I don't have a Lion license and I'm currently running Mac OS X 10.6.6 (Snow Leopard).

If I buy Mountain Lion, can I downgrade to Lion?

  • 3
    Why are you asking this? Do you specifically need Lion for a particular reason?
    – Gerry
    Aug 2, 2012 at 11:39
  • Which mac are you trying to install on?
    – MrDaniel
    Aug 2, 2012 at 12:08

2 Answers 2


If you buy Mountain Lion, your computer downloads an installer for Mountain Lion from the app store. If you were somehow able to buy a copy of Lion later on (which Apple does not seem to be selling in the App store), you could install it on your computer ("downgrade to Lion"), but buying Mountain Lion does not get you access to such an installer.

  • What a pity! I'm glad that I have a backup of the Lion installer. Is it legal to share my backup image with a friend if he has purchased a licence and registers his install (using my .dmg) with his Apple ID?
    – gentmatt
    Aug 2, 2012 at 12:24
  • 1
    I am not a lawyer, and I suspect the answer would depend on the court rulings in any particular jurisdiction. Your proposed actions certainly have a spirit of fairness to them, and regardless of whether it is legal, I seriously doubt Apple would bother taking legal action against an individual who shared an installer with some who had purchased a license to use it.
    – Daniel
    Aug 2, 2012 at 12:37

No OS X Lion license if you don't already have a OS X Lion Purchased in the Mac App Store prior to the release of Mountain Lion.

That means that you can't buy OS X Lion now from the Mac App Store even if you really wanted to do so. So when you buy Mountain Lion, all you obtain is the Mountain Lion Installer and license.

If you must have Lion your only legal easy recourse is to try and find one of the official Apple Lion USB install media.

Another probably not so easy option is to contact Apple and see if they can work some magic to allow you to purchase Lion, but as far as it goes you would have to purchase Lion, your not going to be granted access to a prior releases based on purchasing the current release of OS X.


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