Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1 Update: 4 Major Issues We Hope Apple Fixes

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Mac OS X Mountain Lion has out for about three weeks now, and millions of downloads later, it looks like Apple is getting ready to release the first major maintenance update for the new platform. Apple seeded OS X 10.8.1 to developers on Friday, and it looks like the first build will solve a number of bugs, errors and other assorted issues that early adopters have complained about.

The first update for new Mac platforms typically arrives around this time: The first update for OS X Snow Leopard (two platforms ago) came 13 days after its debut, while the first update for OS X Lion (previous-gen) came 27 days after its debut. If we assume Apple is making its Mac platforms more secure over time, the first major update could come as early as next week, or possibly the week after. Apple would definitely like to release one wave of fixes and try to solve as many problems as they can at once.

Users will be pleased to know that fixes for their various Mac dilemmas are on their way, but what exactly is Apple planning to fix in 10.8.1? 

Early adopters of OS X Mountain Lion have written about several issues dealing with speed, compatibility with first- and third-party applications, and new features like AirPlay Mirroring from your Mac to your HDTV (via Apple TV). Still, Apple has kept relatively mum about Mountain Lion issues, so there's no way of knowing what problems Apple may fix. Here are four major bugs, errors and issues that Apple definitely needs to fix in the 10.8.1 update.

1. Speed Issues, a.k.a. the "Beach Ball of Death" 

It's not uncommon to report sluggish activity after upgrading to OS X Mountain Lion (there's a fix for that at the bottom of this story), but a handful of frustrated Mac users are reporting very poor performance to the point of freezing when performing particular actions like waking up, booting up, or taking screenshots.

IBTimes reader Diane Alexander owns a MacBook Air that's roughly a year and a half old. She said she had no problems running OS X Snow Leopard, but since updating her computer to Mountain Lion, she's witnessed considerable lag.

"When I close the computer for a while and come back and open it, I get a white screen for a few seconds, and have to wait while it loads," Alexander wrote.

Natan Vigna, who owns a mid-2009 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, said that OS X Mountain Lion is "painfully slow" on his machine.

"The only thing I see is the beach ball of death every two to five seconds," Vigna said in reference to Apple's loading icon. "I'm glad I only upgraded my toy laptop and not my real work machines that I use for work."

"The beach ball of death" was the center of another story of frustration with OS X Mountain Lion, submitted by IBTimes community member "kaboom."

"After downloading, accepting user agreements, installing, and rebooting, I get a white screen with a spinning 'loading' wheel. Normally this indicates that it's about to show me the login screen, however, this literally stayed on the screen for HOURS! I reluctantly rebooted only to find the same thing. I used Command-V to see what was getting hung up. 'bootcache.playlist ...' was not loading or something like that. I then repaired permissions through the Disk Utility via Restore Mode, but it still didn't work. I did the "chmod -n -R /Volumes" thing and that didn't work. So, now I'm backing up my data before I get nuts and completely erase and start over."

2. Safari

Apple was extremely proud of how it had improved its Safari Web browser for OS X Mountain Lion, but many users are experiencing malfunctions that are keeping them from enjoying the experience.

Emailer Stephen Boss said he had "another foul day with Mountain Lion issues" thanks to Safari. Boss even sent along a Quicktime video of his Safari screen "flaking out" while trying to boot up the homepage. His video showed the "favorite" tabs on his Safari landing page continually appearing and disappearing with no input from the user.

Boss also said he had "another kernel panic" after "doing all the maneuvers."

"Someone should tell Apple to never release an OS upgrade when Mercury is in retrograde," Boss said. "I read [in an Apple Support thread] that I may have to get new RAM sticks, which would be totally unacceptable. Another poster mentioned that Apple is aware of the issue and working on it. I find this all quite shocking."

Ray Powell, owner of a late 2009 27-inch iMac, said he wished he waited until the first maintenance release of OS X Mountain Lion. Specifically, he said he gets this "horrible white flashing in the background" when viewing friend's pictures in Facebook on Safari.

"I have a number of other problems, but they are with [third-party application] Parallels.app," Powell said, again citing Safari as the source of most of his issues.

3. Mail Clients

The Mail application in OS X Mountain Lion is supposed to add features like the VIP smart mailbox, better notifications, and Mail preferences pushed to iCloud. While Mail can now do all of these things, users are still having issues in regards to mail services, particularly with Outlook and Yahoo Mail.

