Why download old macOS and Mac OS X versions? There are a few reasons for this. First, some software you need doesn’t work well in the newest versions. Or possibly you are familiar with the old one, and simply put, don’t like the newest ones.
Some developers, at times, need to run different versions of macOS and Mac OS X to make sure the software you create runs efficiently on them. For whatever purpose it may be, we will guide you on where to find and how to install some of the older macOS versions.
Where to download old macOS?
You need the installer for whatever version of macOS you want to install before you are able to do it. These files are easy to get from the App Store.
We will show you where and how to install the following versions: macOS Catalina
- macOS Catalina
- macOS Mojave
- macOS High Sierra
- OS X Snow Leopard
- OS X Mountain Lion
- OS X Lion
Other ways to get old macOS versions
If you have access to a computer with an older version of macOS, it should be rather easy to find older versions to download. In the Mac App Store of any version older than macOS Mojave (2018) you should be able to find every macOS under the tab Purchased.
How to get an older mac OS X from the Mac App Store
Step by Step:
- Open the Mac App Store and choose Store > Sign in if you haven’t logged in.
- Click on the tab Purchased.
- Scroll down until you find the copy of OS X or macOS you want.
- Click Install (this will not install the software, but download the installer)
This process will only work if you downloaded these versions before, or had them previously installed. Notice that if you have installed Mojave or later it won’t work at all.
With the Mojave version, the Mac App Store changed, and the older installers cannot be found in the purchased section.
How to download macOS Catalina?
Catalina should have arrived on your Mac via Software Update, it is still possible to download the installer through the Mac App Store. This link will allow you to download it without much effort, remember to use Safari when browsing: macOS Catalina downloader.
Step by Step:
- Click on the link above
- Click on Get
- The Software Update will show “Finding Update”, and eventually turn into “Are you sure you want to download macOS Catalina”. While it looks like it is a full version, the size of the file after the download should be about 6GB.
- After the download is complete, don’t click on Install or the installer will delete itself automatically.
- Then find the installer MacOS Catalina app in the Applications folder where you can copy it onto your own computer or make a bootable installer of it.
How to download macOS Mojave?
You can access macOS Mojave through this link to the Mac App Store: macOS Mojave installer. Remember to open it in Safari only, or else it won’t download. You can follow the same steps used for macOS Catalina.
How to download High Sierra
Use only Safari to download High Sierra. You can use this link to access the file on the Mac App Store: macOS High Sierra installer. You can follow the same steps used for macOS Catalina.
How to get older macOS like OS X Snow Leopard, OS X Lion, Mountain Lion
Mac OS x Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard has never been available on the App Store since it is the first version of Mac OS X to come out on the Mac App Store.
Snow Leopard introduces the way to download Mac OS X updates and new apps. This means anyone with a Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or earlier can’t access the Mac App to download anything.
Luckily, Apple sells the boxed version of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. The price is about $20, a bit less than at its release. This link goes to one of the places where you can purchase it on the Apple website: macOS X Snow Leopard.
They will send a physical box that contains an optical disc, meaning you will need a CD/DVD drive.
Mac OS x Lion and Mountain Lion
Snow Leopard is not the only one that you can purchase from Apple’s website, Lion and Mountain Lion versions are available as well.
If you want the macOS X 10.7 Lion, you need to be running Snow Leopard to install it. It cost about $20. After purchase, Apple will send a download code to use on the Mac App Store.
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, costs the same and can be available for download with the code sent by Apple after the purchase.
How to get OS X Leopard or earlier mac OS
The only way to get an OS version that predates the Snow Leopard is by having a developer’s account at developer.apple.com/downloads.
If you go into the OS X category, you will find downloads for all versions of OS X, from 10.3 to 10.6.
You need to have an Apple ID with a paid Apple Developer Program to download certain software.
The Bottom Line
The three main ways to download different versions of older mac OS X are very straightforward. Keep in mind that some older macOS versions are not stable and may contain a lot of bugs and glitches, so make sure you know what you are doing.
That’s how to download old macOS and mac OS X versions. If you have got any problems during the process, let us know in the comments below.