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So, you’ve decided to download an older version of Mac OS X. There are many reasons that could point you to this radical decision. To begin with, some of your apps may not be working properly (or simply crash) on newer operating systems. Also, you may have noticed your Mac’s performance went down right after the last update. Finally, if you want to run a parallel copy of Mac OS X on a virtual machine, you too will need a working installation file of an older Mac OS X. Further down we’ll explain where to get one and what problems you may face down the road.
A list of all Mac OS X versions
We’ll be repeatedly referring to these Apple OS versions below, so it’s good to know the basic macOS timeline.
|Cheetah 10.0||Puma 10.1||Jaguar 10.2|
|Panther 10.3||Tiger 10.4||Leopard 10.5|
|Snow Leopard 10.6||Lion 10.7||Mountain Lion 10.8|
|Mavericks 10.9||Yosemite 10.10||El Capitan 10.11|
|Sierra 10.12||High Sierra 10.13||Mojave 10.14|
STEP 1. Prepare your Mac for installation
Given your Mac isn’t new and is filled with data, you will probably need enough free space on your Mac. This includes not just space for the OS itself but also space for other applications and your user data. One more argument is that the free space on your disk translates into virtual memory so your apps have “fuel” to operate on. The chart below tells you how much free space is needed.
Note, that it is recommended that you install OS on a clean drive. Next, you will need enough disk space available, for example, to create Recovery Partition. Here are some ideas to free up space on your drive:
- Uninstall large unused apps
- Empty Trash Bin and Downloads
- Locate the biggest files on your computer:
Go to Finder > All My Files > Arrange by size
Then you can move your space hoggers onto an external drive or a cloud storage.
If you aren’t comfortable with cleaning the Mac manually, there are some nice automatic “room cleaners”. Our favorite is CleanMyMac as it’s most simple to use of all. It deletes system junk, old broken apps, and the rest of hidden junk on your drive.
Download CleanMyMac for OS 10.4 - 10.8 (free version)
Download CleanMyMac for OS 10.9 (free version)
Download CleanMyMac for OS 10.10 - 10.14 (free version)
STEP 2. Get a copy of Mac OS X download
Normally, it is assumed that updating OS is a one-way road. That’s why going back to a past Apple OS version is problematic. The main challenge is to download the OS installation file itself, because your Mac may already be running a newer version. If you succeed in downloading the OS installation, your next step is to create a bootable USB or DVD and then reinstall the OS on your computer.
How to download older Mac OS X versions via the App Store
If you once had purchased an old version of Mac OS X from the App Store, open it and go to the Purchased tab. There you’ll find all the installers you can download. However, it doesn’t always work that way. The purchased section lists only those operating systems that you had downloaded in the past. But here is the path to check it:
- Click the App Store icon.
- Click Purchases in the top menu.
- Scroll down to find the preferred OS X version.
- Click Download.
This method allows you to download Mavericks and Yosemite by logging with your Apple ID — only if you previously downloaded them from the Mac App Store.
Without App Store: Download Mac OS version as Apple Developer
If you are signed with an Apple Developer account, you can get access to products that are no longer listed on the App Store. If you desperately need a lower OS X version build, consider creating a new Developer account among other options. The membership cost is $99/year and provides a bunch of perks unavailable to ordinary users.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that if you visit developer.apple.com/downloads, you can only find 10.3-10.6 OS X operating systems there. Newer versions are not available because starting Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.7, the App Store has become the only source of updating Apple OS versions.
Purchase an older version of Mac operating system
You can purchase a boxed or email version of past Mac OS X directly from Apple. Both will cost you around $20. For the reason of being rather antiquated, Snow Leopard and earlier Apple versions can only be installed from DVD.
Buy a boxed edition of Snow Leopard 10.6
Get an email copy of Lion 10.7
Get an email copy of Mountain Lion 10.8
The email edition comes with a special download code you can use for the Mac App Store. Note, that to install the Lion or Mountain Lion, your Mac needs to be running Snow Leopard so you can install the newer OS on top of it.
