The soon to be released OS from Apple, Mac OS X Mountain Lion is right around the corner with a July release date. Though we don’t know for certain what the final requirements for Mountain Lion will be, we can get ahead of the game and start preparing for Mountain Lion now.

First we need to consider the basic system requirements for OS X Mountain Lion. Again, these specs are not set in stone at this point, though it’s likely that the minimum system requirements will be very close to the beta versions requirements.

Basic System Requirements for OS X Mountain Lion:

  • 64-Bit Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better required
  • Ability to boot into OS X 64-bit kernel
  • Advanced GPU chipset required
  • Internet connection required to download and install OS X 10.8

To determine if you are running a 64-bit kernel, open the terminal application and type uname –a, which will produce a message similar to the following based on your specific Mac:

Darwin MacBookAir 11.2.0 Darwin Kernel Version 11.2.0: Tue Aug 9 20:54:00 PDT 2011; root:xnu-1699.24.8~1/RELEASE_X86_64 x86_64

If you see “x86_64” then your Mac is capable of booting into an OS X 64-bit kernel and should be fine for running Mac OS X Mountain Lion. If you don’t see “x86_64”, that doesn’t mean that your machine is not capable of running Mountain Lion. So we need to check against the list of Macs that Apple is currently supporting for the beta.

Macs that will support OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion:

  • MacBook Pro – 13 from mid 2009 or later, 15 from late 2007 and newer, 17 from late 2007 and newer
  • MacBook Air – late 2008 and newer
  • iMac – models from mid 2007 and newer
  • MacBook – 13 aluminum from 2008, 13 from 2009 and newer
  • Mac Mini – early 2009 and newer
  • Mac Pro – early 2008 models and newer
  • XServe – early 2009 models and newer

Next we need to determine what OS is being run on the Macs that are being considered for upgrade. Mountain Lion is upgradable from Snow Leopard and Lion both. If the Mac that you are going to upgrade is running anything less then Snow Leopard, then you will need to upgrade that machine to Snow Leopard to proceed.

Before we upgrade to Snow Leopard, the most important thing to do is create a backup of your Mac. There are several ways to do this and several great applications available such as SuperDuper, which work great for creating backups. The advantage of SuperDuper is that it can easily create a bootable back up, which can have some nice advantages. My preferred method for backup is to use the tools that Apple has provided such as Time Machine and Disk Utility.

Once you’ve determined that your Mac is within the aforementioned specs range, you’ve created and tested your backup, and then have upgraded your Mac to at the very minimum Snow Leopard, you will be ready to upgrade to Mountain Lion.

Once Mountain Lion is released, I’ll be sure to provide an update to for system requirements.