I have a MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2012) MD223LL/A MBAIR 11.6/1.7/4/64FLASH running OS X 10.7.5. It shipped with Lion. I want to reinstall the OS on the laptop without an internet connection. Is this possible on these newer machines? What are the steps?

Use-case: The main purpose of the Macbook Air is to use it on the road when i travel. recently, I was testing my client's app on it and made lots of changes to the OS settings. Experimentation led to instability and the fastest way to get back is to reinstall the OS to a fresh start. I want it to be possible from a placewith out internet as well. On top of it, I just realized that I can't reinstall OS X even with wifi using the recovery console, it led to the screen saying 'Could not find installation information for this machine. Contact AppleCare'. I paid a per-incident AppleCare call and they said they do not support non-internet recovery anymore and I have to take it to a care center to reinstall the OS for me(in the post laptop era, owner has no control of OS installation any more). Probably I have to end up paying to reinstall OS X, but I think I would use a disk cloner from now on.

  • NO !, reinstall from where ? – Ruskes Apr 19 '13 at 9:47
  • I tried the reinstall through the recovery mode with a wifi connection and ended up with "Could not find installation information for this machine. Contact AppleCare" – iceman Apr 21 '13 at 9:05

You could make a bootable drive with the Lion installer. To do so, you'll need the original Lion Installer, downloadable from the Mac App Store once you've purchased it and a USB flash drive with a GUID Partition Table format. You'll find here a step by step guide for the formatting part. Afterwards just:

  1. Go to the Applications folder and find the installer, which should be called Install Mac OSX Lion.app.
  2. Right+click on it and choose Show Package Content from the contextual menu.
  3. Under Contents / Shared Support you'll find a file called InstallESD.dmg, drag it to Disk Utilities' sidebar and mount it.
  4. Select the installer and click the Restore button.
  5. The installer should appear in the Source field, if not, drag it there.
  6. Connect the USB and drag it into the Destination field.
  7. Click Restore.

If everything was done correctly, you'll, then, have a drive from which you'll be able to boot just by holding C while restarting your computer.

  • without Internet ? – Ruskes Apr 19 '13 at 10:35
  • @Buscar웃 The installation is done without internet, which is the OP's primary concern. There are multiple ways he can download the installer (at work, public places, a friend's house, a friendly neighbor) without the limitation of having to perform the installation in that exact moment. – Thecafremo Apr 19 '13 at 10:44
  • I paid for AppleCare technical support on a per incident call and they said that I should take it to a AppleCare center and pay more to get the OS reinstalled. I am trying to find out more info about this, but the Apple tech support could not tell me whether the OS X image is linked to the hardware config. I have a Lion OSX image from my MACBook pro mid 2011. I wonder if i can use it. – iceman Apr 21 '13 at 9:09
  • @Thecafremo Alternatively you could use liondiskmaker.com – Simon Oct 9 '13 at 10:25
  • You can download loin ISOs from torrents worth a mention. – William Mar 18 '17 at 20:00

If your onboard recovery partition is not working you can easily reinstall it by simply downloading and running this app from Apple.



I would suggest the following: Because it might be hard to find the Lion Installer, consider anyway to upgrade to OS X Yosemite, which is a much faster and polished OS and since you are on Lion I don't see any reason to stay there.

Download the Yosemite installer through AppStore. It's free.

Purchase a flash drive 16GB or 32GB. Format it with GUID partition and install Yosemite on it. After installation, remember to also put a copy of the Yosemite installer on the flash drive.

Also upgrade your macbook air to Yosemite. Now you can boot your mac through the flash drive and can run Yosemite installer anytime. You will also have access to the disk utilities in order to format your internal drive if needed.

Note, that if you have enough hard-disk space in your mac, you could just split it into 2 partitions and do the above instead of using the flash drive. It will be generally faster as a procedure. The cons are that it will reserve hard-disc space and also you wont' be able to format the full disc. Also, it won't help you if your hard-disk encounter bigger issues or mechanical problems and need a complete format or replace.

  • I would advise against installing Yosemite on an older computer if you can avoid it. The added transparency effects decrease overall performance, and disabling them in accessibility makes the new design look super ugly imo. It's also one of the buggiest macOS releases I've used. – Wowfunhappy Aug 29 '17 at 14:01
  • Is it a Mid 2012 with flash drive too old to run any of the recent OS X quite efficiently? Also, there can be any comparison between 10.7 and 10.10 (the OS X at the time) in any terms including performance? So what you would advise? To stay with 10.7? What you would advise for my MacBook Pro 2009? To uninstall El Capitan and Install Snow? And you downvoted today my answer that was suggesting the obvious back in 2015... Non-sense mate... @Wowfunhappy – FFrewin Aug 29 '17 at 15:56

I'm ignoring the OP's problem, but you can normally reinstall OS X from the recovery partition without needing any external drive.

To erase and reinstall OS X:

  1. Start from the recovery partition by holding command-R on startup
  2. Erase the OS X partition from Disk Utility
  3. Choose Install OS X

To reinstall OS X without erasing the current installation:

  1. Start from the recovery partition by holding command-R on startup
  2. Choose Reinstall OS X

See these Apple KB articles:

OS X Lion: Erase and reinstall Mac OS X
OS X Mountain Lion: Erase and reinstall OS X
OS X Mavericks: Erase and reinstall OS X
OS X Lion: Reinstall Mac OS X
OS X Mountain Lion: Reinstall OS X
OS X Mavericks: Reinstall OS X
OS X: About OS X Recovery

  • The fact that none of those methods works without an internet connection, is probably the reason for the downvotes. Also, starting an answer with "I am ignoring the question" is asking for trouble ;) – Scott Earle Oct 15 '14 at 2:09

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