My Mac is currently running Mountain Lion. I want to install Lion as a dual boot option, for development testing.

I have downloaded the Lion installer from the App store and I have a fresh partition waiting.

When I run the installer, it only gives me the option to quit because my system is too new. The Mac hardware should be supported by Lion.

  • Did your Mac originally ship with a system older than Mountain Lion? If not then you may not be able to do this.
    – Mr Rabbit
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 16:34
  • 1
    If you are using this for development testing, would using OS X Lion as a virtual machine (using applications such as VirtualBox) be okay? If yes, I'll be happy to provide links and tutorials to get that working. Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 16:41
  • My Mac will support Lion, as I said. I would prefer to install directly to my drive since I'm all ready to do that but I'll take the links in case I don't get a better answer.
    – koan
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 19:03

1 Answer 1


Use Startup Disk, in System Preferences, to change your boot disk. From there select the second partition. Restart with the Lion setup on a USB drive. You can install it from there.

If the above doesn't work try holding down the option key while rebooting. That should bring up recovery mode. From there you should be able to select the target volume for the installation.

Do a quick google search on making a bootable disk image either on a USB drive or on a dual-layer DVD disk with Lion by using Disk Utility. This is the method I used to downgrade a Mac from Mountain Lion to Snow Leopard.

Let us know if you have tried the above options and what was the outcome.

Some useful links:

  • The second partition cannot be selected in System Preferences. If I hold down the option key during booting I can see two volumes: the main partition (Mountain Lion) and a 10.8 recovery volume; I haven't tried making a Lion USB set up yet, I suppose that's the next step
    – koan
    Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 8:54
  • Would a Lion installer on USB allow me to choose the install partition ?
    – koan
    Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 11:48
  • The Lion USB installer does allow you to choose the install partition; I used this to get Lion installed.
    – koan
    Commented Aug 17, 2013 at 20:42

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