How to install Lion on Mac that came with Mavericks installed?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by neuropulse, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. neuropulse macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008

    When I try startup from a Lion install DVD on my MacBook Pro that came with Mavericks installed it shows a grey screen with a circle with slash.

    How can I get around this? How do I make a multiboot system? How do I install Lion on a different partition or drive?

    Where is the information about what OS version it came with stored? How do I get rid of it? New drive? Zapping PRAM? Pressing something on the motherboard? What is the problem?

  2. madsci954 macrumors 68030

    Oct 14, 2011
    You can't. The oldest version of OSX that can be installed on a Mac is the one that shipped with the computer. Since it came with Mavericks, that's the oldest version that can be installed.
  3. neuropulse thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Boooo! :)

    I fond it hard to believe it violates the laws of physics to install Lion on it.

    So not even Apple could change it at the factory now?

    How does the computer know what OS it came with if I take out the hard drive and reformat it? Where is it stored?
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    But - you already said that your MacBook Pro came with Mavericks.
    If it was used, or a refurb that came with Mavericks, then it's _possible_ that you could "downgrade" to Mountain Lion.
    If you really do have a (non-retina) MacBook Pro, then that generation (from 2012 or older) would be able to boot to Lion.

    If you post your model identifier (from your System Information utility), such as MacBookPro10,2 - someone will quickly tell you exactly what system your Mac originally shipped with (which _might_ be different than what you have)

    To answer your REAL question (Why would Apple not allow older OS X versions to be installed?), the answer is simple: Your MacBook Pro has hardware that is too new for the older OS X Lion, which does not have driver support for your newer Mac.
    Again, you COULD try Mountain Lion, which might (or might not) work, depending on your exact MacBook Pro model.
  5. neuropulse thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    MacBook Pro Mid 2012 model MD101


    It is the oldest MacBook still for sale in Apple stores. It comes with Mavericks installed.
  6. bbfc macrumors 68030


    Oct 22, 2011
    Newcastle Great Park, England.
    If it comes with Mavericks then chances are it won't install Lion. Try using Internet Recovery and see what happens.

    Why do you want Lion installed? It wasn't a particularly good OS.
  7. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    That's likely not quite accurate. Your MacBookPro9,2 SHOULD run Lion - but you would likely not have any luck downgrading to Lion without the most current version of the Lion installer, which is 10.7.5
    Yours, when first released, June 2012, came with 10.7.4 installed - but a special build just for your model MacBook Pro.
    (Lion did NOT come on a DVD, and is not, IMHO, optimized to install from a DVD, even though it may appear to be possible. Much better to create a USB flash drive with the Lion installer. Diskmaker X utility will make one for you very neatly, on an 8 GB flash drive. You will need to download the Lion installer, which will give you the most current 10.7.5 version. Apple still makes that available, particularly if you have previously purchased it. (I just downloaded that full install through the App Store today, so I know that Apple still offers it)
    I also agree that Lion is not the greatest OS X version - Mountain Lion would probably be a better choice - then Yosemite when that is released.
  8. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    It's not physics, it's a matter of drivers, kernel extensions etc. An old OS won't have these for newer hardware.

    So unless you want to write your own and recompile an entire OS you're limited to whatever OS originally shipped on your machine when it was released.
  9. jedbanger macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    DeltaMac, could you please explain me where/how to get the latest Lion installer?
    I've seen it here, but it's 10.7, not 10.7.5

    I'm in the same situation. Bought a new mid 2012 13" MBP, which shipped with Mavericks but according to this chart ( should support Lion.

    (I REALLY need Lion due to a Time Machine backup)
  10. afsnyder macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2014
    Mavericks should be able to accept backups from Lion.. if not that'd be weird.
  11. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    If it shipped with Lion (and is therefore supported) you can take it to an Apple store and ask them to put Lion on it for you.
  12. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    You are incorrect.
    If you purchase Lion, you get a redemption code, which you use to download Lion through the App Store.
    When the Lion installer downloads from the App Store, you get the most up-to-date version (the last version) - 10.7.5
    I know it says 10.7 at the software page, but that's simply the particular designation for Lion (10.7)
    The download will be 10.7.5
    I'm certain about this, because I download Lion every few months, for no particular reason, except that I can.
    Mountain Lion also downloads as the latest version of 10.8 ...
  13. tywebb13 macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2012
    Yeah. DeltaMac is right.

    I had to buy Lion recently from the link jedbanger put there and when it downloaded it was version 10.7.5.
  14. neuropulse, Jun 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014

    neuropulse thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Well, those who said it was impossible were wrong.

    I removed the hard drive and installed Lion on it on another Mac, put it back in, and it works perfectly.

    Also, Thanks for the link to buy it. Once it is on one's App Store account, it should be directly installable.

    Shows you when someone answers "no", do not accept it and keep asking.
  15. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    But, you still can't install Lion natively on your MBPro, so you didn't prove that part wrong.
    All you did was use a different Mac to perform the install (because your MBPro won't allow it). You can boot and run a variety of other OS X versions on hardware that won't allow a native install of some versions of OS X. And, you were helped greatly by the fact that your MacBookPro9,2 was originally released with 10.7.4 - so it was likely that Lion would still boot and run, even though a native install of Lion is now blocked.
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    But you didn't install it, so the people weren't wrong. Hopefully things will be stable for you running a legacy OS on newer hardware. Good luck
  17. mrratburn macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2014
    I can't believe this hasn't been asked already, but why does the OP want to downgrade specifically to Lion in the first place?

Share This Page