Apple now shipping USB recovery sticks for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

“Readers have alerted us that their Lion Recovery Sticks have started arriving,” Seth Weintraub reports for 9to5Mac. “Interesting upgrade from the Snow Leopard Stix that come with the MacBook Airs.”

Photos in the full article here.

AppleBitch reports, “The sticks, available for $69, offer an alternative for those who do not wish to purchase Lion using the Mac App Store download method. Users who also have problems recovering their system using Lion’s built in recovery tools can also get one of these sticks and may even be eligible to receive one free of charge rather than paying full price.”

Advertisement: Limited Time: Students, Parents and Faculty save up to $200 on a new Mac.

“The Lion recovery tool software relates to a feature offered by Apple that you can use if you already own Lion and a USB stick and want to create your own recovery drive,” AppleBitch reports. “This is a lot better than paying the $69 full price that Apple wants for the official version.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple releases OS X Lion Recovery Disk Assistant; creates Lion Recovery on external drive – August 9, 2011
Apple debuts Lion Recovery; lets users repair disks or reinstall Mac OS X Lion without physical disc – July 20, 2011
Mac users can reinstall OS X Lion over the Internet from Apple’s servers – July 19, 2011


  1. Whoa!

    Don’t go off half cocked. This flash drive, I think, has the full download on it, so does not require an internet connection to install.

    The one you do yourself from the Recovery Disk Assistant still requires an internet connection to download the software.

    Not the same pony at all!

    1. i made one with “restore” in disc utility and have installed it on several macs without connecting to the internet. Do you mean after you install and restart to register your machine?

  2. There are loads of online tutorials out there giving clear concise instructions on how to create your own bootable Lion installation DVD or USB stick. Spending $69 on this is Apple’s way of saying ‘FU’ by way of ‘Revenge of the Nerds.’ I don’t even know why Apple is charging such a ridiculous sum of money for something that merely adds $4 to the cost of a downloadable version of Lion.

  3. You can still make a full Lion install/Recovery USB drive cheaper by using the Lion download from the App Store. I just made one of these USB drives; Instructions are at the Macworld website.

  4. Does anyone know if someone could load this onto a freshly formatted HD and use Lion without the previous Snow Leopard already installed?
    In other words do a clean install of Lion?

    1. I don’t know squat about installing Lion – still rocking Snow Leopard – but from the online videos and written tutorials I’ve seen, the answer is yes, because prior to installation off a DVD, or USB, you’re advised to perform a low level format of the drive partition you intend to install Lion on.

    2. Yes. You don’t even need to boot off a flash drive to do it. I have a clean install of Lion on an external hard drive volume (partition). I installed it by running the normal Lion Installer located normally in my Applications folder. You just target the volume where you want the installation to go. If that volume happens to be “freshly formatted” (erased), it does a clean install of Lion.

      The end result is functionally much better than a bootable flash drive with Lion Installer, whether you get it from Apple or make it yourself. You get a bootable external drive volume with a clean install of Lion, that runs Finder (instead of a minimal interface). You can use it for troubleshooting a problem on your “main” system. You can run Disk Utility normally. You can install other third-party maintenance and recovery tools as desired. You can put a copy of Lion installer on it, and use it to do an erase and clean install on the internal drive, if that ever becomes necessary.

      AND, the external drive where you did the clean install gets its own hidden bootable “Recovery HD” mini-partition, so you can boot into it using the Option key at startup (Startup Manager).

      1. I assume when you create a partition in the external drive that you install Lion on, you’d be sizing it to around the 10GB mark as an initialization point. Post installation on your main drive, would you reformat the external drive and do a Carbon Copy Cloner clone to the external drive or would you maintain your Lion volume in the external drive as before?

        What is the logic of maintaining dual boot drive capability when CCC will mirror the contents of your main drive to the backup drive?

        1. It’s not meant to be a cloned “backup” drive. I’ve come to trust Time Machine for (ongoing) backup purposes (because it is always up-to-date to within one hour), and I periodically back up my most valuable personal data files separately to a USB drive connected to my AirPort Extreme Base Station (as a secondary backup).

          That clean Lion partition is only 20GB, on a large external drive that is mostly used as my Time Machine backup drive, so it is already connected to my iMac all the time. 20GB is more than large enough for a clean install of Lion.

