Re-Download Mac OS X Lion from the App Store

Aug 2, 2011 - 103 Comments

re-download Mac OS X Lion from the App Store

Need to redownload Mac OS X Lion from the Mac App Store? If you plan on making an install drive but you already upgraded to Lion, you’ll need to redownload the Installer so that you can extract the DMG file. This is the sure fire way to do it, in short, hold the Option key for everything:

  • Open the Mac App Store
  • Hold the Option key and click on “Purchases”
  • Option-click on “OS X Lion” from the purchased app list
  • “Installed’ should now say “Install” which allows you to re-download OS X Lion, otherwise you can Option-click again on the “Install” button to start re-downloading OS X Lion, shown in the screenshot above

Some users have trouble with that method, and instead they can try holding Option while launching the App Store in addition to when clicking on the greyed out installer next to OS X Lion, allowing you to download again. Option-clicking on OS X Lion from Purchases and then the “Install” button from the OS X Lion App Store page hasn’t failed us, but there do seem to be conflicting reports.

If you already bought Lion, you should not be charged twice for any additional downloads of Lion. If you’re already running OS X Lion and you do this, you’ll get a pop-up warning that says “A newer version of this app is already installed on this computer” but you can click again and download anyway.

This is the same trick you use to install Lion final over the GM build (they are the same build number unless you have a 2011 MacBook Air or Mini), and really the primary purpose of this is so that you can make a Lion install drive or use the recently available easy Lion Disk Maker tool. We probably should have posted this much earlier to clear up any potential confusion, but better late than never right?

Thanks to our commenters for the reminder

Update: The instructions have been clarified to hopefully alleviate some of the confusion a few commenters have had. This tip has been verified multiple times on different Macs with both OS X Lion and Snow Leopard, here is a screenshot of OS X Lion re-downloading from the App Store within Mac OS X Lion:

Re-downloading Mac OS X Lion from the App Store in Mac OS X Lion

In other words, it works, we promise! Option-click that Install button!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

103 Comments

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  1. Will says:

    Was reading through your article on re-downloading Lion. What I’m curious about is, if I buy a new computer with Lion pre-installed is there a way to use that purchase of Lion to upgrade other Macs in my household assuming they can handle Lion of course? What do you think?

  2. Tom says:

    Doesn’t work for me.

  3. wtaf says:

    hold option for everything? what?

  4. fergy says:

    worked for me with no charge…..

  5. zinga tu madre says:

    You can also option click the Buy button if you already own it, works every time

  6. EDM9313 says:

    It did not work for me holding the left option key I had to use the right option key. I do not know why this is.

  7. [...] you would need to do so from a Mac with Snow Leopard (10.6.8) installed on it. Well, the folks at OSXDaily have found a solution to redownload the installer from a Lion PC. Follow along below to redownload [...]

  8. Hayo Baan says:

    The option key press (left or right) does not work for me on Lion. Perhaps this has something to do with the version of the store? (I’m in the Dutch store).

  9. Nomen Nescio says:

    Doesn’t work for me either– neither right or left option key (nor both)!

  10. Dave says:

    Except…

    It doesn’t work.
    I can’t say why but obviously some folks can’t get this to work. I had to call @ support for the 10.7 upgrade from 10.6.8, and one of the suggested workarounds was exactly these instructions.

    They didn’t work. Fortunately, I made a USB drive install file straight away so I could have done a reinstall if needed.

    The support guys tried 3 times to get this ‘re-download’ to work and were unsuccessful.

    As it turns out the fix to my upgrade was much simpler.

  11. Dosenwurst says:

    Cool it works! Thx for the hint!!

  12. ted says:

    Doesn’t work.

    I look forward to reading more articles on here about things that don’t work.

    • Paul says:

      LOL, yes it does work, please read the instructions before posting a comment like that.

      Option-click on OS X Lion from the Purchases tab, then click the “Install” button to redownload the installer app.

      I updated the post to clarify instructions, apologies if they were confusing.

      • Dan says:

        No it doesn’t work.

        • Paul says:

          Yes, it does work. Please read the instructions.

          • Pandora says:

            Doggone it Paul, quit telling us to re-read the instructions. I did and I had a friend come over and read as well.

            It failed for both of us.

            Clicking the option key (left or right, multiple USB and BT keyboards) when launching, when clicking the Purchases button, etc. most emphatically did not work. If clicking the option key doesn’t do anything when you click the Purchases button, then you are nowhere. You can’t even try to click on the Lion purchase.

