How to upgrade Mac OS X from Leopard (10.5), Snow Leopard (10.6), Lion (10.7) to Mountain Lion (10.8)

Apple made is real easy to upgrade your Mac OS X with the introduction of the App Store in the Snow Leopard (10.6.6) update. If you go to the “Upgrade your Mac“ page on Apple.com they tell you how to upgrade “right from your mac” but they don’t tell you how to upgrade if you don’t have the App Store installed.

I just went through a little bit of pain to get my MacBook Pro upgraded from Leopard (10.5.8) to Mountain Lion (10.8) so I thought I’d put together a series of posts to save you some time.

Here are some things I learned while upgrading:

1. The App Store was introduced in the Snow Leopard (10.6.6) update. From there you can install OS X directly from the App Store.

2. You can only get to Lion or Mountain Lion via Snow Leopard, you can’t go from Leopard to Mountain Lion directly.

3. It costs $20 to upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard and another $20 to go from Snow Leopard to Lion or Mountain Lion. You’ll find all versions online somewhere (Amazon, eBay, etc) but they are double or triple the price. Just order from Apple directly to have piece of mind about what you are getting and the lowest price.

4. Calling Apple directly at 1-800-MY-APPLE (1-800-692-7753) is very helpful. Very little wait time and they are more knowledgeable then calling your local Apple store. Maybe they are considered “super geniuses”? :)

5. Mountain Lion doesn’t really have any features that I need. AirPlay isn’t supported on my MacBook Pro version (too old), Power Nap, Dictation and Game Center….all not interested in. So just make sure you want to upgrade for those features before you spend the $20 now. If you can upgrade to Mountain Lion now, maybe you should just wait until the new version of OS X comes out.

6. The Snow Leopard DVDs are only available by calling Apple. You can’t buy in your local store.

7. The Lion upgrade isn’t available on the App Store any more. You need to call Apple to purchase and they’ll send you an email with a link to download Lion.

Here are all the posts that I created over the last couple of days to help you get up and running quickly:

Where to buy the Snow Leopard (10.6.3) install DVD

How to upgrade from Leopard (10.5) to Snow Leopard (10.6)

Where is the Mac App Store on Leopard (10.5) or Snow Leopard (10.6)?

How to upgrade to Lion (10.7) from Leopard (10.5) or Snow Leopard (10.6)

How to upgrade to Mountain Lion (10.8) from Leopard (10.5), Snow Leopard (10.6) or Lion (10.7)

Jon