Resolved How to download Lion on a modern Mac?

Rigby

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Original poster
Aug 5, 2008
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San Jose, CA
I have a somewhat tricky situation. I have an old Mac Mini (mid 2007 model) that I would like to upgrade to Lion. However, the only way to get Lion these days is through the app store. But the Mini only came with Leopard, which doesn't have the app store. :rolleyes:

Since I have several modern Macs, I purchased Lion anyway (thinking I could download and install it on a USB stick and use that to reinstall the old Mini) and it is now in my Purchased list. However, the stupid app store refuses to let me download it on any of my other Macs, saying "This version of Mac OS X cannot be installed on this computer". Duh, I know that, but I want to download it anyway! Is there some trick how I can create an installation medium of my purchased Lion?
 
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tywebb13

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Apr 21, 2012
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You could trick it into thinking it can be installed. You could run a snow leopard server virtual machine and download lion in that.
 

Rigby

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Original poster
Aug 5, 2008
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Thanks, but unfortunately I don't have Snow Leopard (otherwise I could just install that on the old Mini and update to Lion through the app store).

But your suggestion gave me another idea and it seems to work: I created a custom VM for OS X 10.7 in VMware Fusion (to ensure that it has a Lion-compatible hardware ID), but installed Mountain Lion in the VM. To my surprise, the ML app store actually allows me to download Lion. There is no progress bar in the app store, but I can see the Lion installer downloading in Launchpad now. :)

I don't understand why Apple makes us jump through hoops like that ...
 

Nermal

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Dec 7, 2002
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Good to hear that you got it working, but it *might* work if you hold Option while clicking on the download button.
 

Rigby

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Aug 5, 2008
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I tried Option, didn't work. I think the key is that the hardware ID must be compatible with the OS version you're downloading. Since Lion doesn't run on recent Macs anymore, the app store won't let you download it.

Anyway, I made a USB stick from the installer DMG and the old Mini (with some hardware upgrades) is now running as a nice little server under Lion. :)