            Please acknowledge the fact that there are a number of us who have read the instructions and who have failed to get any results.

            Please note that one of the commenters above had also gone through Apple’s support line, and these same instructions failed him.

            What is obviously working for you is also obviously not working for some of us (for who knows what reason but it’s not through lack of reading and comprehending the instructions) is no reason to lash out like that. Try to figure out why it isn’t working for us. I’ve done my due diligence by using different keyboards and people, with no success.

          • Paul says:

            Pandora, thanks for the feedback. I will review the process again shortly and attempt to clarify the instructions, because I assure you it does work.

  13. [...] clarifying the instructions on how to re-download Mac OS X Lion from the App Store I discovered a neat little trick; you can cancel [...]

  14. joe says:

    DIdn’t work for me at first, but playing around it did. Use option-click until you get somewhere. For me I had to click on the $29.99 again, get an error, do that again, and then finally I got an error where it let me continue to download.

    Thanks for posting this.

  15. joe says:

    So where does the file go when it’s downloading? I see it in the Launcher, but I can’t tell if it’s proceeding (perhaps just moving very, very slowly). But it’s a mystery to me where the temporary file is located while it’s downloading.

  16. [...] 記事元: Re-Download Mac OS X Lion from the App Store. [...]

  17. Nomen Nescio says:

    On further review….still didn’t work with iMac using Apple aluminum wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse set up for right and left clicks nor when resetting mouse for only single click. However, worked just fine on my older MacBook with built in single click button/track pad.

    If I get some time, I’ll pair the Magic Mouse — and maybe the wireless keyboard–to the MacBook and see what happens. I think I’ve got a corded Apple keyboard around someplace too and maybe plug that into the trials too.

  18. jonnimar says:

    I used alt key while clicking on installed….and it worked.

  19. Soulpatch says:

    iMac with Lion preinstalled. I got the message about a newer version being already installed (preinstall is 11A511a), then an error about insufficient funds. I put in a credit card number, and it let me start the download. It’s about 3/4 done downloading. I’ll post an update when it’s done about whether or not I get billed for the thirty bucks.

  20. Soulpatch says:

    Okay, yeah, it looks like they did charge me for the download.

  21. [...] już zainstalowany ten system (w Mac App Store Lion pojawi się jako Installed), to podpowiadam (za OS X Daily), że należy kliknąć z wciśniętym klawiszem Alt/Option w zakładkę „Purchased”, a [...]

  22. DavidE says:

    I ended up having to hold the fn key along with the right-side Option key on every selection to finally get this to work

  23. Barry Forntaine says:

    Quit the Mac App store then hold the option key and click on purchases. Where is this purchases button? If it’s within the App store menu system, I can’t click on it because you told me to quit the App store immediately prior to clicking on the option key.

    • Paul says:

      Oops. Reopen the Mac App Store, hold down Option while clicking on “Purchases” and then option-click on “OS X Lion”, the ‘installed’ button will turn into ‘install’ allowing you to re-download.

      Thanks for catching the typo!

  24. B says:

    still doesnt work for me..i tried holding down the option key as i went through and clicked the install button but the circular wheel just keep spinning after i clicked and nothing happened

  25. SK says:

    Thank you guys! You saved my life, literally :) The simple option+click method didn’t work for me, but the I tried holding the Option while launching the App Store in addition to when clicking on the greyed out installer, and it worked.

  26. LtB says:

    For anyone still trying to re-download Lion and having trouble, try restarting your MacBook, waiting for all of the startup processes to finish, then press and hold the left “option” key while clicking the Mac App Store icon, Purchases icon, and then the greyed-out “Installed” or highlighted “Install” button on the Lion row. When I tried releasing the “option” key between clicks, it did not work and the Lion button always showed “Installed”. When I held the “option” key down without releasing from start to finish, the Lion button showed “Install” and allowed me to make that last “option-click” move. Thanks to all of you for your expertise. You’ve helped me greatly.

  27. John says:

    If you have the “Install Mac OS X Lion” app in your Applications folder (or perhaps elsewhere other than in the trash) then the option-click doesn’t work. There may, of course, be other reasons why it doesn’t work, but for me, once I trashed the Lion installer, I was allowed to re-download, using the option-click method described in this post. Until I trashed the previous installer, no combination of keys and clicks would allow me to re-download.

