Snow Leopard to Mavericks upgrade – WOW, it worked!

I just upgraded my MacBook Pro from OS X Snow Leopard to Mavericks. My main pull to upgrade to Mavericks, was the potential for improved battery life – my MacBook Pro flies through its battery.

The Snow Leopard to Mavericks upgrade ran without a hitch, for my MacBook Pro.

Funnily, the Mavericks upgrade hung with the “spinning beach ball of death for my simpler, more modern MacBook Air. Compare:

  • my MacBook Air:  mid-2011 model, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion (1 year old product), not much software
  • my MacBook Pro: mid-2010 model, Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard (4 year old product), lots of older software & exotic utilities

The hang for the Mavericks upgrade from Mountain Lion for the MacBook Air turned out to be not that big a deal – a simple fix, and the upgrade was complete.

I actually thought it was pretty likely the Mavericks upgrade to my Snow Leopard MacBook Pro would most likely fail. I had a contingency plan: My MacBook Pro backs up regularly to an Apple AirPort Time Capsule; I figured if they upgrade failed, I could always go back to Snow Leopard using a Time Machine backup.

The Mavericks upgrade detected two apps on my Snow Leopard laptop that weren’t compatible – VMware Fusion and Flip4Mac. It put the incompatible kernel extensions (kexts) from these apps into a Incompatible Software folder.

I’d really hoped to use Airplay Mirroring on my MacBook Pro to use my HDTV as an extra screen. My HDTV is hooked up to an Apple TV, and I used Airplay Mirroring to mirror my screen from my MacBook Air to the HDTV previously. The AirPlay Mirroring icon never showed up in the menu bar however. I thought this was a bug, but I did a bit of digging, and it turns out that my MacBook Pro was a shade too old to support this feature. Oh well.

And how is battery life? Too early to say, plus I never timed it on Snow Leopard. All I knew is it felt way too short. Looks like I might get 4 hours working, instead of 2 to 3 hours. If that’s so, I’ll be pretty happy.

I really like the new energy meter tab in Maverick’s enhanced Activity Monitor utility. It shows which apps are chewing the most battery, both right now, and over time. It lets me work out which apps are draining my battery, and I can change how I use the app, close it, or use an alternative, e.g. an alternative music player.

Using the energy meter, over time software developers will see if their software is inefficient with energy, and hopefully tune it up. Apple tuned the energy efficiency of Safari, and they reckon it now uses about one third the energy of Firefox. Handy to know if you’re trying to get the maximum time running on your laptop’s battery.

The upgrade from Snow Leopard to Mavericks just worked. Hats off to the Apple engineers for making the upgrade from an older OS X and apps so smooth.

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