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Obtaining macOS Installers

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Nov 24th, 2020
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  1. Obtaining macOS Installers
  2. ==========================
  3.  
  4.  
  5. Full, final-version OS X and macOS installer apps for 10.10.5 to 11.x can be downloaded from Apple servers using the links given below. If you are looking for an earlier point-release (eg. 10.12.2 or 10.13.0), or for Mac OS X 10.9.5 and earler, you will have to look elsewhere.
  6.  
  7. With the exception of the newest macOS, all the installers you get are *NOT* the absolutely final build version of that OS -- you will be required to run Software Update at least once after installation to install security updates and bring the OS up to its maximum possible build.
  8.  
  9. The Mac doing the download must be able to actually *run* the OS you're trying to download. The App Store (MAS) and the three direct-download package installers perform a hardware check to see if it is compatible with your download (eg. you cannot download High Sierra on a 2019 MacBook that shipped with Catalina). You can bypass this hardware check by using a guest macOS inside a virtual machine, or by using one of the alternative methods given below.
  10.  
  11.  
  12. OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 [1]
  13. http://updates-http.cdn-apple.com/2019/cert/061-41343-20191023-02465f92-3ab5-4c92-bfe2-b725447a070d/InstallMacOSX.dmg
  14.  
  15. OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 [1]
  16. http://updates-http.cdn-apple.com/2019/cert/061-41424-20191024-218af9ec-cf50-4516-9011-228c78eda3d2/InstallMacOSX.dmg
  17.  
  18. macOS Sierra 10.12.6 [1]
  19. http://updates-http.cdn-apple.com/2019/cert/061-39476-20191023-48f365f4-0015-4c41-9f44-39d3d2aca067/InstallOS.dmg
  20.  
  21. macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 [2]
  22. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/macos-high-sierra/id1246284741?ls=1&mt=12
  23.  
  24. macOS Mojave 10.14.6 [2]
  25. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/macos-mojave/id1398502828?ls=1&mt=12
  26.  
  27. macOS Catalina 10.15.6 [2]
  28. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/macos-catalina/id1466841314?ls=1&mt=12
  29.  
  30. macOS Big Sur 11.x [2]
  31. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/macos-big-sur/id1526878132?ls=1&mt=12
  32.  
  33.  
  34. Notes:
  35. 1. The direct-file downloads aren't the actual "Install [OSname]" installer apps on a DMG, instead they are delivered as a PKG bundle (an 'installer installer') -- run the 'InstallMacOSX.pkg' or 'InstallOS.pkg' and it will put the full 'Install [OSname].app' into your /Applications folder.
  36. 2. The MAS direct-access links should work from within any OS on a Mac or VM capable of running that OS, but for best results open the MAS link in Safari with the App Store app closed.
  37.  
  38. ref: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211683
  39. ref: https://mrmacintosh.com/how-to-download-macos-catalina-mojave-or-high-sierra-full-installers/
  40.  
  41.  
  42.  
  43.  
  44. Alternative methods
  45. ===================
  46.  
  47. Big Sur Install Assistant
  48. -------------------------
  49.  
  50. The full 12+ GB installer for Big Sur can be downloaded directly from Apple's Software Update servers as a PKG bundle -- running the 'InstallAssistant.pkg' will place the full 'Install macOS Big Sur.app' in your /Applications folder.
  51.  
  52. For Big Sur 11.0.1 (20B50):
  53. http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/19/41/001-83532-A_LN5NT1FB2Z/o4zodwe2nhyl7dh6cbuokn9deyfgsiqysn/InstallAssistant.pkg
  54.  
  55.  
  56. Terminal command 'softwareupdate'
  57. ---------------------------------
  58.  
  59. For those on macOS Catalina, you can download the normal 'Install [OSname].app' into your /Applications folder with the 'softwareupdate' Terminal command. Like Greg's script, this is machine-aware, so you can't download an installer on a Mac that cannot run that OS. The syntax is:
  60.  
  61. % softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer [--full-installer-version {version}]
  62.  
