'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
137 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
137 months ago
Just another sign the iPad 3 is coming this fall!

why?...
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wordoflife Avatar
137 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
137 months ago
Wow. Thank you, massive NC server farm.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nishi100 Avatar
137 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
137 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)

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