How to get old versions of macOS

If your Mac isn't compatible with the latest macOS, you might still be able to upgrade to an earlier macOS, such as macOS Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra or El Capitan.

To get the latest features and maintain the security, stability, compatibility and performance of your Mac, it's important to keep your software up to date. Apple recommends that you always use the latest macOS that is compatible with your Mac.

Learn how to upgrade to macOS Big Sur, the latest version of macOS.

Check compatibility

If a macOS installer can't be used on your Mac, the installer will let you know. For example, it might say that it's too old to be opened on this version of macOS, or that your Mac doesn't have enough free storage space for the installation.

To confirm compatibility before downloading, check the minimum requirements for macOS CatalinaMojaveHigh SierraSierraEl Capitan or Yosemite. You can also find compatibility information on the product-ID page for MacBook ProMacBook AirMacBookiMacMac mini or Mac Pro.

 


Make a backup

Before installing, it’s a good idea to back up your Mac. Time Machine makes it simple, and other backup methods are also available. Learn how to back up your Mac.

 


Download macOS

It takes time to download and install macOS, so make sure you're plugged into AC power and have a reliable internet connection.

Safari uses these links to find the old installers in the App Store. After downloading from the App Store, the installer opens automatically.

Safari downloads the following older installers as a disk image named InstallOS.dmg or InstallMacOSX.dmg. Open the disk image, then open the .pkg installer inside the disk image. It installs an app named Install [Version Name]. Open that app from your Applications folder to start installing the operating system.

 


Install macOS

Follow the onscreen instructions in the installer. It might be easiest to start the installation in the evening so that it can be completed overnight, if needed.

If the installer asks for permission to install a helper tool, enter the administrator name and password that you use to log in to your Mac, then click Add Helper.

Please allow the installation to be completed without putting your Mac to sleep or closing its lid. Your Mac might restart, show a progress bar or show a blank screen several times while it installs macOS and related firmware updates.

 


Learn more

You might also be able to use macOS Recovery to reinstall the macOS you're using now, upgrade to the latest compatible macOS or install the macOS that came with your Mac.

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