What is an OS X reference release?

Learn what a "reference release" of the Mac OS is.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

The phrase "reference release" means that the software is distributed as a stand-alone system software package that can be installed regardless of the version of OS X currently installed (assuming the Mac is compatible with the reference release). Note: You should not install OS X versions that are older than what came with your computer.

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