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 Could 2023.

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

One factor that also applies all through: you actually need a Mac to get macOS simply. As all Macs since roughly 2011 can use Web Restoration to not less than get a workable OS on the Mac, this would possibly typically be the most effective preliminary strategy, from which you’ll be able to examine additional upon getting a primary working Mac.

Accessing an OS your present Mac can not itself run….

The App Retailer is not going to allow you to obtain an OS that’s both too outdated or too new for the Mac you’re downloading to – which is an annoying hurdle.
There are a number of methods to cope with this – all freeware, however with totally different approaches. All of those solely work for Excessive Sierra & newer.

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

Mist from ninxsoft which might 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 obligatory for APFS.

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

  • Mist requires macOS 12 [Monterey] to run.

  • MDS even v1 requires Sierra to run.

  • dosdude’s patchers require you get hold of your installer individually, aside from Catalina, which it will possibly 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.
    After 4 failed makes an attempt to efficiently write to a number of known-good USB sticks, on a Mac squarely within the ‘proper candidate for this app’ bracket, I’ve given up on this one.
    Attempting once more as we speak… 08 May23…

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

If you’re attempting to leap a good distance – say from 10.8 to 10.14 or later, obtained knowledge is to first improve to El Capitan 10.11, then Excessive Sierra 10.13.
This may put together your machine for the lengthy soar.
Some customers appear to have managed to skip El Capitan, however Excessive Sierra continues to be obligatory, 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.

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

It will seem that within the new Mojave App Retailer, older bought OS Installers not seem in any respect, so the ‘easy methodology’ of grabbing it out of your buy historical past is not legitimate.

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

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

enter image description here

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

Sierra itself has now vanished from everyone’s Buy Historical past. Nevertheless, Apple is holding Sierra absolutely out there, regardless that Excessive Sierra is out. No Apple ID is required.

Apparently, it’s essential 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 may have the installer in your Apps folder to maneuver elsewhere.

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

The best means – if out there to you – is to make use of your Buy Historical past on the App Retailer.
When you have ever beforehand put in any OS X model, it’s going to nonetheless be out there to you from that listing. This could embody any public beta variations too.

The model out there from that listing will all the time be the newest model of its kind – i.e. 10.7.5, 10.8.6… 10.11.6

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

Observe, it’s going to say Obtain or Set up relying on whether or not or not you may have the Installer file saved regionally – 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 is not going to enable 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 –
How you can re-download Lion from Mountain Lion

If you’re attempting to replace an older machine operating Snow Leopard or Lion, then you will get a particular model of El Capitan from the App Retailer

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

Observe that final sentence… this model is not going to set up on any machine that’s not at the moment on Snow Leopard or Lion, if the machine is able to operating Excessive Sierra.
That leaves it as fairly a selected useful resource & not a normal ‘get out of jail free card’ for anybody wanting El Capitan.

enter image description here

Replace July 2021

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

Mac OS X Lion 10.7
Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8

If that you must reinstall from Restoration on an Intel-based Mac, & had been beforehand operating Sierra 10.12.4 or larger, there are actually 3 choices out there.
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
  • Choose ⌥ Cmd ⌘ R
    improve to the newest macOS that’s suitable together with your Mac
  • Shift ⇧ Choose ⌥ Cmd ⌘ R
    reinstall the macOS that got here together with your Mac, or the model nearest to it that’s nonetheless out there.

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

Ought to you may have entry to an older level launch of any OS, 10.11.0 and so forth & want to improve, then you’ll be able to obtain Combo Updaters from Apple that comprise every thing 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 in the event you simply search combo replace 10.11 and so forth however listed here are hyperlinks to some

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 concept with Huge Sur.

If that you must 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 pal who can entry the obtain [recommended]

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

Observe: You cannot 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 to protect your skill to ever restore to an earlier backup & OS together with your Time Machine backup, it’s essential to swap out that Time Machine drive earlier than upgrading the OS. It is 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 possibly can nonetheless decide information out from the Time Machine manually, however can not use it to revive to the older OS.

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