    • Richard says:

      This is it… I was getting frustrated and then I saw your comment… and now it’s working… thanks man!

    • brynte says:

      Thanks, this made my day (well, night..).

    • Scott says:

      This did it for me. I kept holding the option key through launch to purchases to install and could not get it to work. The odd bit was that the App Store indicated that Lion was “Installed” when in fact the computer was running Snow Leopard. Once I saw this post, I looked in my Applications folder and low and behold there was a “Install Mac OS X Lion” app. I just double clicked and installed Lion. Obviously, the App Store only looks for the Install app on the computer and doesn’t actually check what OS is installed.

      In short, if you can’t get Option-clicking to work, make sure the Install app isn’t already on your computer.

  28. Dan Key says:

    Thank you John, just for testing purpose I’ve tried everything without success (different keyb., left and right Option key, …) your tip is the solution: unmounting the HD where I saved the “Install Mac OS X Lion” solved the issue, the button (finally) changed to “Install”.
    Thank you again.

  29. ksv says:

    Your genius man, It worked perfectly
    thank you

  30. [...] Installed button while holding the option key. This will allow you to re-download the installer as mentioned here.If your computer is already running Lion and you want to do a fresh reinstall you do NOT need a [...]

  31. Nicolas says:

    OS X Lion not even in a Purchase list. I’ve bought macbook air recently with 10.7.1 version. Could it be a fix Apple did to stop this kind of download?

    • Matt says:

      If your MacBook Air shipped with OS X Lion then you have a specific version for the MacBook Air and it can’t be redownloaded except through Internet Restore

  32. [...] the “Install Mac OS X Lion.app” (here’s how to redownload Lion from the App Store) in your /Applications/ folder and drag that into the “New Virtual Machine Assistant” [...]

  33. suman says:

    its working pls read carefully.

  34. Meggeler says:

    Well, I got it to work (downloading now). I really needed it after after I wiped out my recovery partition. Now I’ll see what I can do with the DMG to help me restore it.

    I owe Carbon Copy Cloner another $25.00 so I can be here to join the conversation:)

  35. caleb says:

    Awesome! Thanks for the tip! Had no clue Option key had so much power!!

  36. Jak says:

    I have used the Option key and click on “Purchases” and it works just the way I wanted.

  37. GaryReg says:

    Great work folks. I installed Lion on my iMac and needed the download file to install on several MacBooks in the house, you’re articles told me how to do it, no sweat!

    Cheers,
    GaryReg

  38. KPOM says:

    Option key wasn’t working on MBAir with Spanish keyboard layout. Installed US keyboard layout and used right ALT key with success.

  39. cyvgl says:

    thanks its downloading first time – 2 things, 1) does does it try to reinstall again and 2) where does the download go to.

    thanks

    cyvgl

  40. Leslie says:

    None of this worked for me either. Option + Click just sat there. I found the install lion in the applications folder and sent it to the trash. When I opened the app store, and clicked on purchases, the installed button was changed back to install.

  41. andyh says:

    Hi, is there any way to redownload lion on a MacBook pro 15″ 2011 model that came with lion pre-installed? Holding option doesn’t change the “installed” button and lion doesn’t show in “purchased” section.

  42. tim says:

    Hi,
    i’ve tried all the suggestion and what i get is the “29.99″ label at the button instead of showing “install” or “installed”
    any idea?
    i’ve updated to the latest Lion (Patch), but does that make any different?
    kindly advice.

    :)

    • BEaver says:

      Nothing was working for me either. I got it to work by

      Opening App Store
      Go to Purchased tab
      Click the X next to Lion
      Close App Store
      Re-open appstore
      purchase button was restored
      Clicky!

      • tim says:

        Thanks for the input. the funny thing is i dont see OS X Lion in the purchased tab!
        i’m sure mine is Lion OS as i just bought the MBA one month ago and it’s the 2011 model.

        • Matt says:

          If your Mac comes with Mac OS X Lion installed, you don’t need to download it from the Mac App Store because it is automatically downloadable from the Recovery HD partition.

  43. Sutter says:

    This was failing for me for a long time but I finally got it!
    I have to share my solution, as it may help others.

    I never use the App Store and had removed it from my dock, I’d accessed it from the Applications folder to originally download Lion.

    The method above failed and failed UNTIL I tried re-placing the App Store in the dock, and Option-Clicking from there……BLAM! Works.

