Some OS X Lion Issues & How To Fix Them

Apple’s latest big cat is a great deal for Mac owners, introducing some much needed changes, exciting features and increased eye candy too. However, like any operating system, OS X Lion has its quirks and there’s a few design choices which may irk longtime Mac OS users. Read on below for a selection of these and how to fix (or revert) them.

No Boot DVD

Apple have decided upon download-only distribution for OS X Lion, but luckily for those of us who need to upgrade multiple Mac’s on a slow network, it’s still possible to make a boot DVD. There’s a wealth of guides on how to do this all around the web – notably a great walkthrough from our own Katie Gatto here, but the basic process goes like this:

Following a complete back up of your Snow Leopard system, head over to the Mac App Store and purchase Lion but before installing, navigate to your Mac’s Applications folder and right-click on Lion’s installer.


Select “Show Package Contents” and then open the folder titled “Shared Support”. Within this folder you’ll then find an image file titled “InstallESD.dmg” – this is the Lion disc image, so copy it onto your Desktop. Next up you need to fire up Disk Utility, click on the “Burn” button and when prompted select the “InstallESD.dmg” from your Desktop and burn the DVD.

One problem that many people have run into is that in their haste to upgrade, they’ve missed the boat and have already installed Lion, thus losing their chance of making a boot DVD. However, it is still possible to make a boot DVD even if Lion is already installed. Return to the Mac App Store and option-click on “Purchases” then option-click again on “Lion” and once again on “Install”, you should now be able to re-download Lion and burn the DVD, as outlined above.

iCal & Address Book Graphics

The iOS influence in Lion has brought some great changes, such as the new and beautiful Mail app, but if like me you find Lion’s new iCal and Address Book look jarring, the folks at MacNix have come up with a great way of changing them back to something more in-keeping with Apple’s usual minimalist design principles; you may not be able to change a Leopard’s spots but you can certainly change a Lion’s skin!


MacNix have helpfully provided a standard installer so it’s a very simple process to get iCal looking as the screenshot above. Be sure to first copy the iCal and Address book application files somewhere so you can always go back if necessary.

Click here for the link and full instructions – remember to consider donating if you find them useful.

Dumbing Down Of Finder


Finder hasn’t escaped Apple’s system-wide makeover either and though it’s looking pretty sharp, many power users don’t appreciate being locked out of their Library, or unable to see how much hard drive space remains as default. Getting back Library access is achievable via a brief use of the command-line, just launch Terminal and copy and paste the following inside, then press return:

chflags nohidden ~/Library/

Showing how much hard drive space is left is even easier. Just open a new Finder window and go to “View -> Show Status Bar

Trackpad Gestures


One of Apple’s most contentious changes in OS X Lion is the complete overhaul of trackpad input. As this guide shows, most changes in Lion are easily reverted back to their former Snow Leopard state with a click of an option or a quick terminal command. But far as multitouch is concerned however, there’s no simple fix. One of the areas which has seen particularly strong opposition is Apple’s changes to trackpad scrolling, turning it upside-down and naming it ‘Natural Scrolling’. I personally found myself adjusting to this very quickly but if you want to change it, here’s how:

To revert the trackpad scrolling back to the way it has always been, just go into System Preferences -> Trackpad -> Scroll & Zoom -> Scroll Direction: Natural – and untick the box.

Besides tweaking the options within the Trackpad preferences, Better Touch Tool is an option, though it hasn’t been fully updated for Lion yet so isn’t a full solution.

App Compatibility

Developers seem to have really made a great effort to get their apps ready for Lion and, as far as OS upgrades go, the compatibility has been good overall. Still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any issues so the useful OS X Lion compatibility table that Roaring Apps have put together will enable you to look before you leap.

Bring Back Scrollbars


I prefer Lion’s new scrollbar-less browsing but it’s undoubtedly a change and some people will think it’s not one for the better. If you fall into the latter camp, just navigate to System Preferences -> General and change the “Show Scroll Bars” option to “Always”.

Organise Mission Control

As a longtime user of Spaces, I hated the way that mission control would seem to decide which Desktop to put my apps in seemingly at random. To go back to the old way of having a specific Desktop on a per-app basis, just go to System Preferences -> Mission Control and untick the option which reads “Automatically rearrange spaces based on most recent use”. You can then construct a more predictable method of arranging your Desktops.

Anything Else?

Have you found anything else which bothers you in Lion? Please let us know in the comments if you’ve got any tips of your own for making it run just the way you like it.

Adam Williams

Adam Williams is a journalist from North Wales, regularly covering music and technology for websites such as Make Tech Easier, Mac.Appstorm, iPad.Appstorm and Fluid Radio, in addition to writing weekly content for Apple Magazine. Follow him or contact him on twitter here

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