set up – How can I obtain an older model of OS X/macOS?

Yearly/launch this reply on putting in earlier variations of macOS will want updating. Final replace Might 2023.

Previously couple of years – since this reply was first devised – Apple now have an official checklist of accessible installers making them a lot simpler to search out than earlier than.
So, earlier than working proper down this reply, examine right here as a primary step.

One factor that also applies all through: you really want a Mac to get macOS simply. As all Macs since roughly 2011 can use Web Restoration to a minimum of get a workable OS on the Mac, this may usually be the perfect preliminary strategy, from which you’ll be able to examine additional after you have a fundamental working Mac.
A number of the information under relies on the age of the Mac you are making an attempt to get an OS onto, whether or not it at present has a working OS, and the age of every other Mac you should use to aim this.

Accessing an OS your present Mac can’t itself run….

The App Retailer won’t allow you to obtain an OS that’s both too previous or too new for the Mac you’re downloading to – which is an annoying hurdle.
There are a number of methods to take care of this – all freeware, however with completely different approaches. All of those solely work for Excessive Sierra & newer. They’re of no use if you happen to solely have an early Mac to work from.

TwoCanoes’ MDS resolution ‘Deploy Stick’ [free to use & open source, but without support or automation, which are paid add-ons].

Mist from ninxsoft which may obtain & construct official installers.

dosdude1 Patchers – a set of apps ostensibly for putting in macOS on unsupported {hardware}, however every of which incorporates direct obtain of the related OS, & separate obtain of the firmware replace essential for APFS.

I am within the technique of testing these – stories as they occur

  • Mist requires macOS 12 [Monterey] to run.

  • MDS –
    v1 requires Sierra to run.
    v3.5 will run on Mojave.
    v5 makes use of Mist for downloads, so Monterey minimal OS.

  • dosdude’s patchers require you get hold of your installer individually, aside from Catalina, which it may obtain itself [tested on El Capitan] as soon as downloaded, it affords to both Set up to this machine, make a bootable installer, or save an ISO picture.
    You may solely use the dosdude patchers in case your Mac can boot from USB. That might be one thing 2009 or later.

As I’ve not but examined alll of those personally, if you happen to hit a stumbling block, please elevate a brand new query and hyperlink again to right here/depart a remark under, so we are able to add info to this as a ‘grasp checklist’.

Older info, some now obsoleted by Apple’s new obtain hyperlinks…

If you’re making an attempt to leap a great distance – say from 10.8 to 10.14 or later, acquired knowledge is to first improve to El Capitan 10.11, then Excessive Sierra 10.13.
This may put together your machine for the lengthy bounce.
Some customers appear to have managed to skip El Capitan, however Excessive Sierra continues to be essential, if it or newer has by no means been on the Mac earlier than, because it provides a firmware replace required to learn the newer APFS filesystem.

Within the new design App Retailer, first applied in Mojave, older bought OS Installers now not seem in any respect, so the ‘easy technique’ of grabbing it out of your buy historical past is now not legitimate [see ‘Lion to El Capitan’ below].

Excessive Sierra & newer can be found by way of direct hyperlinks – see the AppleKB above.

Sierra & older, it appears can now not be accessed by this model of the App Retailer.

enter image description here

Extra be aware:
I’ve tried from VMs of older OS variations to recreate the App Retailer because it was once in El Capitan & Excessive Sierra, to see if I might nonetheless entry the previous ‘buy historical past’ … with no success. The historical past seems because it used to, however I’ve been unable to entry any older variations by means of it.
It appears you really need a bodily Mac working these older OS variations to have the ability to attain again for these older variations.

Sierra itself has now vanished from all people’s Buy Historical past. Nevertheless, Apple is maintaining Sierra absolutely obtainable, though Excessive Sierra is out. No Apple ID is required.

Apparently, you will need to use Safari to entry these hyperlinks, in any other case it does not accurately redirect to the App Retailer.

Excessive Sierra hyperlink examined from Mojave Jan 2019 – nonetheless works to obtain, although it does it by way of the brand new Software program Replace management panel. It will not run on a Mojave Mac however you’ve gotten the installer in your Apps folder to maneuver elsewhere.

