Download list: Installer from old macOS and OS X versions

If you want to equip your old Apple Mac, iMac or MacBook with its original operating system or if you want to get an old collector's item back up and running after repairs, you need an appropriate installer. The installation file for the Mac OS X system or the macOS version is of course available on the Internet. From a recent dialogue with a reader, however, I know that some users end up looking for an installer on dubious sites or fall for fraudsters on eBay. That's why I've put together a reputable download list for installers for old macOS and Mac OS X versions in this post.

In this guide you will find a download list of the installers for old macOS and OS X versions. There are various reputable sources from the Mac App Store to the Apple Store to the developer area.

In this guide you will find a download list of the installers for old macOS and OS X versions. There are various reputable sources from the Mac App Store to the Apple Store to the developer area.

Background to the Mac OS X Installer Download List

A reader recently asked me about a macOS High Sierra installer. I still had the El Capitan and the Sierra Installer on the disk, but of all things High Sierra no longer. He then made an attempt to download it from a shady website, which turned out to be a virus thrower. A second attempt was to order a DVD on eBay, but here was only a self-burned DVD that was not even bootable for nine euros. Now I have told him that I am  him with DiskMaker X make a bootable medium and one of it ISO generate. I'll send it to him and he can then burn a bootable DVD for his Mac on his PC.

Download installers from old macOS and OS X versions

If you are also looking for old macOS versions, you will find a list of downloads here. It takes you directly to the Apple Mac App Store, the Apple online shop or the developer area. Because in addition to more recent macOS versions, which are available for free in the App Store, others are only available at face value in the store and still others only as beta builds for developers. In return, you get the security that no viruses or Trojans, ransomware or other malware are included in the download.

Here is the Mac OS X and macOS Installer download list:

(As of March 14, 2019; iTunes links can independently open the App Store on Apple Mac, iMac and MacBook)

Your questions and problems with Apple products

You are welcome to send me your questions about and problems with your Apple products. I will then try to help you solve the problem. If the topic - like the installers for old Mac OS X and macOS versions - could also affect other readers, then I'll make a public contribution in addition to personal advice. So everyone benefits from your request. A win-win situation that also brings more serious and tested Apple knowledge to the Internet;)

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66 comments

  1. Beatrix Willius says:

    I always keep the latest versions.

    Any newer hardware (at least from 2012) can pull the original OS over WLAN. It even worked on my old Air. I didn't feel like creating a boot medium. It worked well with WiFi.

    When installing very old versions, you have to make sure that the certificate is still valid. I've had to set the date on the calculator to an older date a few times.

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Yes, that's right! Thanks for the hint. A friend told me this before who had problems installing macOS. He then simply set the date in the area in which the installer was created (call up file information via CMD + I!) And then set it back to the "normal" date after the installation. It worked for him too!

  2. Bernhard says:

    Thanks for the list of links, very helpful. What have I been looking for installer ...

  3. Miro says:

    I recently bought an old iBook G3, unfortunately without any installation media.
    Is there a way to get Mac OS Tiger (10.4) somehow? Neither EBey nor Amazon have what I need.
    It would be a shame to just give the device away, otherwise it would run perfectly ...

  4. chris says:

    how can i download el capitain on a mojave macbook? need it for an old imac to install it on an ssd, when i go to mojave to load el captain it only looks for updates for mojave ...

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Chris! I just tried it. You just go to the link above and download the system there. At least it works for me (on the MacBook Pro 2017 with Mojave).

      • Markus says:

        Hello, unfortunately he always calls up the system settings here and says I'm up to date, it used to be done by pressing the ALT key ..

        Is there anything new today?

      • chris says:

        no longer works with mac, you can also read it online ... apple has slowly become a joke too

        • Sir Apfelot says:

          Hi Chris! I can not confirm. Just two weeks ago I downloaded an El Capitan installer to a reader with my MacBook Pro 2017 and macOS Mojave. It works without any problems ... if it doesn't work for you, you have to look for the error. It definitely works for me and others ...

          • Thorsten says:

            Unfortunately, I have to confirm Chris' message. Neither can I download the "old installers" with Mojave (10.14.4 nor) and Catalina.
            And for an old iMac I would actually need Yosemite, or at least El Capitan.

