I show a method I used to upgrade my 2013 MacBook Pro from Mountain Lion to High Sierra then to Catalina. Until recently if you wanted to upgrade (or downgrade) old Mac to Mac OS X Lion (from 2011) or Mountain Lion (from 2012) you needed to pay Apple and the company would send you a special download.

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As long as you bought a Mac from June 11th onwards, you're eligible for a free upgrade to Mountain Lion! Just make sure you request your upgrade within 30 days of Mountain Lions' release and the free upgrade is yours! (Eligible Mac purchases can be from Apple or Apple Authorized Resellers).

How do I upgrade to Mountain Lion?

How to Upgrade Install macOS Mountain Lion

  1. Launch the Mountain Lion installer. ...
  2. Close any applications that are currently running on your Mac, including your browser and this guide. ...
  3. With the Mountain Lion installer window will open, select Continue.
  4. The license agreement will appear.

Can I upgrade from Lion to Mountain Lion?

After your OS and apps are up to date, launch the Mac App Store and download OS X Mountain Lion ($19.99 for Upgrade). A Mountain Lion icon will display on the Launchpad while it's downloaded.

Can you upgrade from Lion to El Capitan?

Who can get OS X El Capitan? Anyone with an Apple computer using Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, or Yosemite can upgrade to OS X El Capitan. The system requirements for El Capitan are the same as those for Yosemite. For a full list of hardware requirements, view the OS X Technical Specifications.

Is Mountain Lion still supported by Apple?

Remember, even Lion isn't supported anymore, and Snow Leopard hasn't gotten new security updates for quite a while, so it's best to avoid using both of these older operating systems. Of course, Apple no longer releases security updates for Leopard (Mac OS X version 10.5.

Can I download older versions of Mac OS?

Mountain

Any old macOS you have won't run anymore, because the security certificates on them expired then. However, any old macOS installer that you can download from Apple now will work. ... For some years, Apple kept the old installers for versions such as El Capitan, Sierra and High Sierra in the App Store, but hid them.

Can I upgrade from Mountain Lion to Catalina?

The following versions of OS X and macOS can be upgraded to macOS Catalina. * If your Mac is running OS X Lion or Mountain Lion, you must upgrade to El Capitan before you can upgrade to Catalina. If your Mac is running Mavericks or newer, you can proceed to upgrade to Catalina.

Can you upgrade from Lion to Sierra?

If you have macOS Sierra (the current macOS version), you can upgrade straight to High Sierra without doing any other software installations. If you are running Lion (version 10.7. 5), Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, or El Capitan, you can upgrade directly from one of those versions to Sierra.

How old is Mountain Lion OS?

OS X Mountain Lion was released on July 25, 2012 for purchase and download through Apple's Mac App Store, as part of a switch to releasing OS X versions online and every year, rather than every two years or so.

How do I upgrade from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion?

As long as you're running the most up-to-date Snow Leopard version (10.6. 8), you can directly upgrade to Mountain Lion, as detailed on Apple's 10.8 Upgrade Page. Just download from the App Store and you should be good to go.

Can I upgrade from El Capitan to Catalina?

Go to the OS X 10.11 El Capitan download page to get it. Open the System Preferences menu and select Software Update. ... Click the Upgrade Now or Download button to start downloading the Catalina installer.

Update Lion To Mountain Lion Speed

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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.

Update Mac Os Lion 10.7.5 To Mountain Lion

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 10.0Puma 10.1Jaguar 10.2
Panther 10.3Tiger 10.4Leopard 10.5
Snow Leopard 10.6Lion 10.7Mountain Lion 10.8
Mavericks 10.9Yosemite 10.10El Capitan 10.11
Sierra 10.12High Sierra 10.13Mojave 10.14
Catalina 10.15

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.

Update Lion To Mountain Lion Video

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:

  1. Click the App Store icon.
  2. Click Purchases in the top menu.
  3. Scroll down to find the preferred OS X version.
  4. 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.

Update Lion To Mountain Lion Attack

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:

Update Lion To Mountain Lion

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.

Lion

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.

  1. Start your Mac holding down Command + R.
  2. Prepare a clean external drive (at least 10 GB of storage).
  3. Within OS X Utilities, choose Reinstall OS X.
  4. Select external drive as a source.
  5. 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.

  1. Boot your Mac from your standard drive.
  2. Connect the external drive.
  3. Go to external drive > OS X Install Data.
Update Lion To Mountain Lion

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.