I hate Mac OS X Lion. Here’s why.

Okay, I’m just going to say it. I hate Lion, Apple’s latest operating system for the Mac. Yesterday, I completely erased my hard disk and reinstalled Lion’s predecessor, Snow Leopard.

I hate Lion so bad that I wish it were still shipped in a box so I could punch it right in its grinning, cardboardy box. And I’m not the only one.

CUPERTINO, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Apple CEO Steve J...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

When I said on Twitter that I thought Lion was Apple’s version of Windows Vista (a much-maligned OS by Microsoft), I got tweets and DMs back that bordered on hate mail. “How could you possibly hate Lion?!?!” one said.

So, I’ll tell you.

  1. Versions never worked. Ever. There was never a pull-down menu in the title bar like all those pretty screenshots.
  2. They took away Save As… as a menu item. They took away Save As! This meant you either had to guess where
  3. Resume: I thought I’d liked being able to just quit an application without any prompts and have launch next time with the documents you had on the screen, it actually turned out to be a pain in the ass. Preview, especially. If you had a number of PDFs, you’d need to manually close each file or else it would show up as an open document.
  4. Elastics: Like Apple’s iOS for iPhones and iPads, when you scroll beyond the boundary of a page, Lion would give you an elastic “snap.” It’s a minor point, but when I get to the end of a document, I want it to end. Not jump around.
  5. Scrollbars: They took scrollbars away! Yes, I know you can turn them back on, but sometimes that just didn’t work — depending on the application, your scrollbars were gone forever. I like being able to see where, relatively, my position in a document without having to jiggle my mouse.
  6. UI Bugs Changed: For no real reason at all, they removed the “chicklet” — the long oval button in the top-right which collapsed the toolbar and sidebar on demand. They buried the functionality under a right-click, then a second click. Why? No real reason. Just to change things. On the other side of the window, those Red/Orange/Green buttons on the top-left shrunk, making them a little harder to click. Again, for no real good reason. I predict they’ll be entirely gone in the next OS.
  7. Multitouch was too multi-touchy! If my little finger so much as barely touched my magic mouse, my entire desktop would get swept off the screen, revealing the Dashboard. Then, just a quickly, it would come back. <sigh>
  8. Full-Screen: The new full-screen mode of apps is pointless. You were always able to make an an app full-screen if you wanted. In fact, going full screen with Quicktime took twice as long because it, too, swept your desktop out of the way. A little overboard on the UI.
  9. Launchpad. Why would you bring a menuing system that was designed for a finger-operated, small-screened device to a full desktop OS? It was harder to use and any apps you picked up from the App Store would tantalizingly drop there then disappear just as quickly. Why not just drop them in the Dock like before?
  10. Sluggishness. Things are just slower. Try opening TextEdit, then trying to save it. It’ll take a few seconds for Lion to even drag its sorry ass together to show you the Save dialog box. On Snow Leopard, it’s nearly instantaneous. The overall sluggishness means that Lion also gets caught up on itself. There were so many times I would type before a window was ready and it would empty that buffer with characters completely out of order. On Snow Leopard when you were typing into the buffer, it least it emptied out properly.
There were some things I did like:
  1. Being able to have the Mac restore all your windows in the same place they were in when you shut down is a nice touch.
  2. I liked that you could change the size of a window from any corner. Seriously, that should have been in the first version of Mac OS X.
I know there are tweaks, but I don’t want a flawed operating system that I have to “patch up” with little TSRs and applets. Hell, I left Windows for that version reason.
  • Bob Haberkost

    Gee, Tod, while I’m not a member of the Church of Apple, I’m stunned that Apple could get it so wrong. And yet, because I’m not a member of the Church of Apple, it doesn’t surprise me, either…Apple, with or without Steve Jobs, is as guilty as Microsoft for pushing on us users their next “grand idea”, but at least with Vista the UI resembled what came before, and after for that matter.

