If I buy a new mac that comes with a free upgrade to Lion, can I use the upgrade on a different machine instead of the new machine, or is it tied to the new machine? The upgrade site requires the serial number of the new machine. I prefer to have Lion on the old machine and Snow Leopard on the new one, then maybe I will buy Lion for the new machine if I decide I like it.


3 Answers 3


It is tied to the new mac. The store verifies the mac rather than the Apple ID to allow the download if you need to reinstall the OS.

Some people are reporting that the few macs that shipped with Snow Leopard from the factory, but were changed later get a redemption code that works more like you purchasing an upgrade. That purchase seems to work on 5 macs like the other App Store purchases.

  • I'm still a bit confused, perhaps you can confirm if I'm understanding correctly. I know that the new mac will be upgradeable to Lion via the up-to-date program. I enter in the serial number for the mac and the purchase date here and I get the upgrade. XAleXOwnZX below suggests that the upgrade could be used on another compatible mac, as long as I am using the same apple ID. I don't actually get a redemption code, so I'm still unsure whether this means Lion is tied to the new machine.
    – jela
    Sep 4, 2011 at 17:47

Not 100% sure, but I think that when you buy a new Mac with Lion, is not like if you bought Lion through the Mac App Store. So you'll have to buy Lion for your old machine.

And most importantly, some people reported that Snow Leopard doesn't work that well on machine with Lion pre-installed, so you might not even be able to install Snow Leopard on your new machine.


Any OS X disc can be used on any compatible mac and has no form of serial numbers or registrations to worry about. I'm not sure new Macs with lion come with discs though, you should check that out online.

  • the new machine comes with snow leopard installed and a digital download of Lion. I'm not sure whether the digital download can be used with another machine, but the suggestion here seems to be no.
    – jela
    Sep 3, 2011 at 16:55
  • it can be under the same apple id
    – Alexander
    Sep 3, 2011 at 22:03
  • does that mean I can install it on a different machine than the one I purchased? I'm confused. Seems like people are saying it's tied to the new computer, but unless I misunderstand you are suggesting that as long as I use the same apple id I can install it on a different machine.
    – jela
    Sep 4, 2011 at 17:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .