So, I bought a new Mac book Air recently, opened up the AppStore and found "Lion" in the featured updates.

I thought that was shown because I was not running lion and clicked on it to upgrade. Later mucked around the system to figure that I was running Lion and my system had been updated to the latest version of Lion.

But because I clicked the Install on the Lion in the appstore,

  • I am charged with $30, which I don't really have to pay.
  • My launchpad now displays the Lion as downloading.

I can't seem to stop the launchpad icon from downloading and can't remove it from there.

Now my queries:

  • Is it possible to "un-install" from the appstore. How?
  • Once the Lion completes download, will my system be updated again to the same version of the OS? What happens to the installed apps
  • Is it possible that somehow I can get back my $30, which is a wrong charge.
  • How do I stop the download from happening, prevent re-install and remove that downloading icon from Launchpad?

I probably acted a little stupid by clicking to buy that in the first place without even knowing my system runs Lion. But in my defense, I didn't think an app that I don't need to install would download and charge me; not by Apple.

Thanks in advance.

2 Answers 2


Purchasing is like being pregnant, but a little more black and white. It either went through or it didn’t. In your case, you can pause the download and delete the temporary file (turn off automatic downloads) and then decide if it’s worth it to ask for a refund.

Is it possible that somehow I can get back my $30, which is a wrong charge?

To apply for a refund, contact Mac App Store Support.

  • 1
    If the Macbook Air was sold originally with Lion, then Lion shouldn't have been available for "Purchase", but for "Download" or "Update", depending on where you look. However, if there was some kind of glitch and you were charged incorrectly, do as the answer suggests and apply for refund.
    – lupincho
    Apr 16, 2012 at 7:11
  • 2
    Actually, you can still buy a Lion upgrade if you want from a Mac that is running Lion. I did exactly that to have for macs that weren't yet on Lion and it shows on any Lion mac when the signed in account hasn't already purchased the App. It's not a glitch that it's offered in this case.
    – bmike
    Apr 16, 2012 at 8:27
  • 2
    @lupincho - that's not actually the case, it will only show an option for download or update if you are running a copy of Lion that originated from the App Store. Pre-installed versions on new Macs do not qualify as such, and are limited to use on that single machine, without receving the benefits of the App Store version.
    – stuffe
    Apr 16, 2012 at 9:52
  • As an aside, and for the benefit of all readers, Apple is very generous in their refund policy. As long as you don't have a history of frequent refunds, you will almost always be approved. They work hard to ensure that people feel casual and confident about App Store purchases, and easy refunds is important for that confidence.
    – Ash
    Apr 16, 2012 at 10:42

I think your use of the phrase "featured updates" gives it away I'm afraid. There is no such thing, there is an updates section which will provide for free updates to any App Store purchase you have already made, and also (on the 'front') page) a "featured" section displaying featured apps. You've had a mixup in what is being offered, and purchased by accident.

This Featured section is not personalised to you in any way, everyone sees the same one (App Store location dependant I imagine), and it's quite possible for it to show programs that you already own.

The key is that the App store only really knows about stuff you have bought from the App store, as indicated by the fact that the purchases are tied to your Apple ID. Exceptions to this rule exist (iWork apps etc can show up as "installed" even though they were not installed through the App Store, but they cannot be updated, or redownloaded), but it's perfectly possible and indeed normal to own and even have installed a piece of software that originated from outside the App store that it simply does not know about. These could be versions of apps purchased direct from the developer, or in your case a copy of Lion that is tied to your Macbook rather than your Apple ID.

This is an important distinction to make, and one you have not fully realised after purchasing Lion effectively for a second time via the App store.

A few things to note about your purchase, now that it's been done (I'll leave the other answers to discuss how to attempt refunds etc, as they seem to have it covered)

  • Your App Store purchase, unlike the version that came with your Macbook Air, is licensed to your Apple ID, and you can use it on any other Macs in your household, so if you have other machines a single purchase can be used on them all. Your pre-installed copy does not allow for this
  • You are only downloading an Installer for Lion. It will not install unless you run it. Even if you run it, it will not materially affect your install - it would only be a waste of time effectively overwriting your OS files with identical ones
  • Since you have downloaded it anyway, note that machines that have Lion pre-installed do not provide you with restore media, and they expect you to use internet recovery anyway if you require to access the install media in future. As you have a copy downloaded, you can store this on a DVD or Memory stick, which will speed up restore times in the future if it is ever required. You can create bootable disc or USB media from the download too, to further improve your future recovery options.

So, although you made a mistake in purchasing it, it's not the end of the world, and for $30 if you are unable to get a refund I would not be too upset so long as you take advantage of the situation by making the best of it and bearing the above points in mind.

  • "The key is that the App store only knows abut stuff you have bought from the App store, ... that originated from outside the App store that it simply does not know about." This is not entirely accurate. For example if you have TextWrangler installed from out side the App Store and then try to download it from the Mac App Store, the Mac App Store will let you know because it can look at the names of apps on the computer and detect a duplicate in name and version info. Mac OS X is a special case, not really a normal App.
    – MrDaniel
    Apr 16, 2012 at 19:57
  • Yes, this can happen, common for iWork apps etc, but it doesn't work for them all (there's a lot more to it than matching App names), and it does provide suitable warnings etc. It's not that OSX is particularly special as such, from a download perspective.
    – stuffe
    Apr 16, 2012 at 20:16
  • OS X is downloaded as an installer, which then installs an OS that is not really tied to that Apple Bundle that was downloaded from the store. The Mac App Store would be able to detect if there was already a Lion installer from another Apple ID, etc on your Mac. The App Store has no clue about the OS installed and where it came from. So there is no way for the Mac App Store to know about a copy of OS X installed already on a Mac, is the main point. Apps can be identified by name and version info as noted here omnigroup.com/blog/entry/…
    – MrDaniel
    Apr 16, 2012 at 21:01

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