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First Lion USB Restore Keys Arrive – Here’s What We Found

First Lion USB Restore Keys Arrive – Here’s What We Found

After MacTrast first voiced concerns about the restore process for MacBooks shipped post-Lion, Apple responded by issuing Lion Restore USB keys to affected users. These drives have now started shipping. We’ve gotten ahold of one at MacTrast. Here’s what we found:

The drives are incredibly tiny – one of the smallest stick-form USB drives I have seen. It’s also incredibly thin – just thick enough to house a single-sided USB connector. The drives appear to only have a capacity of around 1GB.

Bringing my 2011 MacBook Pro into the boot selector uncovered the fact that the drive even shows up as a USB Restore drive, complete with a fancy icon shaped like the drive, at the most basic of levels on the Mac.

A further point of interest is that, on my 2011 MacBook Pro that cam pre-loaded with Lion, this USB drive installs build 11A511a of Lion (the same build that the machine originally shipped with). Creating my own restore disk and using it to re-install Lion, on the other hand, resulted in a Lion build of 11A511.

Additionally, this appears to be the same drive that Apple is offering to users without broadband internet for $69, making it a pretty nice deal for those that got these from AppleCare. Shortly after beginning to ship these drives, Apple released a free utility allowing you to create your own restore USB key using any flash drive with at least 1GB of capacity.

Has anyone else gotten one of these? Let us know!

  1. Paul says:

    Only 1GB and labelled “Lion Recovery” – doesn’t sound like these drives are full OS X Lion install drives, can you please confirm whether or not you still need to download OS X Lion from Apple’s servers when you use this drive.

    1. Yes – Lion still downloads from Apple’s servers once you are booted from the drive – but even if you use the recovery partition, Apple downloads Lion from their servers to make sure you’re getting the latest version – and the correct version.

      1. Paul says:

        Thanks for the confirmation Glenn, only reason I asked is that some blogs are reporting the drives to be full OS X Lion USB install drives – which we know Apple plan to make available from the Apple Store. Also explains why people are getting them for free.

  2. rding says:

    How to obtain one of these? Do customers get them for free?

    1. If you bought a new Mac (other than the new Mac Mini and MacBook Air) and are having trouble installing Lion after replacing your hard drive, call Apple. They may send you one.

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