          • Sir Apfelot says:

            Hello Thorsten! Yes, what a shame ... Apple seems to be gradually taking them off the network. I'll email you directly to "solve" the problem. ;-)

  5. Nils Karlsson says:

    Unfortunately, you can no longer find Mavericks under the developer downloads. I can't find any other source for it either.

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Right. I just checked it again and it's no longer there. I've changed the entry at the top of the article accordingly. Thanks for the hint!

  6. Stekookar says:

    Hi, I am looking for an installer file for MAC OS X Lion (on a MacBook Pro 13,3 ″ late 2011), the link is now chargeable. Unfortunately, the AppleStore etc no longer recognizes my MacBook because it is now in the "Vintage" status. I could still get access to the MacBook Pro 15,5 ″ from my parents in early 2011. But here I can't create a bootable stick. The question now is how I can get the installer file or create a stick to get the 13,3 ″ running again. Can someone help me there?

  7. Sascha says:

    Hi,

    are there also left for the server extension from Lion?

  8. Peter says:

    Unfortunately I have the following problem. With a Mojave installation, my system runs very unevenly - it tugs and tugs everywhere.

    I would like to switch back to my captain, I am currently writing about an El Capitan 10.11.6 - unfortunately I cannot download the file that is called up in the app store above.

    The error message "Your purchase could not be completed" appears and this version of OSX 10.11 cannot be installed on this computer. However, I need exactly this file :(

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hi Peter! Don't you have a backup of your old system? Or do you maybe know someone who could drag the El Capitan installation onto a USB stick? You could then boot with that and flatten the Mojave. Otherwise it will probably not work ...

      • Beatrix Willius says:

        @ Peter: with which operating system did you buy your Mac? This is the oldest possible system for the computer. The computer can pull this for itself when it is set up again. I've done this twice already. It's been too long, however, that I could remember details.

        What exactly is your "pull and pinch"?

        • Sir Apfelot says:

          Yes, that's right ... you could try the recovery partition: hold down CMD + R when restarting. Then it would have to boot in recovery mode. But I think you can only reinstall the currently installed system, right?!? Well, Peter should try it out.

          • Beatrix Willius says:

            This installs the original system. A strange error message appears if the WLAN password has not been entered. Then it takes quite a while for the system to download.

          • Peter says:

            I even tried that tonight, the installation of Mountain Lion should take 7 hours - after about half the installation simply stopped and I could only restart. I could even make the installation DVD myself using another Mac, but I need the file and I can't get it downloaded from the link above :(

          • Sir Apfelot says:

            Ok I understand! I'm sure someone still has an El Capitan installer file flying around somewhere. : D

    • Alex says:

      Is your problem still current? I came across this page through a search in connection with El Capitan and only now read your message. I would have El Capitan available!

  9. Gerrit says:

    Hey Sir Apfelot,
    it's great that you are trying so hard for us. Has become really rare ... people who do good without financial interest.
    Thanks a lot for this :-)

    My Macbook Pro from 2012 no longer wanted to recognize the original hard drive and I thought, I'll buy an SSD right away and now I've been playing around with it for a week :-)

    I practice a little more and if I am about to despair, I would be happy if I could get in touch with you too ...

    Greetings from the Allgäu
    Gerrit

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Gerrit! Thanks for the kind words, but financially I am not entirely without interest. I'm trying to gradually take in enough affiliate stuff with the blog that I can spend more time on the blog and less on my "real" work. The advice is of course free of charge. And if it doesn't work for you with the hard drives, feel free to get in touch. I try to help when I can! : D

  10. Stefan Schepers says:

    … Unfortunately all download links seem to be offline, not only in the German store but also in the us store. Does anyone know any alternatives?

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Hello Stefan! In that case I would recommend the article that explains how to load the old images via terminal at Apple.

      • Stefan Schepers says:

        Hi Jens,
        thanks for the tip.
        Unfortunately, only 10.13.6, 10.14.6 and 10.15.4 can currently be loaded this way. (do not copy the $ character into the terminal)
        Older versions now only work with the recovery function.
        The disadvantage is, of course, that you need a recovery partition with the desired system because you only have to reinstall the same system.
        Is there an easy way to collect different recovery partitions on one disk?
        I will also try the trick of reactivating old installation images that have already been saved by falsifying the computer date. Is there any way I can safely make my saved installation images available to others?

