Downloading Lion OS installers for your specific Mac model
One of the changes with Lion is that Apple is no longer including install media with new Macs. For folks doing managed deployments, this can cause an issue because you may have new hardware that uses a build of Mac OS X that’s newer than the version that’s available in the Mac App Store. However, there is a way to get an installer for your new hardware from Apple. How? See below the jump.
When reinstalling your OS using Recovery HD, Apple will send you the correct installer for your hardware. It does this by looking at the type of Mac you have and the serial number. Once it has those, your Mac will have the correct installer pushed to it. Once your Mac has the installer fully downloaded, it will then reboot and install OS X.
You can use this behavior to capture the InstallESD disk image that Apple uses for its Lion installer. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Boot your Mac from your Recovery HD partition by holding down Command-R at startup
2. Connect an erased external disk with at least 10 GBs of free space
3. Select the Reinstall Mac OS X option and select your external disk
4. Once the installer finishes downloading and prompts you to restart, shut down instead.
5. Disconnect the external disk
6. Boot from your Mac’s regular boot drive.
7. Reconnect the external disk
When you take a look at the external disk, you will find a directory called Mac OS X Install Data. Inside that folder is the InstallESD.dmg disk image file for your specific Mac model.
This method also works with Apple’s Internet Recovery. In the event that you don’t have a Recovery HD partition, but your Mac supports Internet Recovery, you can boot to Internet Recovery using Command-R. If you have a Recovery HD partition, but want to boot from Internet Recovery anyway, you can boot to Internet Recovery using Command-Option-R.