Upgrading to Mountain Lion over wireless

In a previous post I talked about the joys of upgrading to Lion (OSX 10.7) over wireless broadband. Because of the limitations of only using wireless broadband I had bought Lion on a thumb drive from Apple (A$75) and then found that I still needed to download around 4Gb to get Lion and Xcode up and running.

So now Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) is available in the App Store. When Lion first came out it was only available through the App Store, with the thumb drive option available after a month or so. According to John Siracusa at ars technica Apple does not intend to offer a thumb drive option at all for Mountain Lion.

I have had a fairly lukewarm experience with Lion so was keen to get onto Mountain Lion as soon as possible. Given the experience with the Lion thumb drive (and the lack of alternatives) I decided to go with the App Store upgrade. So I made sure I have an up to the minute Super Duper backup and took the plunge.

The upgrade cost A$20.99 and was a 4.05Gb download. I left the download running while I went out for the day, and it finished without issue when I got home.

Being suitably paranoid I made a bootable install disk on an 8Gb thumb drive (following the ars instructions), then started the install. It took about an hour to complete, with no issues or input required from me.

As with Lion I then needed to download an updated version of Xcode (4.4). This was another 591Mb. And that was it.

One gotcha with Lion was that I needed to download another 2Gb of software updates (including the Lion recovery update) after the initial install. This was not the case with Mountain Lion via the App Store.

Comparing the two experiences...

  • 10.7: A$75 + shipping time, 4Gb+ across multiple downloads
  • 10.8: A$21 downloaded on the day, 4.6Gb across 2 downloads

… Mountain Lion through the App Store was a much better experience. Of course both experiences required a decent broadband connection and 4Gb to spare, which is not a no-brainer for all wireless broadband users.