I have a Mid-2014 MacBook Pro (Retina), running OS X Yosemite. I would like to run OS X Lion within a virtual machine.

Is this setup supported by Parallels/VirtualBox/VMware, even though this MacBook would not run Lion natively?

If so, how can I obtain a copy of Lion to install in the virtual machine? Would it help if I had access to a Mac Mini running Lion?

  • Apple's license doesn't allow you to install another OS X version - OS X Guest 10.10 on Host 10.10 (OK), Guest 10.9 on Host 10.10 (not OK). But Yes, you can install what you want, the licens just doesn't allow it ;) Mar 28, 2015 at 8:46

2 Answers 2


Lion works fine as virtual machine - as well as all Mac OS X' since Snow Leopard* - in all of the mentioned apps. VMware/Parallels usually offer a better system integration and better performance though - with the downside that they aren't available for free.

To get the OS X Lion installer, check your purchases in your App Store account. If you have downloaded it previously on the MacMini, it should be available there.

*: It's a bit tricky to install Yosemite in VirtualBox and performance is sluggish.


If you haven't downloaded it before, you can purchase OS X Lion (10.7) for $19.99 (USD) and use the redeem code to download it. It can be installed in VMware Fusion, Parallels or VirtualBox.

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