    I’m assuming the writer (Paul?) and his/her friends all have the App Store in the dock and assumed everyone else does and have thus failed to spot why the instructions were failing for some of us.

  44. Loren Wagner says:

    everybody is talkin about the option key, but nobody explains, where to find that option key?

    if got this on my keyboard (MBP):

    FN CTRL ATL CMD SPACE CMD ALT Cursor-keys

    which one is the option key?

    obviosly not the space and the cursor-keys…

    please help :)

  45. luke says:

    Works great! all i had to do was hold the option key then click around then it finally worked. Thanks so much guys!

  46. [...] from the App Store) or an OS X Lion USB drive – Tip: from a Mac running 10.7 Lion, you can re-download OS X Lion from the App Store without having to buy it again by simply holding down the option key when [...]

  47. Darren says:

    Got it working, after making the mistake that cmd was the option key -.-

    But anyway, does anyone know if it charges you a second time re-downloading Lion from Lion? Has anyone already done that? I want to make sure before potentially being charged again…

    I currently have Lion installed, but I want to go back to Snow Leopard. But before I format etc, I wanted to make sure I could get a copy so I can upgrade back to Lion in the future if and when I need (I did pay for it after all, I want a copy of the file so I don’t “lose” the £20.99).

    Thanks for any info! :)

    • Darren says:

      EDIT: For clarity, I meant I got it working so I could click the install, but didn’t yet as I wanted to know the answer to my question.

  48. Sean says:

    I could not get any of the above mentioned methods to work.

    I launched the App store, then went to Store –> View My Account. On the Account Information pane there should be an area for the cloud saying you have hidden purchases. View the hidden purchases and unhide them by selecting the proper button. Close App store. Launch holding down the option button. Then once the App store is open release the option key…then press it down again and selected the Purchased tab. You should see it available for download now. If not, retry some of the other techniques after you have unhid the purchase from the cloud.

    • Jared T says:

      BINGO! I actually just discovered this and was going to share it. I am glad I didn’t pay Apple an unnecessary $29.99, but instead unhid it. To clarify: I didn’t need to click the green Buy App button again!

      Note: I had to “view my account” twice because I had changed my apple id email address recently.

      I was trying to install Linux (first without refit, then with it) and somehow my EFI partition got wiped out (Disk Utility complains), and also my Recovery HD got wiped out. Fortunately the main Lion partition still boots for now. Eeep!

      • Jared T says:

        To clarify my situation:

        – I bought Lion on someone else’s Mac using my Apple ID.
        – I then bought a brand new Macbook Air (but 4,1 version.)
        – I changed my Apple ID
        – I didn’t have to re-buy, but could re-download using Sean’s method combined with the blog author’s method.

  49. [...] cre­ated a OSX Lion Boot DVD (re-downloaded it from the App Store) to rein­stall OSX. After swap­ping the disks I pressed the d key to boot from DVD. 25 Min­utes [...]

  50. [...] OS X Lion installer app ( che ri-scaricate dal Mac App Store [...]

  51. [...] Mac OS X Lion installer app ( che ri-scaricate dal Mac App Store ) [...]

  52. James says:

    Will it charge you if lion came with your mac, so you haven’t actually downloaded it from the app store?

  53. Phil says:

    ok after much reading here and much frustration that i couldnt simply walk into a mac reseller and “buy” a copy of lion of the shelf for my other pre 10.6 macs in the house heres what i did.

    Im running a mini as a media server which came with lion pre-installed.

    After reading all of the above and trying every which way people suggested heres what worked for me.

    Holding down “Option” while clicking on the app store icon.

    I kept holding it down untill the app store FULLY finished loading.

    I then saw in the main page of “top Paid” box Lion was now displaying the price where before it displayed INSTALLED.

    I held down “Option” again and clicked the button.

    I got the message saying older version blah blah and while still holding down “Option” clicked OK and then my download started.

    RESULT !

    Hopefully the rest of you will find it that easy …. eventually.

  54. eric says:

    FInally I got it to work using your 2nd method. Thanks a lot!!
    Press alt/option key + Click to open the Mac App Store, keeping the alt/opt key down clikc on Lion OS… and finally it start to download again.

  55. Anonnymouz says:

    Ok guys, it worked for me – Holding down the option/alt key for download.

    But… can someone, please, tell me where is the installer.

    Thanks a lot!

  56. aryo says:

    Help!!

