Here’s a little known fact about the OS X Lion installer — it self-destructs after it completes the OS X Lion installation and if you are on a limited or capped ISP data plan that sucks. Especially if you plan on upgrading more than one Mac in your home or office. Luckily, you don’t need to download the OS X Lion installer on each computer and waste precious data or time.
You only need to download it once if you follow this quick and easy tip before installing OS X Lion the first time.
The fix is simple. All you need to do is make a backup copy of the installer application that was downloaded from the Mac App Store before you allow it to upgrade your Mac. If you’ve already updated your Mac to OS X Lion it is probably to late, but we’ll know in a moment about that.
If you’ve downloaded and installed OS X Lion check your Applications folder after the update to see if the Install Mac OS X Lion application still exists on your Mac. If it doesn’t you’ll have to re-download it again. If it does exist then you can use these steps to make a backup copy or to locate a copy of it you can copy to other Macs that need to be updated.
Here’s how to make a backup copy of the OS X Lion installer:
- If you haven’t already go purchase and download the OS X Lion update from the Mac App Store.
- Once the download is complete it should automatically execute. Do not press the Continue button on the installer.
- Open the Applications folder on your Mac startup drive. Locate the Install Mac OS X Lion installer application. Click it once to select it.
- Now press CMD+D to make a duplicate copy of the installer which should be named Install OS X Lion Copy
- Drag the copy of the OS X Lion installer with copy on the end of the file name to your Documents or Download folder.
You now have a backup copy of the OS X Lion Installer safely tucked away in one of the above folders. You can copy that file to any Mac that needs the OS X Lion update, change the name to the original without copy appended to it, and use it to update as many Macs as Apple allows. However, it will only work as long as you use the same Apple ID used to purchase the upgrade on each of those Macs.
Apple’s Gold Master exhibited this feature during testing. I haven’t tested this yet on the version of Mac OS X Lion from the Mac App Store, but since according to my sources the Gold Master and released version are completely identical I expect it to exhibit the same bad behavior. I personally think that Apple should have made the auto self-destruct mechanism optional especially when so many broadband users these days have data caps.
Although this won’t prevent the installers eventual self-destruction at least you’ll have a backup copy to use again. Finally, If a data cap applies to you then using this method to upgrade multiple Macs will definitely be a bandwidth saver for you!