Does the OSX license follow the hardware?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Gjwilly, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    Joined:
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    SF Bay Area
    #1
    Total newbie question.

    Windows laptops usually have a sticker with the software license key right on the laptop.
    No matter how many times the laptop changes hands or how many times the OS gets upgraded, one can always return to the OS that was pre-installed (provided one can get access to the install media) by using the license key from the sticker.

    So how does OSX work?
    If I buy a used Mac laptop and it has a newer OS installed than what was originally on the machine when sold, could that original OS be re-installed?
    How would one go about doing that?
     
  2. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    #2
    I think Internet Recovery will install whatever version of OS X created the partition (so, it wouldn't be the older version.) I may be wrong on that, though.

    Note that there are no license keys on OS X and you can install a license on as many macs as you own. So if you already own a license of Lion or Mountain Lion you could go on your used Mac, log in on the MAS, and download away. Of you don't have a license, you can purchase a copy of an older OS from Apple for $20.
     
  3. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #3
    If the machine was updated to a newer OS and you went to reinstall you would be prompted for the AppleID used to purchase the update. Not having that, you would be at a dead end. You could always login to the App Store and buy the newer version yourself.

    That said, with Mavericks now being free, this is all a bit moot. As long as the used machine comes with Snow Leopard 10.6.6 or later, you can just login to the App Store with your own AppleID and get Mavericks free then overwrite the older OS.
     
  4. Tyler23 macrumors 603

    Tyler23

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    Atlanta, GA
    #4
    The OP wants to know if he buys a used computer with, say, Mavericks installed, if he can then reinstall the original version of OS X that the computer came with. He wants the original software, not the latest.
     
  5. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #5
    Ah... I see that now. I misread. So do you not know the answer to his question? :confused:

    ========

    OP>> It depends on how old the machine is. If it is a pre 2011 machine, it came with the original OS on a grey installer DVD and you would need that to reinstall. There would be no serial number to deal with. If it is 2011 or later it would come with Lion OS X 10.7 or Mountain Lion 10.8. Those OS versions did not have installer DVDs and the OS is installed over the Internet using a recovery tool in the system firmware. So if you wanted to get back to the original OS on those system you would hold command-option-r at boot to enter Internet recovery and erase the drive then download the old OS. Apple's servers would give you the OS free since it is tied the the system serial number.

    Here is an article that explains it in more detail.
     
  6. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040

    DewGuy1999

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    #6
  7. Gjwilly thread starter macrumors 68030

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    SF Bay Area
    #7
    Exactly.
    Thanks

    Great!
    So newbie question #2.....
    How do you connect to the internet to do Internet Recovery without an OS loaded? Does the bios have a place to enter WiFi passwords or would one need a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter?


    Interesting read.
    Thanks
     
  8. Cougarcat, Oct 30, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013

    Cougarcat macrumors 604

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    Sep 19, 2003
    #8
    There's no "bios," that's a PC term. But yes, internet recovery will let you connect to a protected wifi network. (Read the article you were given, it tells you this!)
     
  9. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

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    #9
    That's right, but if you can, prefer Ethernet over wifi, as you will have to download ~5 GB.

    Much more reliable.
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #10
    It is handled in the system firmware. When you do that command-option-r boot it triggers the utility in firmware and you will get a screen to enter your wifi password (must be WPA and not WEP), then after that a recovery utility is downloaded and can be used to install the OS.
     

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