OS X Lion install requires Snow Leopard – Upgrade details

Thu, Jun 23, 2011


In a significant departure from the past, Apple is making OS X Lion available via paid download from the Mac App Store. Further, Apple will not be offering physical discs of its latest OS for the first time in company history.

This has naturally raised a number of interesting questions. For instance, what about computers without Internet access – say secure Government computers, for example. Or, what about a school with a fleet of Macs, will they have to go through the download process time and time again? And another one – what if a user wants to do a clean install of OS X Lion?

Earlier this week, an Apple user emailed Steve Jobs that very question.


I’m really exited about Lion, but I’m a bit anxious about the absence of any physical media in the event of a crash where I need to do a clean install. Will Lion still provide a way to make a bootable image in the event that I need to start from scratch?

Expectedly, Jobs’ response was brief:

From: Steve Jobs
Subject: Re: Lion clean install
Date: June 21, 2011 7:55:05 AM PDT
To: xxxx

You can clean install Snow Leopaard [sic] first.

So basically, here’s what we’ve gleaned.

First, Apple will most likely continue selling Snow Leopard as users won’t be able to jump from Tiger or even the original Leopard to Lion.

Two, this blows for Leopard users who will essentially have to purchase two new OS’s and complete two OS installs. At the very least we can be thankful that both Snow Leopard and OS X Lion upgrades are both only priced at $29.

But what about brand new Macs that ship exclusively with Lion – will Apple provide those users with a method to restore their OS? We imagine that they’d have to, with Mac Rumors speculating that they might offer a USB key solution as they currently do with the MacBook Air.

via MacRumors



4 Comments For This Post

  1. Allen Says:

    For secure gov’t computers can download it and bring it a DVD. I do believe the Lion install makes a partition to repair disks and reinstall.

  2. Jason Anderson Says:

    Not this again. That story forgets to point out one thing. It says you CAN install Snow Leopard first. You don’t HAVE to.

    You can ALSO have a clone to boot onto with a copy of the ISO and install from there.

    You can ALSO burn the ISO to a DVD or USB flash drive.

    You don’t HAVE to install Snow Leopard.

  3. Jim Sta. Isabel Says:

    I wonder: How can I download the Lion installer if I don’t have the AppStore installed?

  4. Rich Says:

    Yes you do! Did some checking on this. You DO need SL installed first. Checked the specs on the Lion page of the Apple Web site, spoke with retail and online store reps, and read an e-mail response from Steve Jobs himself about this. Regardless of how you install Lion — via download from the App Store or via USB drive — you must have SL installed first.

    From the Lion tech specs page:

    Technical Specifications

    General requirements

    Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor
    2GB of memory
    OS X v10.6.6 or later (v10.6.8 recommended)
    7GB of available space
    Some features require an Apple ID; terms apply.

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