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July 28, 2011 / David Bleeker

Buy a new Mac, get iLife for all your Macs

As with every Mac in recent memory, Apple’s latest hardware releases, the MacBook Air (Mid 2011) and Mac mini (Mid 2011), include the current versions of Mac OS X and iLife—in this case, Lion (OS X 10.7) and iLife ’11. (Interestingly, the new models include only iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand. iWeb and iDVD are nowhere to be seen.) But these new models don’t include a DVD or thumb drive for reinstalling that software.

If you ever have a problem that requires you to reinstall the OS on one of these models, you use the new Lion Recovery feature to boot from a hidden recovery partition of your hard drive and download Lion on demand. Unlike older Macs running Lion, these new models also feature a special version of Lion Recovery, Lion Internet Recovery, that works even if your entire hard drive went south and you had to replace it—you essentially boot your Mac over the Internet, download Lion, and reinstall. When you’re back up and running, you can launch the Mac App Store and reinstall the iLife apps, which will be listed on the Purchases screen. [read more]

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