I am using Macbook Pro Mid 2012 13" with 128GB SSD. The latest installed version of OS X was El Capitan which crashed during a Sierra upgrade.

Internet recovery mode worked somehow to land me to install download and install a new OS but it's Mountain Lion, which came installed when I bought the Macbook few years back However, it's rejecting to install on current SSD drive as shown in pic.

I have another 320GB HDD, so is this the only way to reinstall? First I do a fresh install of Lion on the external HDD? What I should I do?

What is a step by step procedure as all I want to do is run OSX on SSD drive but keeping all my older data. I can not afford to wipe it.

However, I did back up some of its backup onto my PC. If I install Lion the HDD can I then download Sierra and create an install disk to update/fix/install corrupted OS X on SSD?

enter image description here

  • If you don't mind wiping the 320GB HDD, use that to install Lion, boot there, using your Apple ID and through the App Store, download El Capitan or Sierra. Then you can do your install/upgrade. Also, the next time you run Internet Recovery, you should be presented with the latest OS you installed.
    – Allan
    Oct 14, 2016 at 12:27
  • @Allan, You said, "Also, the next time you run Internet Recovery, you should be presented with the latest OS you installed." and unless things have changed, and I do not believe they have, Internet Recovery (Option-Command-R) installs the version that originally came with your Mac, not the latest OS you installed. Oct 14, 2016 at 12:59
  • @user3439894 - My iMac came with Mavericks. I upgraded to Yosemite then El Capitan. When I did IR when my HDD died, it installed El Cap. Why would IR downgrade you and leave you in the spot where the OP is if it didn't install the latest OS?
    – Allan
    Oct 14, 2016 at 13:02
  • @Allan, According to About macOS Recovery which used to be called About OS X Recovery, I quote "macOS Internet Recovery (Option-Command-R) installs the version that originally came with your Mac.". So I'm going with the official documentation until there is more then one user saying it installs the latest you installed. Oct 14, 2016 at 13:07
  • Future lies in future, may be in next 6 months , I change my macbook , right now, I guess I should install Lion on 320GB HDD, upgrade it to Sierra and then move all files from 128 GB SSD to 320GB HDD and then, I wipe 128GB and create a clone of 320GB HDD into 128GB SSD( if I can create and it can work , can it ? ) and then I keep 320GB as a backup drive, if something goes wrong again with my SSD , I know where to get it. how does it sound ? if this is good then ,I may need to find a good tool (free or paid) can create a clone drive for mac
    – Amit Bravo
    Oct 14, 2016 at 13:23

2 Answers 2


Note: This answer has been updated because the comment below misunderstands how Recovery works. When your Recovery partition gets updated, not only will it run the newest version of macOS, but the installer gets updated to the newest version as well.

If a Mac shipped with macOS 12.3 or earlier, then Internet Recovery will install whatever version of macOS shipped on the Mac, even if the Mac had previously been updated.

If the Mac shipped with macOS 12.4 or later, or was upgraded to 12.4 or later, then Internet Recovery will install the most recent version of macOS that is supported on that Mac.

So if your Mac shipped with 10.11, and you updated to 10.12, then: Internet Recovery will install 10.11 Recovery will install 10.12

If your Mac shipped with 10.11 and you updated to 10.12.4, then: Internet Recovery will install 10.13 (or later) Recovery will install 10.12.4

  • The question is not about the version of the (internet) recovery partition system but the version of the system installed by the utility "Restore OS X (or macOS)..." in Internet Recovery Mode!
    – klanomath
    Jun 22, 2017 at 18:42
  • @Steven It appears you have two accounts here. Please request an account merge
    – grg
    Oct 27, 2017 at 7:34

This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. option-cmd-R, Disk Utility → Erase, install

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