Seven days on from completing the installation of Yosemite I figured it was time to offer some feedback on how I’m getting on with it. There’s a million and one reviews that came out immediately after installation, so I’ve decided that whenever I do a review on new Operating Systems I’m going to give them at least a week before commenting so that I can let you know how it feels after I’ve got over the initial ‘shock’ of any changes.

Disclaimer: I’ve previously talked about whether you should upgrade to Yosemite yet (see here), and I have of course ignored my own advice (but I have taken sensible precautions should I need to revert to Mavericks at any time). I also have a page that will continue to be refreshed on whether I feel that it’s safe to upgrade to Yosemite yet (see here).


With that out of the away, let me talk first about the upgrade procedure. As has become the norm, Apple updates are done through the Mac App Store, and as you probably know Yosemite is available at no cost.

The install procedure is fairly clear, but there’s one gotcha for anyone who has more than one mac in their house/office: every time you install Yosemite in a new machine from the app store, you have to re-download a 5.1GB file (which can be a long download for many people in the UK who aren’t lucky enough to have really fast connections).There is a way to avoid this (expand for more information)
  1. When the download completes on the first machine, it will open an Install OS X where most people will hit Continue.
  2. Don’t hit continue. Instead, hit Cmd-Q or Install OS X / Quit Install OS X.
  3. At this stage you need a USB stick or hard drive (named Untitled for our purposes – you’ll need to amend the command below if your drive is called anything else – I’d suggest your just rename it in Disk Utility) . These will be formatted so use one that has nothing important on it.
  4. You’ll then need to launch Terminal (you’ll find this using Spotlight or in the Utilities folder within your Applications folder) and enter the following command (I recommend you copy and paste it!):

    sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ –nointeraction

  5. You’ll be prompted for an admin password, which you must enter for the process to work.
  6. Once complete, this will leave you with a bootable drive from which you can install Yosemite onto any machine that is capable of running it.

This procedure will create a bootable drive to take to any other (supported) Mac and enable you to install Yosemite without the huge download. The reason you have to do it before installing on your first machine is that the upgrade process will delete the original file on completion (to save you space),

The rest of the install process is really straightforward and needs no explanation from me. The whole process (once the download is complete) will take between 30 minutes and an hour, so don’t start it if you have any time constraints.

What’s good about Yosemite?

Well there’s a lot of things about the new OS that I like in all honesty.

Firstly, the appearance of OS X and iOS is definitely getting closer. Obviously it’s a difference interface (touch versus cursor), but the overall appearance in terms of icons and most of the graphical elements is almost identical between Apple’s mobile and personal computer platforms. For the average user that has to be a positive. If you’re used to looking for the Settings section by finding a cog-like image on your iPhone, you’ll know where to look on a Mac. That’s pretty much always been the same, but in iOS 8 and Yosemite the icons are (as good as) identical.

Small things like the progress bar on boot is a positive for me. Previously you had an Apple logo come up and then you wouldn’t know what was happening until you got a login prompt. Now, at least you know that the boot process is moving along. When your machine is behaving itself you don’t notice this, but when you’re diagnosing a misbehaving computer the absence of movement on a progress bar is a good indication all is not well. A small change, but for me its progress.

Another small thing -and this has bugged me with Mac OS since I first used it coming from Windows – the minimise & maximise buttons in the top left corner of each window do what you  expect. You press the green button to toggle between full screen (yep, those arrows in the right hand corner are gone), the yellow minimises the window to the dock, and the red button closes the window. This is one of those ‘at last!!!!‘ features that really shouldn’t be a big deal, but because it’s bugged me for so long, totally is.