Many readers submitted their issues using the Mail application. Emailer George Lebovitz said OS X Mountain Lion has "a few minor issues I can live with," but notes one "perplexing omission with Mail."

"I send out 'stuff' to a distribution of people (Bcc, of course) and always take pains to remove the original sender from the list," Lebovitz said. "I used to put the cursor in the list of distributes, hit Command + F and "find" whomever it was I needed to omit. This handy feature is now disabled. Sigh."

Other readers submitted comments about their issues with Mail, too. From IBTimes emailer Alison Dyson:

"Our email keeps coming up with an error [that says it] cannot connect to the port," Dyson wrote. "If we close down Mail and reopen it works, [but] then about 30 minutes later it crashes again. Really annoying."

Rosi Bustamante, an IBTimes commenter, has also been having issues using Mail.

    "I've also been having login password issues with Yahoo Mail," Bustamante wrote. "When I try to access my email using Sparrow, but it's also begun to affect it when I try to check my Yahoo Mail with my iPhone -- funny, not with my iPad! I also have not been able to compose in Yahoo Mail using Safari. Very bizarre."

    Kim Bishop, owner of a mid-2008 17-inch MacBook Pro, said she upgraded to Mountain Lion on Sunday and everything was fine until she opened her Outlook Exchange server. She couldn't see any of her emails.

    "The mail shows up but once I click on it and read it, it disappears without any way to go back to look at it. Not sure what that's about. It's only in the inbox ... other emails that are copied because of the rules I have are there, but the main inbox in my Exchange server is blank even though it's telling me I have 8 new emails."

    4. AirPlay Mirroring

    Touted as one of the best features of OS X Mountain Lion, which would allegedly transmit whatever was on your Mac screen to any HDTV with an Apple TV plugged in, is having several issues in its debut on OS X.

    IBTimes submitter David Cortez, owner of a late 2008 MacBook Pro, said he has no AirPlay mirroring on his Mac, and he even has trouble with dragging and dropping icons and files, needing to press the escape button to release the files.

    IBTimes submitter "Red Heron" found that AirPlay is still very half-baked.

    "Airplay Mirroring is a slightly jerky when streaming video movies from Amazon even with a 30 mbs download service," Red Heron said. "It also will not work on MacBook Air models that are more than 18 months old."

    Solving Other Issues In OS X Mountain Lion

    "Just did the upgrade on a near-new MacBook Pro with 8 GB and a Hybrid Drive (8GB NAND)," said "Tony from OZ," an IBTimes submitter. "Mine was taking ages to start and shut down and, on a few occasions, would not shut down at all. I reset SMC settings and cleared PRAM and it's back to its old screaming self again!"

    Brett Reilly of Social Media SEO delivers five steps to diagnose all Mountain Lion errors, which involves verifying Disk Permissions with the Disk Utility and resetting the Mac's PRAM, which often helps the installation. This comes straight from Apple:

    "A small amount of your computer's memory, called "parameter random-access memory" or PRAM, stores certain settings in a location that Mac OS X can access quickly. The particular settings that are stored depend on your type of Mac and the types of devices connected to it. The settings include your designated startup disk, display resolution, speaker volume, and other information."

    Reilly explains how to diagnose and fix issues in Mountain Lion on his page.

    IBTimes submitter Jack Lichman updated his 2011 MacBook Pro to OS X Mountain Lion the morning it came out, and while installation was fine, he said the "computer did nothing but hang up, crash, and freeze." Lichman said it took him about "two hours to click on a browser, click my email bookmark, and read one email.

      Lichman offered up a possible solution to users' similar lag issues.

      "Once I cleared my PRAM, verified and repaired my permissions and the disk through the Disk Utility during start-up, my computer was running great. It still is. It's as fast or faster than Lion on normal computing. Only a couple of problems, it has added a few seconds to shut down and TimeMachine seems to take a little longer to back up. Besides that, it works like a dream."

      Some users may find that after upgrading to OS X Mountain Lion, some of their old files and applications have gone missing. Of course, this is always an infuriating moment for Mac users, when they can't find what they're looking for after a major software release.

      Apple will likely issue solutions to some of these bugs in the system, but some users are finding ways to get their computers up and running after an initial stumble with OS X Mountain Lion.

      To any Mac users experiencing any issues, errors or bugs with Mountain Lion, please feel free to write in or leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Tell us which issues you hope Apple fixes with the 10.8.1 upgrade, and be sure to note what issues you're having and which kind of Mac (model, year) you own.

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