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OS X Mountain Lion to skip USB option due to lack of need

updated 09:45 pm EST, Fri February 17, 2012

Apple to make Mountain Lion truly download only

Apple stated Friday that the launch of OS X Mountain Lion would be truly download-only. The Mac maker briefed Pocket-lint that it wouldn't stock versions preloaded on USB drives like it has with the current Lion release. Offering a physical option was an "interesting test," but the Mac App Store was "just fine" in practice for getting a copy, Apple said.

Not mentioned was whether or not users could still create their own disk image and load that on a USB drive or a disc. The options were never official and will likely still be an option given that the Lion installer was ultimately a package with a typical install image inside.

The USB option had been made available weeks after the Mac App Store release as a fallback. At the time, many were still using Leopard or otherwise didn't have access to the Mac App Store. Likewise, many systems wouldn't have had the full option of using Lion Recovery. Macs from the 2011 MacBook Air onwards have the recovery built-in, while many 2010-era systems have had it retrofitted through updates.

As of the late summer release of Mountain Lion, Apple will have had the distinction of offering the first truly major desktop operating system to be available solely online. Microsoft offers Windows 7 online today, but it's intended for loading on to a physical drive.

by MacNN Staff



  1. jay3ld

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I guess...

    Upgrading to lion was a "interesting test" for my machines, but Snow Leopard was "just fine".

  1. drumrobot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Or maybe

    the lack of demand was because they were so f***ing expensive.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bootable Install Disk

    Maybe they'll actually detail how to make bootable install discs so should the worst happen, we've got a clean install of OS X to work with and don't have to worry about downloading 4GB of data to a crippled/dying machine.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yes, paying

    $79 for alpha junk was/is just too much.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Millions of dollars saved

    By not having to make the plastic sleeves, cardboard sleeve, and DVDs.

  1. BurpetheadX

    Joined: Dec 1969



    drumrobot is right - Apple makes certain things outrageously expensive - such as the Lion USB drive, Mac Pro, built-to-order memory upgrades, etc - then wonders why no one buys them? How is IT ever supposed to reformat or install a new drive? The Lion recovery partition won't be on new replacement drives, so I'm hoping the .dmg from the App Store installer will still be included for writing to drives...

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They *have* detailed how to reinstall Lion ( - just not how to make "install discs", since those wouldn't be much use on a MacBook Air, Mac mini and soon all other new Macs. But I agree that a guide on how to make a bootable USB drive from the .dmg hidden inside the OS X Installer would be nice.

    Then again, who cares if Apple doesn't provide these infos? They not exactly hard to find, must be thousands of sites with how-to guides on this subject.

    And @drumrobot & @BurpetheadX: if you find $69 for an operating system too expensive, you either haven't been a Mac user prior to Snow Leopard - 10.5 was a pretty $129, for example, as have been most OS X upgrades before - or you have never upgraded Windows.

  1. facebook_Gregory

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012


    comment title

    Apple definitely simplified the upgrade process for me...I just didn't do either one. The download only option is a complete no-go for me and the USB key price was outrageous. I was always a user who was pre-ordering upgrades and excited about getting them and currently I have zero intention of upgrading at all. I likely won't see a new OS until I buy a new machine.

  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Honestly I haven't noticed any big issues where I've been needing to install Lion. That said I think Apple is minimising how often hard drives fail. I get that yes you could reload snow leopard and then reinstall Lion or Mountain Lion over top but that's just messy.

  1. facebook_Terrin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012


    Don't see the issue.

    I don't see why people complain about the USB price. OSX used to cost $129. It now costs $29 online. If you want the USB version, you have to pay Apple $69 because it costs Apple more, and Apple is trying to encourage people to buy the App Store version. USB is also easier to pirate, something Apple is also likely trying to avoid.

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