Apple releases Lion developer preview 4 – here’s what’s new

16 June, 2011 - Killian Bell
Mac OS X Lion

Developers who are lucky enough to get their hands on Mac OS X Lion pre-release previews will be pleased to know that Apple released its 4th iteration yesterday. This version comes with build number 11A494a and weighs in at around 650MB.

Though there’s nothing groundbreaking in this release that we haven’t already seen, there are a few subtle changes that I’m incredibly keen on. The first thing you’ll notice is Lion’s new login screen: it boasts a nice, dark linen background that was often seen during Steve Jobs’ recent keynote presentation at WWDC. In addition to the new background, you’ll also find small iOS-like indicators in the top right-hand corner for your battery level, Wi-Fi signal strength, and time. Cult of Mac noted that if you click on the time, it cycles through the computer’s name, IP address, and current OS build.

You’ll also notice the dark linen background has been integrated into Mission Control, and into the folders in Launchpad. Icons that were previously missing from Launchpad have now been included, according to reports, and so have the graphics issues that previously troubled the startup screen.

Within the “About This Mac” window, the icons that previously labelled each tab have now been replaced by text, making navigation between each window slightly clearer.

Within the Mail application, those confused by some of its new icons will be pleased to know you can now change the toolbar’s preferences to display both icons and text. And while we’re on the subject of confusion, if you’re anything like me and you struggled to get used to the two-fingered swipe between pages in Safari, you’ll be pleased to know that this gesture has now been removed. However, if you liked it, you can enable it again within System Preferences.

Unfortunately it seems this latest preview still isn’t Lion’s final build: Within the System Preferences for the trackpad gestures, there are still placeholders that read “instructional videos coming soon” – indicating that there is still a little work to be done before Lion is ready to hit the Mac App Store.

Just like preview 3, the latest release of Lion seems wonderfully stable. All the reports detailing this release are yet to identify any major bugs or issues, and everything seems to be relatively smooth.

If you already have preview 3 of Lion installed on your Mac, you can access the latest release through Software Update.

About the author

Killian Bell is a freelance journalist based in Worcestershire UK. In addition to writing about all things Apple, he's one of the co-founders of the football site TitleTalk. You can follow him on and Twitter.