How to get macOS El Capitan download
If you are wondering if you can run El Capitan on an older Mac, rejoice as it’s possible too. But before your Mac can run El Capitan it has to be updated to OS X 10.6.8. So, here are main steps you should take:
1. Install Snow Leopard from install DVD.
2. Update to 10.6.8 using Software Update.
3. Download El Capitan here.
“I can’t download an old version of Mac OS X”
If you have a newer Mac, there is no physical option to install Mac OS versions older than your current Mac model. For instance, if your MacBook was released in 2014, don’t expect it to run any OS released prior of that time, because older Apple OS versions simply do not include hardware drivers for your Mac.
But as it often happens, workarounds are possible. There is still a chance to download the installation file if you have an access to a Mac (or virtual machine) running that operating system. For example, to get an installer for Lion, you may ask a friend who has Lion-operated Mac or, once again, set up a virtual machine running Lion. Then you will need to prepare an external drive to download the installation file using OS X Utilities.
After you’ve completed the download, the installer should launch automatically, but you can click Cancel and copy the file you need. Below is the detailed instruction how to do it.
STEP 3. Install older OS X onto an external drive
The following method allows you to download Mac OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks.
- Start your Mac holding down Command + R.
- Prepare a clean external drive (at least 10 GB of storage).
- Within OS X Utilities, choose Reinstall OS X.
- Select external drive as a source.
- Enter your Apple ID.
Now the OS should start downloading automatically onto the external drive. After the download is complete, your Mac will prompt you to do a restart, but at this point, you should completely shut it down. Now that the installation file is “captured” onto your external drive, you can reinstall the OS, this time running the file on your Mac.
- Boot your Mac from your standard drive.
- Connect the external drive.
- Go to external drive > OS X Install Data.
Locate InstallESD.dmg disk image file — this is the file you need to reinstall Lion OS X. The same steps are valid for Mountain Lion and Mavericks.
How to downgrade a Mac running later macOS versions
If your Mac runs macOS Sierra 10.12 or macOS High Sierra 10.13, it is possible to revert it to the previous system if you are not satisfied with the experience. You can do it either with Time Machine or by creating a bootable USB or external drive.
Instruction to downgrade from macOS Sierra
Instruction to downgrade from macOS High Sierra
Instruction to downgrade from macOS Mojave
Instruction to downgrade from macOS Catalina
Before you do it, the best advice is to back your Mac up so your most important files stay intact. In addition to that, it makes sense to clean up your Mac from old system junk files and application leftovers. The easiest way to do it is to run CleanMyMac X on your machine (download it for free here).
Visit your local Apple Store to download older OS X version
If none of the options to get older OS X worked, pay a visit to nearest local Apple Store. They should have image installations going back to OS Leopard and earlier. You can also ask their assistance to create a bootable USB drive with the installation file. So here you are. We hope this article has helped you to download an old version of Mac OS X. Below are a few more links you may find interesting.
These might also interest you:
Here are the links for Mac OS X Mountain Lion Free Download. No signup, no payment, or slow server, just click on direct links to download Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
Size: 4.14 GB
Developer: Apple Inc
Released: July 25, 2012
Last update: August 13, 2015
Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 is the ninth major release of the OS family. The goal behind the operating system was to create an OS with better management and synchronizing between different Apple products.
The old Mac OS X is now called macOS. As, Apple has released the operating system with the only available only on the Mac App Store. This change has brought Apple the option to release updates every year instead of their traditional every two years or so.
It was released on July 25, 2012 on Mac App Store and was purchased around 19.99$. Mountain Lion was the start of macOS being sold free of cost as all of the successors of Mountain Lion were free of cost.
Operating system before Mountain Lion was always purchased, however, after the Mountain Lion all the versions were sold for free and it was the last paid upgrade.
Still, costing around 19.99$ for the users a total of 3 million copies were sold in the first four days. And by June 10, 2013 more than 28 million more were sold.
It was also the first macOS who introduced the notification center to users. The app was used to provide an overview and alerts form applications. Small pop-up was used in display as notifications. The only way to clear the notification was to complete the action associated with the particular alert.
OS X Mountain Lion was the successor of Mac OS X Lion and was succeeded by Mac OS X Mavericks.
The last update released for OS X 10.8 was made on August 13, 2015. When Apple released Mountain Lion version 10.8.5 which was to patch the security dents.
