New Macs allow free iLife ’11 installs on older Macs

“The introduction of new Macs with Lion pre-installed is allowing some people to upgrade older Macs to iLife ’11 at no cost,” MacNN reports. This is due to Apples’ “disc-free reinstallation policy for Lion components.”

“The Mac App Store recognizes a computer’s iLife licenses, which are linked to a person’s Apple ID during initial setup,” MacNN reports. “As long as any other Macs are linked to the same Apple ID, they should suddenly be allowed to download iLife ’11 with no extra costs involved.”

More info in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Forget about iLife 11, what about iWork 12? Man, why is Apple dragging its feet over productivity software? We’re not all budding Spielbergs but actually want to get work done on our Macs.

    1. “iWork” and “iLife” are just functional groupings of separate apps. There is something called iLife ’11, because it was released as a disc before the Mac App Store. There will not be another iWork with name that has year number.

      The latest versions of each app are sold separately on the Mac App Store, and my guess is that each one will receive separately timed updates going forward (instead of being updated together as a “suite”). The iWork apps got brand new versions when the Mac App Store opened (so those would be equivalent to iWork ’11). So go get ’em…

  2. Well, this (along with the internet recovery) is a neat feature.

    If my hard disk ever crashes, my Mac will be able to boot directly from Apple’s servers into this Internet Recovery utility, download Lion installer from there, install it on my hard drive, then download the entire iLife 11 as well. Coupled with the Time Machine backup, there would practically be no data loss whatsoever in case of a hard drive failure.

    Even if the only backup is the iCloud, it would still preserve a lot (if not all) of the data, assuming that all installed apps were purchsed through the Mac App Store.

  3. So how do you resell a mac, and still allow whoever buys the mac to have access to redownload ilife apps, if it links to the account of the first person who registered the mac?

    1. You don’t. The beauty of the app store is you sell your mac after you wipe it, log into your new mac, and install whatever software you own with a few clicks (and potentially hours and hours of downloading).

      1. Deauthorising your computer before wiping is kind of pointless from the aspect of software, since Apple allows you to install that software on all Macs that you own (in other words, they don’t limit the number of licenses when you buy/download software).

        And it still wouldn’t resolve the issue of resale of old Mac. When I’m ready to replace my iMac, I wipe my old iMac’s hard drive (after migrating to the new one, of course), re-install everything that came with it (OS, iLife) and sell it like that. If I had any applications that I no longer want to install on the new one, I transfer the old licenses.

        With the App store, I won’t be able to transfer any licenses for any applications to another person, because the licensing model is now different: instead of buying individual software licenses that install on a single computer (which you can sell, togeter with, or separately from, that computer), you now have a single-owner license that lets you install your copy of software on any number of Macs, but no longer gives you the option to re-sell that license to a third party.

  4. It’s not really the iLife “suite” anymore, since the component, iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand are sold as separate apps in the Mac App Store. And iWeb and iDVD (part of the former iLife ’11 suite) are not offered in the Mac App Store, so they are effectively cancelled.

  5. The only thing stopping me from upgrading to lion is the fact that I will have to buy new photoshop, illustrator and who knows what other software I have that is running fine now, but will not work since it is PPC compatible. I really dont want to have to give Adobe $800-1000 dollars for software I only occasionally use. I mean, I spent hours and hours downloading this off Limewire years ago, only to have it not work anymore. How else am I going to forge all my old school transcripts without it?

  6. This SHOULD work but it does not. I have been in protracted correspondence with Apple support who tell me ‘it does work’ and then go on to blame me for all of the reasons that it does not – yours was an early 2011 iMac, it was shipped with SL (it wasn’t, it was shipped with Lion, Lion did not work properly and it was downgraded to SL by Apple), you must have downloaded already, you can use iMac install disks on a laptop (you can’t) until we go to ‘it works for everyone else but you’ll have to buy another copy…’

    Awful service, worthy of Microsoft, not what I expect from Apple

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