          For me, I need it to stay relatively “clean” for testing purposes. But it also serves as a way to do maintenance on my internal drive, and for recovery from an “emergency,” such as if my internal drive ever failed mechanically and I had to put a new one in there and restore it from backup.

          1. Also, if you get a USB flash drive that is at least 16GB, you can just do a clean install of Lion to it (as I described above), instead of wasting it only as a bootable Lion installer.

            I actually have a 16GB flash drive, but unfortunately, the one I have does not seem to work well as a bootable drive. It runs very slow. So as a warning, some USB flash drive may not be suitable.

        2. I wanted a clean install so I put Lion on a DVD. I cloned my drive with CCC so I could migrate all of my settings. Formatted my main drive and installed. Migrated my info from my external drive and done. Simple. The only problem I had was Truecrypt didn’t work and scared the crap out of me. After I downloaded the new version, everything worked great.

  5. I had Apple support on the blower for over an hour today – despite my “circumstances” they were adamant there is no such thing as a free recovery stick. First support guy didnt know a USB stick existed, second (higher up the pole) guy said he knew of no circumstances where he was allowed to send one out for free. I tried the online Lion reinstall today which failed (after a 5 hour download – I have 1mb line!). All my attempts to install snow leopard (10.6.3, 10.6.7) failed too (2011 iMac). Anyone know how to get S.Leo on a 2011 iMac that had Lion on it ?????

    1. Apple’s server depends on a reasonably fast Internet connection at the user’s end to enable massive downloads. I’ve no experience with Lion but have gone through >650MB iOS updates for the iPhone and iPad. The weakness with Apple’s download system, which I find tragic, is the inability to resume broken downloads or downloads that are interrupted midway, so you literally have to sit there and hope it completes once it’s started. This is truly unfortunate and I don’t know why Apple won’t fix it.

      Addressing your issue, you have three choices:
      – buy the USB stick for $69 (not palatable),
      – go to an Apple store and download Lion via a faster connection,
      – borrow a friend’s Lion installation disk, or USB drive.

      I can’t understand why Apple would want to gouge its loyal customers by releasing a USB stick that costs so much more than can be reasonably expected.

      1. thanks for the advice my friend. after many hours of downloading 7 different 1gb rars from various sites I now have a 2011 iMac install disc of 10.6.6 0 which worked – phew!
        I’m afraid to say I’m in the “leave Lion for next year” camp – not so much because I think its not ready – but because too much of my audio production hardware and software wont have the necessary updates until then.

      2. Ballmy– I think they charge that much for the USB stick because they want people to USE THE APP STORE. So they sour the milk on everything else. Even if you can’t GET to the app store.

  6. Lion…for SOME…not all…is a genuine step backwards in so many ways….It doesn’t “just work” but in fact gets in the way of working. Now this…truly ridiculous…$69 for a flash drive.
    Why not make it $99 and call it the “global flash drive”…
    I have worked with Mac’s almost exclusively for more than 20 years and now the hubris and lack of forethought in the functionality built into Lion has been very, very surprising.

    It’s time to go back to Snow Leopard until they fix the serious issues with Lion. Right now, it’s barely usable.

      1. I’d like to hear what makes it “barely usable” also. so far our systems haven’t shown glitches that may have shown up for PR unless that is simply a rant for some other reason.

    1. Explain…

      Lion is better than snow leopard is. Just a few odd things that still irk me, but I love lion.

      The only thing you can point out, is Rosetta.

      But that’s not really apples fault… Rosetta was just a short term solution so the rest if the industry could adapt to the switch to intel. Never meant to be a permanent solution.

    2. Here, let me list the OSs that have zero bugs:
      Now, go buy those and report back how great they are… 🙂
      Seriously, it takes about 30 seconds to do a search about how to make a Lion flash drive.

  7. you know, apple is beginning to exhibit symptoms of those two Microshaft ailments “tobigforitsowngood-itis” and “weknowwhatsbestforyou-emia”.

    at least when it comes to software–though I’d also file antennae-gate under this diagnosis–even though I never experienced antennae issues with my iPhone 4,
    in theory this should have been something that was looked at and tested a bit more closely.

    come on apple, slow down and get it right first. no one’s even near your innovative heals.

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