I just got my new Macbook Pro 15" - it had OS X Lion pre-installed.

Is there a way I can download the OS X Lion ISO (legitimately) so I will be able to have it in case I need to reinstall ?

If I look in the app store it doesn't appear that I purchased Lion (since it came pre-installed). I am aware of the internet recovery option but am looking for a way to download the file now so I can recover later without an internet connection.


You can use the Recovery partition or Internet Recovery to download the full installer. The basic method is, tell it to re-install on an external drive, let it download, interrupt it before it reboots your system, then you can grab the DMG file and write it to a USB drive so that you'll have a full (no internet required) installer when you need it.

Full details here: Mac OS X Hints: 10.7: How to get a full Lion install disc for a new MacBook Air or Pro

You'll want to have a spare external drive handy to use as the install target so that you don't risk overwriting your boot drive.

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  • Oops - I didn't see your reply when I edited patrix's answer. Feel free to edit my addition... – bmike Oct 31 '11 at 2:58

Recovery options for Macs with Lion pre-installed are documented in HT4718:

  • Recovery HD: recovery partition on hard drive, accessible by booting with Cmd-R pressed til the Apple logo is displayed

  • Internet Recovery: If you got a new (empty) hard drive, your Mac will boot into an internet recovery mode

Recovery in both cases requires internet connectivity.

You can use this to your benefit by rebooting your Mac into recovery and connect a USB drive. Go through the steps to link your Apple ID to that Mac for a Lion reinstall. Choose the external drive for the install. You should be able to catch the process at a reboot and save the 10.7.2 installer for later. Worst case is you miss it and the system deleted the installer application. Just open the App Store and hold option when selecting Purchased. You can generally re-download things once the store knows you get a copy of Lion.

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I created a USB stick with Lion DiskMaker which seems to be the best method for USB. For DVDs, if you browse inside the Lion Installer you should find installESD.dmg. According to internet sources, burning this file to DVD creates a bootable disk (I have not tried this approach).

With regard to the Lion redownload, holding the option key while clicking on Purchased in the App store gives you the redownload option.

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  • This will work, however you will need to burn to a CD or DVD as a USB will not work if the disc utility does not work, as you need to run this to change the install destination from CD drive to USB. – Graeme Hutchison Nov 7 '11 at 12:32

I'm not sure it works for MacBook Pros that came with Lion pre-installed, but you can download it from the Mac App Store—just option-click on the "Purchased" tab.

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  • doesn't work.... – Asher Oct 30 '11 at 5:02
  • Once Lion has been installed, there is no reason for the end user to possess the install file (removed during the first install), and hence it is not possible to download again. The necessary files are stored in the recovery partition if needed by the user. – David Metcalfe Nov 4 '11 at 4:02

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