  63. where {version} is 10.13.6, 10.14.5, 10.14.6, 10.15 (not 10.15.0), 10.15.1 etc. Omitting the sub-flag will get the current release.
  64.  
  65. As of late 2020, most sub-version full installers are not available.
  66.  
  67.  
  68. Script Method 1: MacAdmins installinstallmacos.py
  69. -------------------------------------------------
  70.  
  71. Installers can be downloaded and automatically repackaged into an archivable / deployable .dmg file with Greg Neagle's excellent 'installinstallmacos.py' script (requires 10.12+), available here:
  72.  
  73. - https://github.com/munki/macadmin-scripts/
  74. - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/munki/macadmin-scripts/master/installinstallmacos.py
  75.  
  76. Graham Pugh has a forked version of the script with more functionality:
  77. - https://github.com/grahampugh/macadmin-scripts
  78. - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/grahampugh/macadmin-scripts/master/installinstallmacos.py
  79.  
  80. This script is machine-aware, and will show only the versions that the machine running the script can actually use, including that machine's fork-build if applicable. Running the script in a macOS VM will bypass the hardware check & show all possible downloads.
  81.  
  82. If you are merely after the macOS installer app, add the '--raw' switch when launching the script to save both time & space, eg:
  83.  
  84. % sudo python ./installinstallmacos.py --raw
  85.  
  86. Whilst the script can run under Sierra 10.12, one has to provide a newer .sucatalog URL when launching it or it won't be able to find anything, eg:
  87.  
  88. % sudo python ./installinstallmacos.py --catalogurl https://swscan.apple.com/content/catalogs/others/index-11-10.15-10.14-10.13-10.12-10.11-10.10-10.9-mountainlion-lion-snowleopard-leopard.merged-1.sucatalog
  89.  
  90.  
  91. Script Method 2: RMC Team macOS Downloader
  92. ------------------------------------------
  93.  
  94. This apparently works much like MacAdmins 'installinstallmacos.py' but instead of a Python script it is a shell script, comes with two of its own executables, and has effectively zero documentation. It's one alleged benefit is that it can get older macOS installers as actual apps rather than PKG bundles.
  95.  
  96. - https://github.com/rmc-team/macos-downloader
  97.  
  98.  
  99. GUI Method 1: Mac Deploy Stick
  100. ------------------------------
  101.  
  102. Mac Deploy Stick by Two Canoes Software (requires 10.13+) has a 'Download macOS' function that utilises the 'installinstallmacos.py' script but gives it a nice GUI:
  103.  
  104. - https://twocanoes.com/products/mac/mac-deploy-stick/
  105. - see https://twocanoes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/32-download-macOS-1024x853.png
  106.  
  107.  
  108. GUI Method 2: DOSdude1 Patcher Tools
  109. ------------------------------------
  110.  
  111. Whilst these three utilities were designed to patch macOS 10.13, 10.14 & 10.15 to run on otherwise-unsupported older Macs, they all incorporate a function to download a full macOS installer app from MAS as a preliminary step. They will also run under 10.11 to 10.15.
  112.  
  113. These utilities all access the MAS downloads directly similar to 'installinstallmacos.py' but masquerades as a VM to bypass the hardware-check requirement. The installers obtained with these three utilities are checksum-perfect and match exactly those downloaded normally via MAS or the MacAdmins scripts -- any patching done happens *only* on the USB-stick installer they create.
  114.  
  115. - http://dosdude1.com/highsierra/
  116. - via the Tools menu, see http://dosdude1.com/highsierra/tutorialimages/downloadMacOS.png
  117. - http://dosdude1.com/mojave/
  118. - via the Tools menu, see http://dosdude1.com/mojave/tutorialimages/downloadMacOS.png
  119. - http://dosdude1.com/catalina/
  120. - at the third screen 'macOS Installer App' click 'Download a Copy'
  121.  
  122. Once the utility has completed the macOS installer download, decline the offer to perform the patches and quit the tool.
  123.  
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