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

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.

internet
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.

Top Rated Comments

ipedro Avatar
151 months ago
I called it :)

I called it in May (https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=12650332&highlight=#post12650332) :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.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gen Avatar
151 months ago
Just another sign the iPad 3 is coming this fall!

why?...
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wordoflife Avatar
151 months ago
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.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GeekLawyer Avatar
151 months ago
Wow. Thank you, massive NC server farm.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nishi100 Avatar
151 months ago
I called it in May (https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=12650332&highlight=#post12650332) :cool:
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.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kolax Avatar
151 months ago
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.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
ipad air purple

Deals: M1 iPad Air Hits Record-Low Prices at TigerDirect, Starting at $313.99 (48% Off) [Updated]

Saturday February 4, 2023 10:05 am PST by
Online retailer TigerDirect has slashed pricing on the M1 iPad Air in several colors, offering the base 64GB configuration for just $313.99 in Purple and Pink. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with TigerDirect. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. That's a savings of 48% compared to Apple's normal $599.00...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Blue

Apple Explains Why HomePod Was Released Again, Wi-Fi 4 Limitation, and More

Thursday February 2, 2023 7:57 am PST by
Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan recently spoke with Men's Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in wide-ranging interviews about the smart speaker. Apple discontinued the original full-size HomePod in March 2021 after multiple reports indicated that sales of the speaker were lackluster, but Chan told Men's ...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.3.1 Update for iPhone as Wait for iOS 16.4 Beta Continues

Thursday February 2, 2023 6:41 am PST by
Apple appears to be preparing an iOS 16.3.1 update for the iPhone, based on evidence of the software in our website's analytics logs this week. It's unclear when the update will be released, but it will likely be available at some point in February. The same logs have accurately foreshadowed the release of several previous updates, including iOS 16.0.3 and iOS 16.1.1 most recently, so they...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Apple's Second-Generation HomePod

Friday February 3, 2023 1:28 pm PST by
Today is the official launch day for the second-generation HomePod that was introduced in January, and we picked one up to compare it to the original HomePod that Apple discontinued in 2021. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, the second-generation HomePod looks a lot like the first-generation model, featuring the same rounded design and acoustic mesh...