        • Sir Apfelot says:

          Hello Stefan! Ok, I didn't know that… of course, it's not that practical. I also have a collection of installation images, but I wouldn't make them publicly available. Apple certainly doesn't like that because you still had to buy old versions. But if a friend needs a DMG file, you can safely give it to them.

  11. Inge Bauer says:

    Oh my god apple

  12. Leo W. Tristram says:

    HELLO SIR APPLE,
    I STILL HAVE AN OLD IMAC THAT NO LONGER HAS AN OS AND I CANNOT UPLOAD OS THROUGH THE MAC. CAN I PLAY AN OS (SIERRA…) ON THE BUILT-IN DVD DRIVE AND WHERE CAN I GET IT. IF I FOLLOW YOUR LINKS AND TRY TO LOAD THE OLD OS (WITH TODAY'S MACBOOKS), I ONLY GET INFO THAT THE OS IS NOT AVAILABLE AND CANNOT BE LOADED. HOW CAN I GET AN OS DVD AND WHERE?

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Leo! Do you have any idea what kind of iMac you have? Sometimes you can find a serial number on the back or when you look at the bottom of the screen. With this I could determine which model you have and which macOS is still running. Please do not post the serial number publicly as a comment. You can find my email address in the legal notice. LG

  13. Heinrich Kurt says:

    Hello dear community, I have the problem with a used iMac 27 inch at the end of 2009. I wanted to put it back on because I had erased the disk by mistake. Apple Support was unable to help me. Fortunately, I still took photos of the system. It was Mavericks 10.9.5 on it but unfortunately it is no longer available in the App Store and I can no longer load it on the deleted iMac. (Folder with question mark) Now I only had the option of creating a bootable stick with El Capitan on my company Mac. With this I tried to install my Mac at home, but an error message appears. "OS X could not be installed on your computer" No suitable packages found to install. Contact the software manufacturer. LG

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Heinrich! Yes, the message is a known problem. The following procedure usually helps:
      1. Disconnect the Mac from the Internet (WLAN / LAN)
      2. Set an older system time via the terminal, for example with this command: date 0907164312 (to a date of 2012)

      If you like to read more about it, I have . the right contribution for you.
      Feel free to get in touch if you have had success / failure.

  14. Fritz Wettstein says:

    Good day,
    Is it really the case that you cannot download Mojave under Catalina?
    MacBook Pro 16 ″ 2019, MacOS 10.15.7
    The message: Update not found. The required Mac OS version is not available.
    Greetings, Fritz

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Fritz! As I understand it, this is not related to the system, but to your Mac. The 16-inch MacBook Pro never came with Mojave, but with Catalina as the lowest macOS. Accordingly, you can no longer install anything lower on this Mac. That is the statement from various readers and Apple Support. One of my readers did it with a trick, but unfortunately I forgot how he did it. :(

      • Fritz Wettstein says:

        Thanks Jens.
        I just wanted to create a “bootable” USB stick. For no reason, just like that.
        Greetings, Fritz

      • Jens Kleinholz says:

        Ah, ok ... but if you can't load it, it's hard to get it on a stick. I think from Big Sur on, bootable sticks are always heavier anyway. I would rather do a 1: 1 backup on an external hard drive and, if necessary, you can then boot from it.

  15. Fritz Wettstein says:

    1: 1 backup. So what is that? I do TimeMachine-
    Greetings, Fritz

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Fritz! This is basically an exact copy of your hard drive. Time Machine makes an incremental backup of files. This means that you have different old versions of all your data available to restore them. But you cannot boot from it. For this you make a backup every now and then, which is also bootable. And you can use software like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! use. How that works exactly - I have to write an article about that. : D

  16. Markus says:

    Hallo,
    I bought a used iMac a year ago.
    It worked wonderfully until an OS update came up and I made the mistake of clicking on it. After the installation, the screen only showed green stripes.
    Now I only have Windows computers because it was my first attempt in the Mac world and couldn't download the operating system with it.
    Unfortunately, I can't find a type designation or serial number anywhere on the iMac either. I only know that the High Sierra was installed.
    Now the iMac has been unused in the corner for a year and I'm annoyed because it cost more than a current Windows computer when used.

    I let myself be infected by enthusiastic Apple users and then it was a flop. Does anyone have any advice on what I can do?

