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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
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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.
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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:
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Docker Desktop for Mac is the Community version of Docker for Mac.You can download Docker Desktop for Mac from Docker Hub.
By downloading Docker Desktop, you agree to the terms of the Docker Software End User License Agreement and the Docker Data Processing Agreement.
What to know before you install
Relationship to Docker Machine: Installing Docker Desktop on Mac does not affect machines you created with Docker Machine. You have the option to copy containers and images from your local
default machine (if one exists) to the Docker Desktop HyperKit VM. Whenyou are running Docker Desktop, you do not need Docker Machine nodes running locally (or anywhere else). With Docker Desktop, you have a new, nativevirtualization system running (HyperKit) which takes the place of theVirtualBox system.
Your Mac must meet the following requirements to successfully install Docker Desktop:
Mac hardware must be a 2010 or a newer model, with Intel’s hardware support for memory management unit (MMU) virtualization, including Extended Page Tables (EPT) and Unrestricted Mode. You can check to see if your machine has this support by running the following command in a terminal:
If your Mac supports the Hypervisor framework, the command prints
macOS must be version 10.14 or newer. That is, Mojave or Catalina. We recommend upgrading to the latest version of macOS.
If you experience any issues after upgrading your macOS to version 10.15, you must install the latest version of Docker Desktop to be compatible with this version of macOS.
Note: Docker supports Docker Desktop on the most recent versions of macOS. Docker Desktop currently supports macOS Mojave and macOS Catalina.
As new major versions of macOS are made generally available, Docker stops supporting the oldest version and support the newest version of macOS.
At least 4 GB of RAM.
VirtualBox prior to version 4.3.30 must not be installed as it is not compatible with Docker Desktop.
What’s included in the installer
The Docker Desktop installation includes Docker Engine, Docker CLI client, Docker Compose, Notary, Kubernetes, and Credential Helper.
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Install and run Docker Desktop on Mac
Docker.dmgto open the installer, then drag the Docker icon to the Applications folder.
Docker.appin the Applications folder to start Docker. (In the example below, the Applications folder is in “grid” view mode.)
The Docker menu in the top status bar indicates that Docker Desktop is running, and accessible from a terminal.
If you’ve just installed the app, Docker Desktop launches the onboarding tutorial. The tutorial includes a simple exercise to build an example Docker image, run it as a container, push and save the image to Docker Hub.
Click the Docker menu () to seePreferences and other options.
Select About Docker to verify that you have the latest version.
Congratulations! You are now successfully running Docker Desktop.
If you would like to rerun the tutorial, go to the Docker Desktop menu and select Learn.
Uninstall Docker Desktop
To unistall Docker Desktop from your Mac:
- From the Docker menu, select Troubleshoot and then select Uninstall.
- Click Uninstall to confirm your selection.
Note: Uninstalling Docker Desktop will destroy Docker containers and images local to the machine and remove the files generated by the application.
Switch between Stable and Edge versions
Docker Desktop allows you to switch between Stable and Edge releases. However, you can only have one version of Docker Desktop installed at a time. Switching between Stable and Edge versions can destabilize your development environment, particularly in cases where you switch from a newer (Edge) channel to an older (Stable) channel.
For example, containers created with a newer Edge version of Docker Desktop maynot work after you switch back to Stable because they may have been createdusing Edge features that aren’t in Stable yet. Keep this in mind asyou create and work with Edge containers, perhaps in the spirit of a playgroundspace where you are prepared to troubleshoot or start over.
Experimental features are turned on by default on Edge releases. However, when you switch from a Stable to an Edge release, you must turn on the experimental features flag to access experimental features. From the Docker Desktop menu, click Preferences > Command Line and then turn on the Enable experimental features toggle. Click Apply & Restart for the changes to take effect.
To safely switch between Edge and Stable versions, ensure you save images and export the containers you need, then uninstall the current version before installing another. For more information, see the section Save and Restore data below.
Save and restore data
You can use the following procedure to save and restore images and container data. For example, if you want to switch between Edge and Stable, or to reset your VM disk:
docker save -o images.tar image1 [image2 ..]to save any images you want to keep. See save in the Docker Engine command line reference.
docker export -o myContainner1.tar container1to export containers you want to keep. See export in the Docker Engine command line reference.
Uninstall the current version of Docker Desktop and install a different version (Stable or Edge), or reset your VM disk.
docker load -i images.tarto reload previously saved images. See load in the Docker Engine.
docker import -i myContainer1.tarto create a filesystem image corresponding to the previously exported containers. See import in the Docker Engine.
For information on how to back up and restore data volumes, see Backup, restore, or migrate data volumes.
Where to go next
- Getting started provides an overview of Docker Desktop on Mac, basic Docker command examples, how to get help or give feedback, and links to other topics about Docker Desktop on Mac.
- Troubleshooting describes common problems, workarounds, howto run and submit diagnostics, and submit issues.
- FAQs provide answers to frequently asked questions.
- Release notes lists component updates, new features, andimprovements associated with Stable releases. For information about Edge releases, seeEdge release notes.
- Get started with Docker provides a general Docker tutorial.