How to download OS X El Capitan

OS X El Capitan remains available for Mac computers that can't upgrade to macOS High Sierra, or that need to upgrade to El Capitan first.

Can your Mac use El Capitan?

OS X El Capitan requires any of the following Mac models and versions of OS X.* It also requires at least 2GB of memory and 8.8GB of storage space. To find your model, memory, storage, and macOS version, choose About This Mac from the Apple () menu.

  • OS X Yosemite
  • OS X Mavericks
  • OS X Mountain Lion
  • OS X Lion
  • OS X Snow Leopard

* The version of macOS that came with your Mac is the earliest version compatible with that Mac.

Get El Capitan from the App Store

Now that High Sierra is available, you should upgrade to High Sierra instead of El Capitan. For security and compatibility reasons, Apple always recommends using the latest version of macOS. 

If your Mac doesn't support High Sierra, or you're using Snow Leopard or Lion and would like to upgrade to High Sierra, follow these steps:

  1. Use this link to open the El Capitan page on the App Store: Get OS X El Capitan
  2. Click the Download button on the El Capitan page. If your Mac is compatible with El Capitan, a file named Install OS X El Capitan downloads to your Applications folder.
  3. After download is complete, the installer opens automatically. Click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions.

Installer screen

Don't have the Mac App Store?

If you're using Leopard, upgrade to Snow Leopard to get the App Store. Then check for software updates by choosing Software Update from the Apple menu. After installing all Snow Leopard updates, you should have the App Store app.

Learn more

  • During installation, your Mac might restart several times. It then performs some initial setup tasks in the background. While those tasks are underway, activities such as using Spotlight or Mail might not seem as fast as they were before.
  • If you previously downloaded El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, or other earlier version of OS X, and your Mac is compatible with that version, you can download it again from the Purchased tab of the App Store.
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