    Best regards,
    Markus

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hi Markus! But you were really unlucky. I've been using Apple computers for two decades and have never had a case where the update paralyzed the Mac. But well, it can happen ... I'm sorry it hit you. My first attempt would be to see if the Mac can boot from Internet Recovery. To do this, switch it on at the back and then press the CMD + OPTION + SHIFT + R buttons immediately after the switch on. Then it should take a while (hold the buttons down until something happens on the screen!) And a globe appears. This means that it will now get the system from the Internet with which it was delivered. Now you can follow the installation and hopefully you will have a working iMac again afterwards. If you managed to do that, please contact me again. Then we can try the update again and we'll find out what kind of model you have and how you can get it faster. LG, Jens

  17. Markus says:

    Hi Jens,
    does OPTION mean the ctrl key?
    I tried the combination, but then the screen errors came anyway and I could only weakly see the Mac character in the middle and a bar that ran up to halfway and then stopped.
    LG Markus

  18. Markus says:

    Hello Jens, key found. Hurray, picture ok. But no globe, immediately Apple characters and the bar ran through and now I have the "Password" window.
    Looked good at first. After entering the password it looks normal. The screen freezes after about a minute.
    No more reaction to mouse or keyboard.
    LG Markus

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hi Markus! Then you probably got into the login as normal. Did you press and hold the buttons immediately after switching on?

  19. Markus says:

    Hi Jens,
    now I've tried it 3 times. The third time I even pressed the buttons and then let them turn on. It always runs into the normal login and hangs up shortly afterwards.
    to despair. Keyboard works but then tried the password.
    LG Markus

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hi Markus! Is it a pretty old Mac? So 7-8 years and older? Then he may not yet know Internet Recovery ... What happens if you hold down CMD + R after switching on? Please do not press before you switch it on. Then he doesn't get that. : D

  20. Markus says:

    Hello Jens, it is quite possible that he is so old. With the key combination he starts the MAC utilities. LG Markus

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hi Markus! But you're in the right place with the utilities. There is also “Reinstall macOS” in the list. You'd have to let that go through ... maybe it'll work again.

  21. Markus says:

    Hello Jens, I tried. However, nothing has improved. Still the same graphics problems.

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hi Markus! Then I would only have the idea to delete SMC RAM and so on. You can find the instructions for this .. I would delete them all. But if that doesn't help, I'm also overwhelmed. Then you could at most times the guys from Sadaghian ask. Some of them help quite well on the phone, because they know all the error symptoms by heart.

  22. Markus says:

    Hello Jens, the SMC RAM delete did not work either.
    I was advised to reinstall the original operating system using a USB stick or DVD. I just don't know where to get it and how to find out which version to look for.
    Do you have a tip for me?
    LG Markus

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hi Markus! I don't know how old your Mac is, but if it knows Internetrecovery, then you can do this: right after restarting, hold these keys down: CMD + ALT + R (the keys can also be Apple + Option + R) . The Mac will then install the system with which it was delivered.

  23. Sabine says:

    Good evening Jens :)

    I read through all the comments, but didn't find anything suitable -
    I bought a used MBA a1237 without HDD a few days ago, I have already ordered an SSD drive.
    Now I have read in several forums that the Mac OS X Lion should not run well, and am now looking for the installation file for Snow Leopard, since it is said to have been the original operating system from the early 2008s.
    Unfortunately I can't find it anywhere! It's desperate, and I don't have a second Mac, just a netbook with Windows 7.
    Or does the Macbook possibly have a flash memory with which the operating system can be loaded again? Unfortunately the a1237 has no internet recovery and no drive, how can I solve this? I just don't look through it anymore and try to muddle through there, I'm grateful for every tip

    Best regards,
    Sabine

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Sabine! Unfortunately, I don't have a system older than macOS El Capitan. The maximum OS X for your MacBook Air 2008 (it's the very first model!) Is unfortunately OS X Lion 10.7.5. So I would leave it on.

  24. chris says:

    Nothing more is available from this list, unfortunately you have to rely on Apple Itunes. That is really a shame.
    lg. Christian
    If anyone knows how to get to High Sierra, then I would ask for a hint. It's a pity that Apple just lets things like that die. Well .. it’s for sales. They want us to buy new equipment. Brutally

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      Hello Chris! I would AnymacOS recommend. The software downloads all macOS versions from High Sierra including and then even builds a boot stick for you. Should actually solve your problem. : D

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