    I suddenly deleting Lion from my purchase page on app store. btw, I get the free copy from redeemer code.

    If I re-download Lion using the same appleID, will it still be free or apple will charge me with 30$?

  57. M.Peltier says:

    What if you have cleared your purchased list? I was deleting things like games and clicked Lion instead. How do I make a back up of the installer now

    • Scott says:

      You can unhide and purchases that you’ve “deleted” by going to Account on the Featured page. There will be an option to “View Hidden Purchases”. From there you can “unhide” Lion.

  58. opm says:

    Thanks a lot!! Worked perfect for me. Now I can create a USB install disk for my MacBook 2,1 thank you!!

  59. GT Munich says:

    I found that it worked fine first time.

    I think the instructions would be a little clearer if they read:

    While keeping the option (alt) key pressed, click on App Store, then on purchases and then on the OS X Lion install button.

  60. Dan says:

    I have a MacBookPro (late 2011). It came pre-installed with Lion. I used this procedure to re-download the image, and YES I DID GET CHARGED.

    I have a case opened to get a refund, but it’s not likely.

    • Duer says:

      The MacBook Pro came with Lion pre-installed and it has a Recovery HD partition or drive to reinstall it. You can only redownload Lion if you bought Lion from the App Store to begin with, that’s pretty clear.

    • Ray says:

      I have 13 inch MBP late 2011 lion preinstalled
      Lion is not showing in my purchases
      would you please tell me which procedure do you mean?

      • Charles says:

        If you Lion came preinstalled you didn’t buy it from the Mac App Store and it’s only available on the Recovery HD partition. This article is about re-downloading OS X Lion from the Mac App Store after you have already paid for it.

  61. Mary Conlon says:

    Worked perfectly for me thank now I can re-install my iCal

  62. Simon says:

    Thank you so much! Just was I was looking for!

  63. Simon says:

    Thank you so much! Just was I was looking for!

  64. Manesh says:

    I bought Lion from the app store, but did not download it. I managed to get the software from CORE in SA, after proving to them that I had paid for it on the app store.

    I have tried the option key, but it remains on INSTALLED – and does not change to INSTALL.

    I can’t even update – because it says I need to log into another account (an email address @ core)

  65. Lohit says:

    Oh Man I am just fed up of this Mac now. I have 15 Inch 2.2 Hz MBP which is 3 months old, and once I switch it off, there is no guarantee that it’ll switch on again. I lost my 400GB of data once when it didn’t start, took it to the Apple Service Center who reinstalled Lion. Now again after 15 days from that, my MBP isnt starting, though it is starting in safe mode, but it doesnt attach pen drive or external hard disk so I can’t back up my data. I tried reinstalling LION from App Store and when it downloaded, and I proceeded with the install, it “quit unexpectedly”. Then I tried downloading it through disk utility while restarting the comp, and mid way of the download it asks ” Do you want to cancel download?” with the options of ” Cancel / Cancel Download”. I clicked Cancel, and it cancelled downlod. This happened twice (i clicked the other next time, but no luck). I have no clue what to do next. Can anyone help?

  66. tom says:

    will this work with all apps?
    or just with OS X Lion?

    because i’m having the same problem with a different app that i tried to download.

  67. tom says:

    i managed to download it!
    except in a completely different way…
    i continuously clicked on the logo of the app on its page, forcing the page to reload
    then, since there was a tiny bit of lag between the loading of the page and when the button would revert to “installed”, i took advantage of that and clicked on the button. After that, the button switched to “buy now”, and I accepted. Since i’d already purchased the app, though, it gave me the opportunity to download it again for free!
    problem solved ^_^

  68. [...] Grab the OS X Lion .dmg from the App Store. Here is how that works. [...]

  69. Ian says:

    Hi. My black MacBook will support Lion but not Mountain Lion. So, I bought and installed Lion. I then installed Sparrow mail client and had trouble making it the default so in a moment of madness I trashed Mail App. I now want to re install Lion so I can get mail.app back, but it’s no longer on App Store.

    Any suggestions welcome!

    ian

  70. sylvia says:

    I am unable to locate “Purchases” from the Apple Store? Where do I look?

  71. sylvia says:

    Found “Purchases”! I held down my right “Option” key, went to Apple Icon at left top of screen, and clicked on “App Store”. At the middle, top of the screen was the word Purchases. I signed in, option clicked on Lion, and it started downloading.

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