The official system requirement of OS X Mountain Lion are 2 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage. Still, the operating system can also be run on the following Macs:
To use Mountain Lion, you need one of these Macs:
- iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
- MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminium, or Early 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
- Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
- Xserve (Early 2009)
Many beta versions were released before the official release. Some of the applications were removed while some new applications like Web browsers, game centers, and iCloud services were added. Lots of features were replaced with more compelling and rich ones. OS X Mountain Lion had provided a user-friendly environment with these features given below.
We can’t say the entire interface has been changed. However, we can say numerous changes are made in this version. As a new notification center is placed on the top right corner of your screen. That provides you a window to see the recent notifications about different applications in your Mac. The notification can be about updates, issues with the apps, or any other problem.
Free Download Mac Os X Lion 10.7.5
System’s performance has also been improved as you can take Wi-Fi as an example. Wi-Fi performance has been enhanced greatly to 802.11 ac for AFP file transfer.
Many expectations were on this operating system and in the end, it covered most of it. Apple has tried its best to solve all those problems in its new operating system that the users were facing in older versions. Sending large files was a challenge in the past as the servers were unable to support the load. But now those problems were also solved.
Some small application is added for this version of Mac OS X. As, iChat is replaced with messages. Messages is a small application with the capability of both video and audio calling. The application can send numbers of instant messages while can also share large sized files without tearing down the quality. Other features like screen sharing and group calling is also valid.
One of the great things about this app is that it is quite handy. As you can send a message to your friend with you Mac and answer him with your iPhone.
Game center was criticized in the past for the thin library. However, Apple had improved the app developing tools for macOS, which caused to add a number of games being added to the gaming library. Other than game quantity, you are also provided with the multi-player option.
Multiplayer features allow you to play with your friends. Still it is not limited to just playing with multiple users but there is no boundary on platforms as well. You can use your mac while your friend uses the iPad and both of you play the same game at a time.
Note was a part of Mail in the previous versions of Mac OS X but now this is a separate application. It allows the users to pin notes on desktop. All the notes can be synchronized with your iCloud account, so that you won’t miss a single note.
iCloud allows you to write down any document you want on your computer which later can be accessed through iPhone, iPad, or Mac. The app synchronizes with your devices like iPhone and manages your tasks. It can also keep your reminder and notes updated on all of your devices.
Dictation is a tool that you can use to speak to fill any text field like creating an email, reminders, or messages. Only thing you will need while using it to have an internet connection.
Mac Os X Lion Free Download For Dell Laptop
There is a feature called AirPlay Mirroring used to stream your screen on other different screens like Apple TV. AirPlay can stream up to 720p to your Apple TV through Wi-Fi.
Apple has the option to use the applications from the Mac App Store or from other sources. However, using any other third party application will activate the Gatekeeper who will check the application. Then it will allow either the users are able to install it or not. This is a great step, as it helps to protect the user’s data from an unknown threat that comes with different applications.
Power nap is the second last feature in this list. Power nap is a handy feature used to download any file while your system goes to sleep. Downloading while sleeping can save you lots of power and puts less effort into your hardware.
Automated application updating facility.
- Here are features which not available in Mac OS X Mountain Lion.
- MobileMe was completely replaced by iCloud.
- RSS in Mail and Safari is removed.
- Software Update Service is now unified to Mac App Store.
- Xgrid support was removed (including X Server edition).
- The Display Preference status menu was replaced by the Airplay icon.
- The option in Menu Bar to display battery life using “Time” is no longer offered. Instead, the only option is to display battery “Percentage”. However, battery time can still be viewed in the dropdown by clicking on the battery icon.
Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion free. download full Version
Apple has impressed the crowd with the enhancement they did on both software and hardware over the years. And Mac OS X Mountain Lion is one of them. Here you can download the full standalone offline installer for free.
Size: 4.14 GB
Program Class: Operating System
Released: July 25, 2012
Last update: August 13, 2015
Developer: Apple Inc
Successor: Mac OS X Mavericks
Predecessor: Mac OS X Lion
Setup Type: Offline Installer/ Full standalone setup