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I understand that Mac OS X is free to download and install however It would be nice to have a DVD backup printed and shipped by Apple just like older Mac OSX releases.

Is this still possible?

  • Answers below notwithstanding, Modern Macs don't have DVD drives & Apple have never had much history of supporting older machines. – Tetsujin Feb 11 '15 at 6:54
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I'm pretty sure you can't buy installer discs from Apple anymore (Lion was the last version they sold an installer for, and that was a USB key, not a DVD. But you can make your own in several different ways:

  • Create a USB installer with the createinstallmedia tool included in the downloadable installer. See @onik's answer, or Apple Support Article HT201372: "Create a bootable installer for OS X Mavericks or Yosemite". Note that it omits an important first step: make sure the USB disk is formatted with the GPT partition scheme, and the volume you're going to use for the installer is in Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.

  • Create a USB installer with DiskMaker X -- which basically automates the createinstallmedia process.

  • If you really want to make an installer DVD, there's a posting on the MacRumors forum by tywebb13 that gives a command-line procedure for making a disk image that you can burn to DVD. I haven't tested it, but I'll include it here in case that source goes away:

    hdiutil attach /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/SharedSupport/InstallESD.dmg -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/install_app
    hdiutil convert /Volumes/install_app/BaseSystem.dmg -format UDSP -o /tmp/Yosemite
    hdiutil resize -size 8g /tmp/Yosemite.sparseimage
    hdiutil attach /tmp/Yosemite.sparseimage -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/install_build
    rm /Volumes/install_build/System/Installation/Packages
    cp -rp /Volumes/install_app/Packages /Volumes/install_build/System/Installation/
    cp -rp /Volumes/install_app/BaseSystem.chunklist /Volumes/install_build
    cp -rp /Volumes/install_app/BaseSystem.dmg /Volumes/install_build
    hdiutil detach /Volumes/install_app
    hdiutil detach /Volumes/install_build
    hdiutil resize -size `hdiutil resize -limits /tmp/Yosemite.sparseimage | tail -n 1 | awk '{ print $1 }'`b /tmp/Yosemite.sparseimage
    hdiutil convert /tmp/Yosemite.sparseimage -format UDTO -o /tmp/Yosemite
    rm /tmp/Yosemite.sparseimage
    mv /tmp/Yosemite.cdr ~/Desktop/Yosemite.iso
    

    ...then use Disk Utility (or whatever you prefer) to burn Yosemite.iso to a DVD.

2

It seems that Apple doesn't supply OSX on a retail DVD anymore, since all modern Macs have a recovery partition, which contains the installer and is updateable. However, there are ways to create an installer USB drive, and here is Apple's own solution.

Before you're able to create a bootable OS X installer, you'll need to do the following first:

  1. Download the OS X Installer app from the Mac App Store.

  2. Mount the volume you want to convert into a bootable installer. This could be removable media such as a USB flash drive, or a secondary internal partition.

  3. You can then use the createinstallmedia tool to convert the volume from step two into a bootable installer based off the installer app from step one. To learn how to use createinstallmedia, use the following command in Terminal:

OS X Yosemite

/Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia

OS X Mavericks

/Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia

Examples

For example, assuming you have a volume mounted at /Volumes/MyVolume and the OS X installer app is at /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app you could erase /Volumes/MyVolume and convert it into a bootable installer with this command:

OS X Yosemite

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app

OS X Mavericks

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app

Notes

You may need to adjust the path to the OS X installer app and/or your removable media device's name in the command. createinstallmedia is an advanced option for system administrators and as such, requires some knowledge of the command line in order to be used properly. It is only intended to be used with the version of the OS X Installer app it came with.

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