All of the talk before the new OS was released was extensions, handoff and continuity. Well to be honest I’ve not found a huge use for extensions (I rarely use notification centre if I’m honest). But continuity is a big, big change and one I’m growing to like. If I get an email through while I’m using my phone and I start replying before realising that its going to be a fairly long one, I used to have to save it to my drafts, go to my Mac and find the draft before continuing typing. Now, I can immediately click the continuity indicator in my dock and go right to the email, as I left it on the phone, and continue typing. Again, its subtle but so, so useful. And it seems to work incredibly well (after teething troubles, more of that later though). So much so, I’m probably going to switch from using Outlook to Apple Mail so I can continue using it properly (currently very few third party applications support continuity). Having said that, I doubt I’ll switch back to Safari just yet as I much prefer to use Chrome, although time will tell if that stays the same forever. Continuity works in Maps, Mail, Safari and Messages (not quite so well, will come to that later too).

Then there’s the ability to use any of your devices to communicate via voice, iMessage and SMS. It’s awesome that I don’t need to have my phone to hand at all times with continuity. If I get a message or call I can pick them up now on my iPhone, iPad or Mac. I can also initiate them all from any of my devices. That’s to say, I can start a call using my mobile phone whilst sitting at my desk without actually touching my phone. The phone just needs to be within range of the computer (10 metres seems to be the limit for me but it depends on the quality of radio signals in your vicinity). Heaven for the lazy busy ones amongst us!

Finally, Instant Hotspot. Being with Three and having an unlimited data package I’ve always had, and used, tethering. Once you got connected it was great, but that could take several attempts. Sometimes you had to turn Personal Hotspot on and off on your phone, as well as restarting WiFi on the two devices you were connecting several times before it fired up, and that could be quite frustrating. Fortunately, with Instant Hotspot it’s so much easier. Any device nearby that’s logged into the same iCloud account can very quickly fire up tethering without touching the phone. As with many of the positive things about Yosemite I like, it’s small but significant.

What’s bad about it?

Right now Yosemite is still very young, and consequently there are a few teething problems for many people. I found I had some significant problems with it when I first installed, and from my research I’m not alone. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, there’s no significant problem affecting everybody; it’s just lots of small inconveniences that, as always, has many of the forums groaning about how ‘Apple is not the same since Steve died’. Honestly, it’s a new OS, there’s gonna be bugs and if you’re not prepared to deal with them, don’t upgrade until someone else has found them and Apple has fixed them!

The problems I experienced were pretty much all to do with handoff/continuity (and Instant Hotspot). On install I found the whole system to either not work at all, or at best to be very inconsistent. I’ve since managed to get this working really, really well but it did take a lot of experimentation (and a couple of calls to Apple to resolve an issue with my multiple Apple id’s).

I’ve made a note of what worked for me and written that in another blog post (see here)

Lastly, I do have one niggle with handoff in Messages. Occasionally I’ll start typing a reply to a message on my phone and realise it’s going to be a long reply. I’d like to be able to hand that off to my Mac (as I can with emails) and continue where I left off. At this stage, I’m not sure if this is a bug, or by design, but when I hand a message off to my Mac, it takes me to the right conversation thread, but doesn’t bring across any pre-typed text. Quite annoying!

Other than these small problems, there’s little for me to complain about. The new look did take a couple of days to get accustomed to; in particular I disliked the new look dock but this soon just became ‘normal’. I’m struggling to find anything I really dislike, or anything that has been significantly disrupted after a week of getting used to the new look.


In many respects this is really an iterative upgrade from Mavericks. But there are also some really powerful new features, and many of these will encourage people to reconsider their use of third party applications such as Chrome and Outlook so that they can make use of them. I’m certainly beginning to use Mail much more based on my findings so far. That said, I’ve not really found much use for the markup feature in Mail (where you can add notes and marks to a photo attached to a mail) as I really prefer Skitch. But I can see it as a big advantage to the home user who doesn’t feel the need for more powerful 3rd party apps.

I still feel at this stage that many people would be best advised until the next update before updating, as by then I fully expect Apple to have nailed all the niggly issues that I am seeing people writing about. Until then, if you do upgrade I’d love to hear your thoughts.