Apple releases OS X Lion Recovery Disk Assistant

9 August, 2011 - Paul Dixon
Lion Recovery Disk Assistant

Yesterday, Apple released Lion Recovery Disk Assistant – a utility which allows you to use an external USB hard drive, or thumb drive, to recover your OS X Lion system. Free to download from Apple’s support site, the assistant gives you access to the same Lion Recovery options built into OS X Lion, but can be used if your main hard drive fails.

From Apple’s support site:

“The Lion Recovery Disk Assistant lets you create Lion Recovery on an external drive that has all of the same capabilities as the built-in Lion Recovery:┬áreinstall Lion, repair the disk using Disk Utility, restore from a Time Machine backup, or browse the web with Safari.”

To create a Lion Recovery disk, you need to download the assistant from Apple’s support site, and install the utility on a USB drive with at least 1GB of free space. Providing the drive is big enough, you can install the software on a separate partition, otherwise you will have to erase the entire contents of the drive.

Once created, the recovery drive can be accessed by connecting it to your Mac and booting while holding down Option on your keyboard – you will then be able to select the drive from the Startup Manager. If your Mac was upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion, you will be able to use the drive with any other Macs that were also upgraded from Snow Leopard. But if your Mac originally shipped with Lion, you will only be able to use it with that Mac.

It’s worth pointing out that if you do have one of the latest Mac Minis or MacBook Airs, that shipped with Lion installed, you can actually access Lion Recovery via the internet – even if your main drive has failed, or you have added a brand new drive with no OS on it.

Prior to Apple releasing Lion Recovery Disk Assistant, many users (including me) have already created their own physical Lion install disks by following guides online, or using third-party software such as Lion DiskMaker. If you haven’t already created one yourself, I’d still recommend doing so.

While it may be handy to have Lion Recovery on a USB drive, it’s not a full install disk – you will still need to re-download a copy of OS X Lion from Apple’s servers, and at just under 4GB in size, that could take some time if your internet connection isn’t that fast.

Download Lion Recovery Disk Assistant

About the author

Paul Dixon is the owner of Macsessed. He lives in Lancashire in the UK where he works as a web designer. You can find him on and Twitter.