OS X: About OS X Recovery
About Lion Recovery
OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion includes a built in set of utilities in the Recovery System. Restart your Mac and hold down the Command key and the R key (Command-R), and keep holding them until the Apple icon appears, indicating that your Mac is starting up. After the Recovery System is finished starting up, you should see a desktop with a OS X menu bar and a "Mac OS X Utilities" application window. Note: If you see a login window or your own desktop and icons, it is possible that you didn't hold Command-R early enough. Restart and try again.
In order to reinstall OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion, you will need to be connected to an Ethernet or Wi-Fi network. The Wi-Fi menu item is in the upper-right corner of the screen. Click the icon to display all available Wi-Fi networks. Click your preferred network name and, if needed, enter a username and/or password.
OS X Internet Recovery
If you happen to encounter a situation in which you cannot start from the Recovery System, such as your hard drive stopped responding or you installed a new hard drive without OS X installed, new Mac models introduced after public availability of OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion, automatically use the OS X Internet Recovery feature if the Recovery System (Command-R method above) doesn't work. OS X Internet Recovery lets you start your Mac directly from Apple's Servers. The system runs a quick test of your memory and hard drive to ensure there are no hardware issues.
OS X Internet Recovery presents a limited interface at first, with only the ability to select your preferred Wi-Fi network and, if needed, enter the WPA passphrase. Next, OS X Internet Recovery will download and start from a Recovery System image. From there, you are offered all the same utilities and functions described above.
As with the Recovery System, reinstallation of OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion from OS X Internet Recovery requires an Internet connection. See "Supported network configurations and protocols" below.
Some computers that did not ship with OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion installed may have a software update available that allows them to use Lion Internet Recovery.
Restoring iLife applications after Internet Restore of OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion
If you erase install OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion on a new Mac that shipped with OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion installed, you can download iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand from the Mac App Store.
- After installation, start (up) from OS X.
- Double-click the App Store icon in the dock.
- Enter your Apple ID and password.
- Click Purchases.
- If you haven't previously accepted your bundled iLife applications within the Mac App Store, you should see your iLife applications appear in the Accept portion of the screen. Click Accept.
- You may be asked for your Apple ID and password once again. Your iLife applications now move to the Purchased section. These applications are part of the software that came with your Lion based computer. Your account will not be charged for them. Click Install to complete installation of your applications.
Requirements for reinstalling OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion
Reinstalling OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion via OS X Recovery requires broadband access to the Internet via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection. OS X is downloaded over the Internet from Apple when OS X Recovery is used for reinstallation.
OS X Recovery requires that DHCP be enabled on your chosen Wi-Fi or ethernet network, If you bought OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store, you will be prompted to enter the Apple ID and password you used to purchase OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion.
The OS X download is about 4 GB large; the time required to download will vary, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. If your usual or current Internet connection has requirements or settings not supported by OS X Restore, either change the settings to a supported configuration for the duration of your OS X reinstall, or seek out acceptable networks from which you are permitted to access the Internet (such as friends, family, Internet "cafe" establishments, or possibly your place of employment with appropriate permission).
Supported network configurations and protocols
What to do if the installer warns that no Recovery System can be created
Some disk partition configurations may result in the OS X installer reporting that it could not create a Recovery System. In these situations, even if you are permitted to continue the install, you should quit the install and create an external, bootable OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion hard drive with a Recovery System, first. You will be able to return to the upgrade to OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion on your computer's boot drive after creating the external Recovery System.
- Your storage device must have at least 13 GB available (after formatting) to install OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion and an Internet Restore partition.
- These steps will erase and reformat the storage device. This article will instruct you on setting up the storage device to use the GUID partition scheme and the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format, which are required to install Lion and an Internet Restore partition on your external storage device. You should back up any important files that are on the device to a different drive.
- This procedure will install a version of the OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion that is compatible with the Mac it was created with. Using this OS X system with a different kind of Mac may produce unpredictable results.
- Your computer's serial number will be sent to Apple to help authenticate your request to download and install OS X Lion.
Installing OS X on an external storage device
Use these steps to install Lion from your Mac to a different internal hard drive or to an external USB, FireWire, SDHC or SDXC card, or a Thunderbolt storage device.
Important: This will erase the storage device. A storage device that is already formatted to support Windows (formatted for FAT or NTFS file systems) will be reformatted. You should back up any important files that are on the device to a different drive.
- Attach a USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt storage device to your computer, or insert an SDHC or SDXC card into the SD card slot if your Mac has one.
- Launch Disk Utility, from the /Applications/Utilities folder, then click Continue.
Erase and reformat the storage device
- Click the attached storage device where it indicates it's size in GB.
- Click the Partition tab.
- Select "1 Partition" from the Partition Layout pop-up menu.
- Click Options. Note: Do not select more than one partition.
- Click the GUID Partition Table radio button, then click OK.
- In the format field, select Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
- Click Apply.
- Enter a name for the drive in the Name field.
- Verify that you wish to erase and reformat the selected drive by clicking Partition.
- After the reformatting process is finished, choose Quit Disk Utility from the Disk Utility menu.
Install OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion
If you completed your installation of OS X, your installer may have been removed after your successful first login to OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion. Mac App Store's Purchases page should show Install OS X as being "Installed", and disallow its download, when viewed from a computer running OS X.
To redownload the installer on a computer running OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion, press and hold the Option key while you click the Purchases tab. If the button to the right of the Install OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion item doesn't change to "Install" and allow you to download OS X, use Spotlight to search for "Install OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion" on your computer.
- Launch the Install OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion installer you downloaded from Mac App Store. The installer should be in the /Applications folder.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the OS X installation. Be sure you install Lion on the external storage device you've connected for this purpose, not your computer's boot drive.
- When installation to your external device is complete, you can re-run Install Mac OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion installer and upgrade the boot drive of your computer. A Recovery System will likely not be created, but if you need to reinstall or repair your boot drive at a later date, you can connect the external drive you just prepared and hold Command-R while restarting computer in order to boot from the external Recovery System.
Please note that Recovery System must be present on your computer's startup volume to use FileVault 2 (not an external Recovery System).
OS X Recovery provides a Safari browser with links to resources on www.apple.com. The recovery requirements listed above also apply to OS X Recovery's Safari browser and its ability to access help resources at Apple and elsewhere on the Internet. Plugins cannot be added to OS X Recovery's Safari browser.