I'm planning to install Arch linux on my Macbook Air (mid-2015), and installing means I'm going to mess with the partitions on the disk, and lots of stuff, and I'm not expert on these topics, so there is a chance that I might delete something important for OS X on the other partition, or about recovery partition etc.

So my question is in which cases I would lose my OS X license? I mean for example if I unintentionally delete the recovery partition would I lose anything? etc.

What I'm trying to understand here is that what is the worst thing that I can do unintentionally during the installation?

Edit: It would also be helpful if the answer contain how is licensing works for OS X on Macs.

  • 1
    I recommend making a bootable Arch Linux USB that you can boot from. Don't use your internal hard drive / Solid state drive to install it on. Wait until you know what you're doing. More than likely you are going to mess up a boot partition. Too many Linux related questions on AskDifferent end up being about not being able to boot correctly.
    – Jahhein
    Oct 13 '17 at 9:45
  • Frankly, licensing has nothing to do with the real question here, which IMO is about how to safely install and dual boot another OS will out breaking macOS or loosing data. If you want to know about licensing go to: Software License Agreements Oct 13 '17 at 12:40
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    Additionally, before you ever attempt modify your computer, you need to lean, understand and know how to backup your computer and data, restore it as/if/when necessary and also create an have handy a USB Installer of the version of macOS you're currently running. Until you have this in place you should do nothing else! Oct 13 '17 at 12:48

The worst thing you can unintentionally do is lose data!

So, before doing anything, ensure you have a backup regime in place (such as using Time Machine). Once you know you have a backup, then the risk is limited to potentially wasting a lot of time reinstalling macOS if things go wrong and then migrating your data across from your backup.

If you do need to reinstall macOS, then you have three options you can try:

  • commandR to reinstall the latest macOS that was installed on your Mac, without upgrading to a later version
  • optioncommandR to upgrade to the latest macOS that is compatible with your Mac
  • shiftoptioncommandR to reinstall the macOS that came with your Mac, or the version closest to it that is still available

But remember - you must have a backup regime in place!

  • To actually answer OP’s question: licensing doesn’t really exist on OSX. Your serial number and a few other things are submitted to the download server and Apple usually just goes “hey okay” and the download goes. You cannot lose your license on a legit Mac.
    – Allison
    Oct 13 '17 at 16:32

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