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  • http://shihtzustaff.wordpress.com/ Chris Thomas

    Tod – Do you think if it was possible to do a clean install of Lion it might be better? I just remember from my Windows days that it was always better to install a clean copy of the OS rather than an upgrade. Do you think that might make a difference? I am finding some frustrations with Lion and some things I don’t like as well. It seems to run fine on my MBP but I am having problems on my brand new Mac Pro. I migrated everything over from my iMac. Food for thought. I may be doing the same thing as well. It’s too bad we can’t ask Derek.

  • Sherry Sakamoto

    Thanks for this info. I don’t tend to upgrade unless I need to. Running Leopard and like it. Even having Leopard and a newer Microsoft Office, I find my Word docs are often not compatible with what everyone else is using. Everybody’s versions are all over the place. I can’t imagine how crazy i would feel if i ran into all the issues you shared with us. As long s I can pump out my FCPro projects effectively and efficiently, I’m happy. I’m try to keep it simple so I don’t have to go through an “I hate technology!” rant. :-)

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  • Mattie

    I could not agree more. It sucks. I T S U C KS ! Did I say suck? IT SUCKS!

  • http://robertdall.com Robert Dall

    Todd, I couldn’t agree more… Lion has some serious issues… 

    Unfortunately my new Mac came with Lion so I am going to stick with it and hopefully they will improve on it. I know I could just re-image the entire machine. But for now I am going to use it.

  • Jamie B

    I hate it too! My applications are running slower than ever and I HATE RESUME! Preview won’t even let me close out the open windows that are hidden in the background. I was SOOOO excited about Lion, but I’ve been thoroughly disappointed. I expect more from Apple.

  • Ken

    It is bad…so sad. I feel guilty for steering my un-suspecting Uncle to a new MacBook Pro (Lion installed unfortuntely). He is dying a slow death and unbelievably, missing his Windows laptop / boat anchor.

    Apple really? Really?

  • George from Tulsa

    Thanks for your comprehensive list of Lion Loathsomeness.

    Unfortunately, my new gen MacBook Air won’t let me retrograde.

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  • Eddie

    Thank you. I hate OS X Lion too and thought I was crazy, stupid and alone. Thank you.

    Does Apple know that?

    You know what I think? Microsoft put a spy into the Apple OS X team and poisoned the system. And Steve didn’t see it coming because he was too busy with something else.

    Again, thank you.

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  • PT

    Who was this OS designed for — teenagers creating scrapbooks and social networking content? This is strictly a work tool for me, and I’ve always enjoyed the ease and elegance of working on a Mac. But Lion has too many annoyances to count, including those that don’t confound functionality, but are just insultingly cute — like the faux leather on the iCal and Address Book interfaces (got rid of those, ha!, thanks to Lion Tweaks). And that hateful animated Mail icon — like having a small child pulling at your sleeve while you’re trying to work. The thing about a mail box is that we know what it’s for, and empty it when we want to — I hate the distraction of being nagged by my mail program while trying to meet a design deadline. This OS is an epic disaster..

  • Ana

    I really really hate lion. I can’t use CorelDraw, many 2011 Word, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator…all of my Adobe stuff. I just want to cry. Is this where Mac is headed because Steve would have been all over this

  • Angry Lion Hater

    Think Different my ass…

  • Fulltone272

    i concur…should call it mac os mobile me.

  • Devcon66

    I hate mac osx lion so much. I agree on everything you said except that elastics is a minor point, it’s huge, wtf is up with that? Hopefully pc producers can make nice ultrabooks and I’ll just install Linux on one. I also upgraded to Snow Leopard again lol. Mac osx is a disaster, laughable.

  • Mike

    I’m done with Apple. Lion was the last straw. I will glady pick up with Windows 7 x64 on a well built PC. On the phone for 2 hours with Apple Care and it is obvious, this is a viral type of problem. Lion should have NEVER been released as it is horrendously buggy. I am Mr. Apple, or was, but it is so obvious, that Apple Computer no longer exists. Apple is a consumer electronics company and if you want to stay behind the technology curve, buy a Mac Pro, or Mac Book or Lion or upgrade any of the former Mac Pro’s and you will be writing comments like me. My system lost Safari, iTunes and when you try and make these apps work, it is time out city. And Apple says going back to Snow Leopard might not be possible due to FIRMWARE changes that is made by LION. So upgrade and you are SCREWED.