Installing Lion: a complete guide

You just download it directly from the Mac App Store

Apple's Mac OS X Lion.

Apple's Mac OS X Lion.

At long last, Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) is available, and unlike previous versions of the Mac OS, getting it doesn't involve driving to the nearest Apple Store or retailer, or waiting for the FedEx truck to arrive — you just download it directly from the Mac App Store. The installation process itself is also easier and faster, requiring just a few clicks to install Lion over your existing copy of Snow Leopard. But just because Lion is the easiest-to-install version of Mac OS X yet doesn't mean you should make the jump without any preparation, or that there are no important decisions to make along the way.

We've installed Lion more times than we can count, on a variety of Mac models, in order to put together a guide that we hope will make the transition painless for you. In the articles below, we cover the requirements for running the next big cat; the things you should do to get your Mac ready; and the purchase and download processes. We walk you through the actual installation; recommend some post-install tasks; discuss some upgrade challenges; and help you decide if a "clean install" is for you. We've also got instructions for creating a bootable Lion installer disc or drive, as well as for installing Lion over Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5), provided you have the appropriate license to do so. Finally, we've got a hands-on look at Lion's new recovery mode.

Click on the links below to read on!

Get your Mac ready for Lion

Apple bills Lion as the easiest-to-install version of OS X yet, and that may be true. But there are still a few things you can do right now to ensure that your Mac is ready for 10.7.

Installing Lion: What you need to know

Now that Lion has been released, here's a look at the details of installing and setting up Apple's first download-only OS. We also take a look at some of the upgrade obstacles you might face.

How to make a bootable Lion install disc or drive

Though you can install Lion directly from your Mac's hard drive, a bootable installer drive or DVD can be more convenient for installing Lion onto multiple Macs, and if your Mac is experiencing problems, a bootable installer makes a handy emergency disk or disc.

Should you do a "clean install" of Lion?

Some Mac users prefer to do a "clean install" of each major new version of OS X, erasing their drive and starting over. We examine whether or not that's possible or, more important, advisable with Lion.

How to install Lion over Leopard

Installing Lion officially requires that you have Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) installed, but there are situations in which you may have a valid Snow Leopard license but want to go directly from Leopard (OS X 10.5) to Lion. It turns out there are several ways to do so.

Hands on with Lion Recovery

One of the most significant new features of Lion is that it lets you boot your Lion-equipped Mac into a special recovery mode that includes a few essential utilities for fixing problems, restoring files, browsing the Web, and even reinstalling Lion. Here's our comprehensive look at this new troubleshooting tool.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Applesoftwareoperating systems

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Frakes

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?