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Re-downloading Lion

I have to say I'm getting lot's of positive response to this week's ScreenCastsOnline free tutorial - SCO0305a - Installing Lion - Excellent, especially as this week it's a free episode (feel free to circulate the link!). The tutorial takes you through the full install process as well as demonstrating who to create a bootable USB or DVD version of Lion, so that you can install Lion on multiple machines but download it only once, as well as using it as a backup.

However, I've received a lot of emails from people who installed Lion before watching the tutorial, and are now unable to create the USB installer drive so they have a backup, or to use on other Macs. The issue is that the standard install deletes the Installer file as part of the process so if you don't copy it, it's gone.

Even worse is that once Lion is installed, it doesn't seem to allow you to re-download the installer, perhaps forcing you to buy the official USB drive when available next month - for a cool $60.

Well the good news is that you can re-download the installer, even if you have Lion installed.

Here's how:

  1. Open the Mac App Store
  2. Select the Purchased Icon
  3. Find the entry for Lion - it will show it as installed
  4. Hold down the ⌥ key and Click on the OS X Lion label next to the icon
  5. When the Lion app page opens, the installed button changes to install
  6. Click on the Install button
  7. You'll get an warning dialog: Warning Dialog
  8. Hold down ⌥ and click OK
  9. Hold down ⌥ and click on the Install button again
  10. The Lion OS X installer should start downloading again
  11. Follow the instructions in the original tutorial SCO0305a to make a bootable USB or DVD image.

You're welcome!

Update: Macworld have also posted some alternative methods incase this scenario doesn't work:

If you've already installed Lion—so it's too late to move the installer—you've probably discovered that the Mac App Store claims that Lion is already installed and prevents you from downloading it again. As I explained in our main Lion-installation article, you should be able to force a re-download using one of the following three tricks: First, Option+click the Buy App button in the Mac App Store. If that doesn't work, switch to the Mac App Store's main page and then Option+click the Purchases button in the toolbar. If that doesn't work, quit the Mac App Store app and then hold down the Option key while launching the Mac App Store again. One of these three procedures should get rid of the "Installed" status for Lion and let you download it.

Reader Comments (22)

you can option click purchased as well. That will let you re download the installer

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIvar

Thanks Don. This tip alone more than covered the cost of this years Screencastsonline Membership! ;-)

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBruce G

An alternative is to move the Lion Installer out of the Application File. After installation the installer will not be deleted.

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLion Start Up Disk

Don, that does not work for me. The "Installed" button does not change to "Install". I wonder why..


July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid DelMonte

Thanks Don, Just what I needed to know!

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Holland

Thanks for posting this Don and notifying your members about this trick!

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteven Clark

Doesn't work for me, I have tried all combinations of key presses, it either goes to the info page or does nothing. :-(

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLMaui

This is not working for me. When I option click the Lion icon it changes from Installed to $29.99. If I then click on this it asks for my password to purchase again.

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve J

Thanks don! Great service!

July 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

There is a trick to get this to work. You cannot just option-click the purchased tab or the Lion tab. This will only work if you actually have lost the installer app. You can try it (if you still have the by moving the app to the trash. (You do not have to delete).

Then it works great.

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid DelMonte

Instead of option clicking on the lion icon option click on the purchases icon at the top of the app store app. This should make the lion button revert to install again. If it does not try to option click purchased again.


July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIvar

Nice one Don but lucky that I also created a USB bootable drive before installing Lion. It's a handy tip I'll keep on record though.

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdavid shortle

It doesn't work for me either, this is really curious, I tried everything mentioned in the comments as well as in the blog and it still shows Installed. Very strange, the response to different people.

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave Flory

None of the tips in the post or comments work for me guys.

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMoridin

To those who cannot get this to work, are you sure that you do not have a copy of the somewhere?

I found I had a copy in my Dropbox folder and that was enough to cause the option-click not to work..

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid DelMonte

Interesting. I wonder why it works for some but not for others. I tried all the variations described above and got nada. Just stays on INSTALLED whatever approach. Curious as to whether anyone else found another way.

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Bruning

Well, I finally got it to work, tho I tried so many variations I forget now which one worked! I think it was one of the MW suggestions.

One thing I noticed going thru the actual procedure, when I went to drag the Install Copy out of APPS folder and into another, it would only make an alias (with me not holding any modifier keys down). But, if I held COMMAND down it would make the desired copy. Similar thing happened when I tried to drag the Install Copy into Disk Utility, except instead of an alias, I got nothing. Held down the COMMAND key and it moved over fine.

Anyone have any idea what's with that odd behavior??

August 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Bruning

You have keep the OPTION key held down whilst clicking purchases, and don't release it until it displays the list... the icon against Lion should then change to INSTALL.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

thanks paul, its working for me, i want to download 10.7.1 and keep it just in case....

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralvin

Lion came installed on my Air and using all the variations above I can't buy a copy. It tells me a newer version is already installed and if I want to replace it I have to delete the existing app and if I option click it tells me it cannot complete my purchase. Doesn't apple want my $30?

September 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob

It works for me!!!
You have to keep in mind that the ⌥ is the alt key NOT the cmd key!

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Looks like is unavailable now?

October 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJPQ

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