You’ve got a problem: You’re ready to purchase the hottest new gadget for your Mac (or already have), but you’re wondering whether you can just plug it in and go or if you’ll need to install and configure some software.
I’ve got a solution: Not too long ago, Mac users were the black sheep of the computer peripheral industry: their devices might work, but the boxes would only list Windows system requirements, and when you called tech support, it was as though they had never heard of a Mac. Today, third-party support is dramatically improved, but because Mac OS X supports so many devices out of the box, you may wonder whether you really need to install the CD that came with the device or download a driver from the manufacturer.
The following list describes whether devices need software drivers, and if they do, whether Mac OS X already includes them. Consider the list the general rule but note that there are always exceptions.
How to Read the List: There are four rules for driver requirements. None means all the software required to use the device is built into Mac OS X, and you do not need to install any software. Optional means that the device should work without any driver installation, but the built-in software may not support all the device’s features. You can download software from the manufacturer to take advantage of extra features. Download means you must install the driver from the manufacturer, preferably by downloading the newest version from the manufacturer’s website. Required means the device must have a driver, but the driver may already be built into Mac OS X. If it is not, you must download the newest version from the manufacturer.
|Peripheral Driver Requirements|
|Bar Code Readers:||Download|
|HDs & DVD Burners:||None|
|iPods & iPhones:||None|
|Mice & Keyboards:||Optional|
|USB Gaming Devices:||Optional|
If you’re looking to see where you can download drivers for many of the devices your Mac can use, read my article on Where to Download Drivers for Mac OS X.
Did this article help you? What other devices have you used that require a driver? Have a horror story about installing drivers in OS X Lion? Let others know in the comments.
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