How Do I Get Mac OS X Lion?

September 12, 2011, By Christian Cawley

One of the great things about Mac OS X is that you don’t have to break the bank to get an update to the operating system. Unlike Windows, the latest version of OS X costs just a few dollars, and with the added benefit of being able to install the software on any Mac in your house (different rules apply for corporate users, however) it’s clear that Apple really wants you to upgrade to the latest release of OS X.

However, this isn’t without its problems. For a start off, your Mac computer might be unsuitable for running OS X Lion, something that would require a full system upgrade.  This might be beyond your budget, and as a result the cheap upgrade to the latest OS X would be pointless.

How Do I Get Mac OS X Lion?

System Requirements

The last version of OS X was Snow Leopard, an operating system that had dropped support for PowerPC-equipped iMacs and MacBooks. From this point on, only Macs that included an Intel processor could run the latest OS X release, and this pattern has continued with OS X Lion. This time around, the operating system is available only to Macs with multi-core CPUs. This means that Intel Core CPUs cannot run Lion, although Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs can.

Additionally, Lion requires double the 1 GB system RAM of its predecessor, although many would recommend installing more than 2 GB (remember that you can check the currently installed RAM via Apple > About This Mac).

Finally, you will also require the App Store to upgrade you version of OS X. If you’re on a system that will run Lion but you haven’t upgraded to Snow Leopard, then you won’t have access to the App Store. To do this, you will need to first purchase Snow Leopard and then upgrade from this to Lion.

Note that following complaints from offline users, Apple is offering USB sticks with OS X Lion ready to be installed.

Licenses and Free Upgrade!

As explained above, a single license for Mac OS X Lion allows you to install the operating system on any computer in your home that is capable of running Mac software. This is in contrast to the licensing for business and education users, where Lion and Lion Server must be purchased via the web from Apple’s business store. Business volume licenses are $29.99 per computer or $49.99 for maintenance contracts, and at least 20 licenses are required.

However for domestic users, upgrading can be free! All you need to do is check the date of when you purchased your Apple computer. If it was purchased from an authorized reseller between July 21st and the release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, you may qualify for a free upgrade!  Should you suspect that this is the case, head to for more details.

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