I efficiently re-tested this technique Jan 2019 – nonetheless working as acknowledged for a Mac restricted to El Capitan. Bought older OS variations are nonetheless listed and accessible.

The best approach – if obtainable to you – is to make use of your Buy Historical past on the App Retailer.
When you’ve got ever beforehand put in any OS X model, it is going to nonetheless be obtainable to you from that checklist. This could embrace any public beta variations too.

The model obtainable from that checklist will at all times be the newest model of its kind – i.e. 10.7.5, 10.8.6… 10.11.6

Picture closely modified to point out solely OS variations.
enter image description here

Word, it is going to say Obtain or Set up relying on whether or not or not you’ve gotten the Installer file saved domestically – even on a non-boot drive.

If the model you are attempting to obtain is older than the Mac you are trying to obtain it to – the Retailer won’t permit the obtain.
[looking for workarounds to this part – edits welcome – I can’t test this as the newest Mac I have is a 2012 Mac Pro]

Potential workarounds, want testing –
Learn how to re-download Lion from Mountain Lion

If you’re making an attempt to replace an older machine working Snow Leopard or Lion, then you may get a particular model of El Capitan from the App Retailer

This model of El Capitan is for customers working OS X Snow Leopard or
OS X Lion who wish to improve to macOS Excessive Sierra. If you’re
working Snow Leopard or Lion and wish to improve to Excessive Sierra,
it is advisable to set up El Capitan first. This model of El Capitan can
even be put in on computer systems that aren’t suitable with Excessive

Word that final sentence… this model won’t set up on any machine that’s not at present on Snow Leopard or Lion, if the machine is able to working Excessive Sierra.
That leaves it as fairly a particular useful resource & not a common ‘get out of jail free card’ for anybody wanting El Capitan.

enter image description here

Replace July 2021

Apple have eliminated the acquisition value from Lion & Mountain Lion & made them free to obtain.

Mac OS X Lion 10.7
Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8

If it is advisable to reinstall from Restoration on an Intel-based Mac, & had been beforehand working Sierra 10.12.4 or larger, there are actually 3 choices obtainable.
Maintain the suitable key combo on the boot chimes…

  • Cmd ⌘ R
    reinstall the newest macOS that was put in in your Mac, with out upgrading to a later model
  • Decide ⌥ Cmd ⌘ R
    improve to the newest macOS that’s suitable together with your Mac
  • Shift ⇧ Decide ⌥ Cmd ⌘ R
    reinstall the macOS that got here together with your Mac, or the model nearest to it that’s nonetheless obtainable.

The primary 2 choices can be found to any Mac newer than Lion, roughly 2009.

Ought to you’ve gotten entry to an older level launch of any OS, 10.11.0 and so on & want to improve, then you possibly can obtain Combo Updaters from Apple that include the whole lot essential to go straight to the newest level launch in a single step, e.g. 10.11.6

Google is nice at discovering these, as the highest hit if you happen to simply search combo replace 10.11 and so on however listed here are hyperlinks to a couple

Mavericks 10.9.5
Yosemite 10.10.5
El Capitan 10.11.6
Sierra 10.12.6
Excessive Sierra 10.13.6
Mojave 10.14.6
Catalina 10.15.7

Apple seem to have deserted the combo updater thought with Huge Sur.

If it is advisable to create a bootable USB to put in from

How do I create El Capitan installer on a Catalina (or post-El Capitan) put in Mac to be used on USB boot installer?

How do I make a bootable USB OS X installer on a Mac?

How do I create a Mac bootable USB drive utilizing Home windows?

  1. Discover a buddy who can entry the obtain [recommended]

  2. Discover a torrent/sharing web site [not recommended]

Word: You can’t use a Time Machine backup to revert to an OS which is older than the OS of the newest backup on that Time Machine drive.

Which means that to protect your capability to ever restore to an earlier backup & OS together with your Time Machine backup, you will need to swap out that Time Machine drive earlier than upgrading the OS. It’s because as soon as the Time Machine drive sees the brand new OS, there is not any going again to the older OS utilizing it. You may nonetheless choose information out from the Time Machine manually, however can’t use it to revive to the older OS.

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