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macOS troubleshooting: what to do if you can't download or install Mac OS X - Apple Support


How to Download macOS for Your Mac




macOS is the operating system that powers every Mac. It lets you do things you simply cant with other computers. Thats because its designed specifically for the hardware it runs on and vice versa.


If you want to enjoy the latest features and built-in apps that macOS has to offer, you might want to download it for your Mac. Downloading macOS can also help you maintain your computer's security, stability, and compatibility.




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In this article, we'll show you how to download macOS for your Mac using different methods. Whether you want to update your current version of macOS or install a previous one, we've got you covered.


How to Use Software Update to Download macOS




One of the easiest ways to download macOS for your Mac is to use Software Update. This method is faster and easier than other methods, and it might require less storage space to download and install the upgrade.


Software Update shows only upgrades that are compatible with your Mac. You don't have to worry about downloading an incompatible version of macOS that might cause problems with your device.


To use Software Update, follow these steps:


System Preferences, then click Software Update. If any updates are available, click the Update Now button to install them. Or click More info to see details about each update and select specific updates to install. - When Software Update says that your Mac is up to date, the installed version of macOS and all of its apps are also up to date. That includes Safari, Music, Photos, Books, Messages, Mail, Calendar, and FaceTime. - To automatically install future updates, including for apps that you got from the App Store, select Automatically keep my Mac up to date. Your Mac will notify you when updates require it to restart, so you can always choose to install those later.


For more information on how to use Software Update to download macOS for your Mac, visit .


How to Use the App Store or Your Browser to Download macOS




Another way to download macOS for your Mac is to use the App Store or your browser. This method might require more storage space to download and install the upgrade, but it allows you to download previous versions of macOS that are not available through Software Update.


For example, you might want to download an older version of macOS if you have an older Mac that is not compatible with the latest version, or if you need to run certain apps that are not supported by the latest version.


To use the App Store or your browser to download macOS, follow these steps:


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  • Open the App Store on your Mac and search for the version of macOS that you want to download. You can also use your browser to go to and find the version of macOS that you want to download.



  • Click the Download button for the version of macOS that you want. If you don't see a Download button, the version is not compatible with your Mac.



  • After downloading, the installer opens automatically. Click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions.



For more information on how to use the App Store or your browser to download macOS for your Mac, visit .


How to Create a Bootable Installer for macOS




A bootable installer is a device that contains a copy of macOS that you can use to install or reinstall macOS on any compatible Mac. You might need a bootable installer if you want to install macOS on multiple Macs without downloading it each time, or if you want to erase your startup disk before installing macOS.


To create a bootable installer for macOS, you need an external drive (such as a USB flash drive or a hard drive) with at least 12GB of available storage space, and a downloaded installer file for the version of macOS that you want. You also need to use Terminal commands to create the bootable installer.


To create a bootable installer for macOS, follow these steps:


  • Connect the external drive to your Mac and make sure that it is formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). You can use Disk Utility to format the drive if needed.



  • Open Terminal from the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.



  • Type or paste one of the following commands in Terminal. These commands assume that the installer file is in your Applications folder and that the name of your external drive is MyVolume. If either is different, replace them with the correct ones.



  • For Big Sur: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume



  • For Catalina: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume



  • For Mojave: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume



  • For High Sierra: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume



  • For Sierra: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app



For El Capitan: sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources A: You can downgrade to an older version of macOS by erasing your startup disk and reinstalling macOS from a bootable installer or macOS Recovery. However, this will delete all of your data on your Mac, so make sure you have a backup before doing this.


Q: How do I backup my Mac before downloading macOS?




A: You can backup your Mac before downloading macOS by using Time Machine, which is a built-in feature that automatically backs up your files to an external drive or a network device. You can also use other backup methods, such as iCloud, Dropbox, or a third-party app.


Q: How do I find out if my Mac is compatible with the latest version of macOS?




A: You can find out if your Mac is compatible with the latest version of macOS by visiting .


Q: How do I download macOS for a new or erased Mac?




A: You can download macOS for a new or erased Mac by using macOS Recovery, which is a built-in feature that allows you to reinstall macOS over the internet. To use macOS Recovery, follow these steps:


  • Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold one of these key combinations: Command ()-R, Option--R, Shift-Option--R, or Option-D. Release the keys when you see an Apple logo, spinning globe, or other startup screen.



  • Select your language and click Continue.



  • Choose Reinstall macOS from the utilities window and click Continue.



  • Follow the onscreen instructions to select your startup disk and begin the installation.



For more information on how to use macOS Recovery to download macOS for your Mac, visit .


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