I bought a Mac that is only a few months old. My understanding was that it is supposed to come with iLife (iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand) either preinstalled or available as a "free" download in the Mac App store. However, this doesn't seem to be the case as it is is not installed and the Mac App Store requires that I pay for it before downloading it.

Do all Macs come with iLife? If so, what can I do to get it?

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    All new/refurbished Macs ship with iLife. A user can also bind them to their Apple IDs. Once bound to a specific ID, they are only available to that user. If you purchased the Mac second hand and the suite was bound to another ID, you will have to buy them from the Mac App Store. – user10355 Jan 29 '13 at 16:47
  • @user10355 How do you bind iLife to an Apple ID? – L.B. Dec 27 '15 at 22:12

Any iMac or Macbook Air/Pro purchased directly from Apple - regardless of student discounts or being refurbished - is shipped with iLife pre installed.


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Since Apple first introduced Lion and stopped shipping install DVDs for OSX and iLife I have purchased two Macs as a second user.

In both cases the iLife applications were registered to the previous owner and the Apple Care support wrote me in an email that they cannot transfer the iLife 'purchase' to me as the new owner.

Since I've failed twice to get 'Apple' to transfer the license (leaving the previous owner with two licenses on his new Mac...) I assume that this is Apple's standard procedure. So, as iLife is only part of every new Mac.

This gets displayed to the original owner, but as a second owner, the absence of this screen means that another Apple ID has claimed iLife for that Mac.

App Store purchases showing iLife redemption

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    This is a very non-intuitive thing since the license of the OS transfers with sale of the Mac, but license to the included iLife software gets bound to the first account to "claim" those apps and have them assigned permanently to a person and not the hardware. cl.ly/MVyj – bmike Jan 29 '13 at 20:17

Ignoring older Macs that used to ship with DVD media and a physical disc with iLife, there is a redemption process where you associate an Apple ID with the bundled iLife apps.

Additionally, both new and refurbished Mac purchased from Apple or an Authorized Reseller will have iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand pre-installed, with no need to download anything other than updates to those pre-installed apps.

Since you are not seeing those Apps for redemption / re-download in the Mac App Store, let's speculate on what might have happened. If your Mac was purchased used, it's possible that the seller wiped the Mac and reinstalled OS X. This is common practice to ensure a clean system for the new user and to remove any of the seller's personal data. However, iLife is a separate install from OS X, so if the seller neglected to re-install iLife, that's why you're not seeing it.

If you did indeed purchase it used, your best recourse is to bring the issue up with the seller. If it was new or refurbished, contact Apple and they should give you a code to download iLife. They might also be able to help to tell you whether the serial number of the Mac you now own has already redeemed those apps or help you to redeem the license for those apps if they actually transferred to you with the purchase of the Mac.

You can start here for a link to Apple Support in whatever country you live and/or whatever country the Mac was purchased.


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When I bought a refurb MacBook Pro online last year, it was missing some of iLife. A call to Apple Support directed me to a (private?) download, and discs were sent.

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