a valuable tool. Good luck getting your work done now!


So, lets get you amply prepared with a complete search that can help you to avoid the heartbreak of incompatibility.

Step One: Make a List

This may seem a bit obvious, but some people miss it. Go to you applications folder and make a list of all of the apps you want to check for compatibility.


This is probably every non-native app in the folder. You don’t have to check the ones you don’t care if you lose or not, but be sure that anything expensive or essential get checked out before the upgrade.

Step Two: Get Thee to The Wiki

A new site has sprung up to help create a master list of Lion compatibility statuses, which is good news for you since it saves a lot of site hopping. Make your way over to and click on the big, red, “View the Compatibility Table” button.


Now you can either use the search field, or tap the button for the first letter of the apps name to see if it has a status listed. You will see an icon at the far right of the entry. A blue question mark means that there has been no solid answer. A yellow exclamation mark means that the software will survive the upgrade, but not function perfectly. A red check means that the software is not compatible. A green check means clear sailing ahead, the software is completely compatible.


Get Specific on The Yellows

If you have a yellow icon on an essential piece of software, then you will want to figure out exactly what kind of problems it has on Lion, and then you can decide if you are willing to put up with them on a case by case basis. To do that just click on the name of the app. You will be taken to a screen that gives you a description of the problem(s) that users have been experiencing with this piece of software.


There you have it. Now you can decide whither or not you want to upgrade now, or hold out for upgrades to some of your essential software.

Katie Gatto

Katie Gatto is a technology writer with seven years of experience, and a native Mac user. She has previously written for Apple related site such as Appletell and Mac Apper.

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