My Favorite Small Mac OS X 10.7 Features

As usual, some of the most interesting (to me) new features in the next release of Mac OS X are in the cheap seats, not on the highlight reel.  The following items are excerpted from after today’s WWDC announcement of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion:

[Address Book] Yearless birthdays

You can now add birthdays to your contacts without including a year.

[FileVault 2] External drive support

FileVault 2 supports encryption of external USB and FireWire drives.

[Finder] Merge folders

When you try to combine two folders with the same name, the Finder now offers to merge them into a single folder.

[Internet Restore and Utilities] Built into Lion

OS X Lion includes a built-in restore partition, allowing you to repair or reinstall OS X without the need for discs.

[Networking] Low-power wake

In OS X Lion, your Mac can wake up for services such as file sharing, backup, and more without the need to turn on the monitor or attached USB devices.

[Networking] NFSv4 support

Lion includes support for NFSv4. // Not that I’ll use it, but anything that helps NFSv4 is a good thing in my book.

[QuickTime Player] Rotate clips

If you open a video and it’s upside down or sideways, just rotate it to make it right.

[Safari] Drag-and-drop downloads

You can drag downloaded files from the Downloads list to your desktop for easy organization.

[Screen Sharing] Per-user screen sharing

You can remotely log in to a Mac with any user account on that computer and control it, without interrupting someone else who might be using the computer under a different login. // This is going to be a Really Big One for some people.

[System] Windows migration

With OS X Lion, you can migrate all the information from your old PC to your new Mac. Lion automatically transfers your documents, contacts, calendars, email accounts (Outlook and Windows Live Mail), and photos stored in Picasa, and puts them in the appropriate applications. // Family IT guys, REJOICE!

[System Preferences] Custom desktop color

Now you can create a custom solid color from the color picker. // Solves a longstanding embarrassment, which is always good news.

[Time Machine] Local snapshots

OS X Lion lets you take the Time Machine experience with you when you’re away from your Time Capsule or backup drive. Time Machine keeps a spare copy of the files you create, modify, or delete right on your Mac. Now if you accidentally delete a file while on the road, you can recover it from a local copy.

[Time Machine] Encrypted backups

Keep your Time Machine backups secure by backing up to an external USB or FireWire drive encrypted with FileVault 2. // This is a Really Big One in general.

[Other Features] Resize from any edge

You can now resize a window from any side or corner. // Solves another (and more annoying) longstanding embarrassment.

I’m looking forward to the big stuff like Versions and Mission Control (not to mention the kinda-amazing Lion Server deal), but these little things are always my favorite part of a new Mac OS X release.