macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001


Newly-introduced Macs -- namely Mac minis and MacBook Airs introduced today -- have a new feature called "Internet Recovery" that downloads and installs OS X Lion even if your Mac has a failed or blank hard drive.

Much of the concern around Lion being download-only (though it will be available via USB key) was how to do a clean install after a hard drive replacement, for instance. For new Macs, it sounds like it will be very easy.
Lion 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.

Lion 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, Lion Internet Recovery will download and start from a Recovery HD image. From there, you are offered all the same utilities and functions [as Lion Recovery].
This new Internet Recovery then passes off to the standard Lion Recovery mode that is available to all OS X Lion installed Macs.

Internet Recovery is only available on newly-introduced Macs. Existing Mac owners faced with a completely blank drive will have to reinstall Snow Leopard first, or install Lion from self-made DVD or Apple-sold USB key.

Article Link: 'Internet Recovery' Lets New Macs Install OS X from Blank Hard Drive


macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
It seemed like Apple first forgot about this entirely, but I'm glad they figured something [elegant] out. Gotta love that EFI.
Edit: darn, looks like it's only with new Macs from this day onwards.
Last edited:


macrumors 6502a
Aug 10, 2010
They should make an easy eay to create tour own backup dvds. Like on a lot of PCs you just run a program and insert a dvd.


macrumors 603
Nov 30, 2004
Toronto, ON
I called it :)

I called it in May :cool:

Are you guys sure you're Apple users? Think Different.

I believe that Apple will put permanent code on your Mac that will allow you to download the OS without disks or even a bootable partition. Remember that MacBookAir and probably future MacBookPro's don't have optical drives. One way to do it is to modify the firmware to include a very rudimentary Mac App Store so that if you boot without an OS present, you can log in with your AppleID and the firmware will download Lion and install on a fresh HDD. A 1MB piece of code could do this and can fit on the firmware chip so that even if you swap out the HDD, you can boot without a disk.


macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
This is very cool. The only potential issue I see is if someone is behind one or more firewalls and needs to configure proxy settings. What then?


macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
So instead of taking 30 mins to do a fresh install, it'll take 30 mins + up to 3 hours depending on your internet connection!

Apple should just have a utility to create your own USB key. I know it can be done quite easily, but Apple should have an official way.


macrumors 603
Oct 19, 2005
Interesting. Some flavors of linux had a web install feature for a few years at least, but I personally didn't have the patience then nor now. With a blazing fast internet connection though this is nice.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 27, 2010

This made me laugh:

Posted by Bear Your suggestion is just so laughable. There is not enough room in the firmware memory to do something like that. Just think of everything that's needed in that space. That includes the public keys for the App Store.

Also, it needs to be code that can handle net interruptions and the like. And the amount of time to download an OS from the internet is not trivial.

For people who know what they're doing, have an bootable Lion DVD (or USB stick) makes sense.

For people who don't know what they're doing - they will get a bad hard disk replaced by Apple. And Apple will help them do that recovery at least up to a certain point. And hopefully they have a time machine backup to help them the rest of the way.

Just another way that Apple pushes the boundaries, and finds other (better) way around problems.


macrumors 6502
Nov 24, 2009
NEW Jersey / USA
iCloud is being put through its paces

I think this could be considered part of Apple's iCloud services, and it seems the new server farm in North Carolina has its work cut out for it. Apple also allows local user account's passwords to be reset via Apple ID, further integrating Apple's online services into Lion desktops.

I wonder if current model's firmwares could be upgraded to support this.


macrumors regular
Jan 2, 2011
Awesome. Thank you Apple for giving me something to shove in my dad's face at lunch. We work together and even carpool during the summers since my mom watches my kids. This morning as we were driving to work, I was mentioning how Lion was going to be a download. My dad was very taken aback by this as he always wants a disk for everything.


macrumors 6502a
Nov 10, 2004
They should make an easy eay to create tour own backup dvds. Like on a lot of PCs you just run a program and insert a dvd.

Just right click on the installer and "show package contents". Then burn the disk image you'll find inside.


macrumors 603
Nov 30, 2004
Toronto, ON
Nice feature. But it'd be cool if some of the older models were included in this...

Its the nature of technology. You want new stuff, you gotta get the new stuff.

Older Macs have several officially supported options:

- Install the Snow Leopard DVD or USB Key that came with your Mac, then upgrade to Lion
- Buy the USB key
- If you have a much older Mac that didn't come with Snow Leopard, then have a Genius perform the restore for you.

It becomes progressively less convenient the older your Mac is but you already knew that when you bought it: eventually everybody's computer will become obsolete.


macrumors 603
Nov 30, 2004
Toronto, ON
This made me laugh:

Just another way that Apple pushes the boundaries, and finds other (better) way around problems.

Indeed it is funny. I've heard these kind of "Apple would never do that" arguments before so I just keep quiet until my prediction comes true. The one who laughs last laughs best ;)


macrumors 65816
May 1, 2007
Houston, TX
This is really a non-issue anyway. If you're smart enough to replace your own hard drive, you're smart enough to burn a Lion Install DVD from the "Install OS X Lion" app using information already available on the Internet.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.