Downloading Prior Versions of the Mac OS From the App Store

Sep 17, 2014
Reaction score
OK, this issue has come up a number of times, and in fact in my attempts to help JamesD with his iMac issues, it is rearing its ugly head again. So, hopefully by posting it here, an answer (or answers) can be found.

First, I have never had this issue, as I have always downloaded each new Mac OS "shortly" after it comes out from the App Store. In fact, right now, under my Purchases tab, it shows that I have "purchased" (downloaded) Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, and El Capitan. (question: I also have downloaded Sierra twice (initially OS 10.12, and recently OS 10.12.3). Why are neither of them shown under my Purchases tab?).

Secondly, a number of users have posted an issue with trying to obtain a prior version of the Mac OS, even if they either have Snow Leopard (OS 10.6.8), or a more recent Mac OS. In JamesD's case, he initially had Lion (OS 10.7) on his iMac, but he decided to update to OS 10.12.3, Sierra, via the App Store. This has caused him issues for a variety of reasons, and in trying to help him, I have recommended first updating to an intermediate Mac OS (since Lion), like Mavericks or Yosemite. But, he cannot find Yosemite in the App Store (I don't know if his download of Sierra shows up in his Purchases tab. It does not for me, as I stated above).

So, how exactly can an individual obtain an "intermediate" Mac OS from the App Store for free (assuming they have a "qualifying" Mac OS already)?

Cory Cooper

May 19, 2004
Reaction score

-macOS Sierra doesn't show in App Store > Purchased, since it is the current OS and you already have it installed. When its successor is released, it will then show in Purchased.

-If JamesD never "purchased" (downloaded for free) one of the OS X versions between Lion and Sierra, they will not show in Purchased, and are no longer available directly in the App Store. He won't be able to get a copy of them from the App Store. He may be able to take his Mac into an Apple Store and see if they would install an intermediate version of OS X, but they aren't obligated to do that. However, most Apple Stores would be happy to perform that "downgrade" to make customers happy.

Hope that helps,


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question