When you buy a new mac, the iLife apps are redeemed with App Store validation codes which means you can upgrade/install iLife 11 on your other macs. (Assuming you have fewer than the current store limit of 5 macs connected to your store Apple ID and the software requirements are met).

Does this also apply to Lion?

I would presume no since the linked MacWorld article clearly only mentions iLife. I'm mostly interested in how the App Store is working and this appears to be a new function where it's allowing a programatic access to an asset that also is being sold under the normal store terms of redemption code or direct payment.

  • I'm looking for an authoritative answer from someone that has bought a mac with Lion pre-installed if possible. I'm also aware of the temporary up to date program. I'm happy waiting till one with Lion pre-installed can be opened and reported.
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 20:19

2 Answers 2


No. The copy of Lion you get with a new Mac is only available via the recovery partition on the hard drive and this version of the OS is tied to the hardware.

From this MacWorld article that talks about how the version of iLife you get with a new Mac is a full Mac App Store version you can install on multiple Macs in your house:

When you reinstall Lion via Lion Recovery, it seems Apple uses information about your Mac's hardware to verify that it has a license for Lion.

Or as this summary of the MacWorld article puts it:

Unfortunately, as Macworld points out, this trick doesn’t apply to OS X Lion itself — there’s no DVD or thumb drive included with a new Mac, which means the big cat only lives on your new Mac’s recovery partition, which appears to be tied to the hardware itself — meaning you can’t install it on your other Macs without ponying up the $29.99 from the Mac App Store.

Would be nice if you got it for your other Macs for free when you bought a new Mac, but for now it seems like it'll still cost you another $30 to bring all the Macs you own up to the current OS rev.

  • 1
    Awesome - Let me condense this to three sentences and see if you agree: 1. You get redemption codes for iLife only - not for Lion. 2. You have to purchase Lion on the app store to have it installed on any mac that didn't ship with Lion. 3. A short window of some macs get Lion redemption codes due to apple.com/macosx/uptodate
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 17:09
  • @bmike: I agree 100% with what you've written. That's my understanding of the situation as well from everything I've read.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 17:19

This is second-hand information via TUAW.com, and not personal experience, but anyway, according to TUAW, the OS X license bought with a machine is tied to the hardware and not transferable.



So the answer to your question would be "no".

  • Thanks for that link. The redemption codes shipping with the mac imply to me that iLife belongs to your account - not the hardware. If they also send a Lion redemption code but tie it to one machine (only or just one at a time) that would be new ground for the App Store in terms of licensing.
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 16:50

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