upgrade iMac OS without App store?
May 2, 2012 9:24 AM   Subscribe

How do I update my iMac to latest OS?

I have a 24" iMac that I'm very happy with. I also have a newer MacBook Pro that I love.

For the MBPro, it was a simple matter to buy OSX Lion in the app store for 29.99 and install it.

The iMac does not have the app store and is running 10.5.8.

I would love to find a way to update the iMac to Lion without purchasing it again. Can someone provide an easy explanation of how to do this?
posted by toastchee to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

The problem you're having is that you can't upgrade directly to Lion (10.7) from Leopard (10.5). You'll need to update to Snow Leopard first (10.6), which enables the App Store, which will let you upgrade to Lion.

The Snow Leopard upgrade disc is only $29.00 through apple, but frankly, I don't see a moral issue here in downloading a copy just to perform the upgrade.
posted by Oktober at 9:30 AM on May 2, 2012

Nevermind, do it Cat Pie's way.
posted by Oktober at 9:31 AM on May 2, 2012

Are you using MobileMe? Apple is offering a free upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard so you can get the App Store (and, of course, be able to pay for the Lion upgrade). MobileMe shuts down 6/30 so they want everyone off MobileMe and onto iCloud before then.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:46 AM on May 2, 2012

Just a fair warning, too. If your iMac has 1GB of RAM, Lion will be a sad sad place to be. Bump up your RAM if you can.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:48 AM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

JoeZydeco has a point. Why do you feel the need to upgrade? I have several systems I haven't upgraded past 10.5.8 because I have seen no performance advantage, on fast system or older systems. I have several friends who upgraded their older MacBooks to 10.7 and were annoyed with the slowness. I upgraded them to 1.5 or 2GB of RAM, which helped.
posted by MonsieurBon at 10:07 AM on May 2, 2012

JoeZydeco: and, of course, be able to pay for the Lion upgrade

Once you buy Lion once, you can install it on all of your personal machines without having to purchase multiple licenses. See here.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:13 AM on May 2, 2012

@CatPieHurts: Aha! Then your link makes perfect sense. Cat Pie wins.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:25 AM on May 2, 2012

I would upgrade to Snow Leopard and stay there. Lion is slower and doesn't offer that many advantages.
posted by The Lamplighter at 11:43 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

----- Proceed with caution -----

Use Apples' Time Machine program to backup to external USB hard drive (link). Or use Carbon Copy (etc) to backup disc for a manual file restore.

Take your Lion download (or download it again, it is free to re-download) and, using a 8 GB USB flash drive, create an install 'drive' (link). You can also buy a Lion USB drive from Apple for USD $69.

Perform a clean install to your Macbook. This will erase your drive, as Leopard to Lion upgrades are not possible (as mentioned earler).

Restore your files from the Time Machine.

You have a clean install, non upgrade, but with your files. More work, but a clean install is free of any upgrade issues.
posted by Leenie at 12:27 PM on May 2, 2012

CatPieHurts wins. I wanted to mention that if you may have to force the App Store to redownload Lion as it deletes the installer after it completes. Option click on the "Purchases" button in the app store and there should be a Download button again.
posted by chairface at 11:03 PM on May 2, 2012

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