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I've seen lot of guides how to install Yosemite etc which are "free to download" that start with "download OSX from Apple Store".

That is nice, but works only if you already have a working Mac that supports that target OS you want to get, otherwise you can't download them. In case you have a formatted Mac, some older model (I have mac mini from 2008), where online recover doesn't work - how would you download it?

There are torrents that contain .dmg file, but I don't think that is OK to use.

  • Your Mac Mini should have come with an installation DVD? It's one of those listed with a maximum OS of 10.7.5, in 2008 it would have come with something around 10.5. See How to install OS X Yosemite on your Mac for the requirements. You could try this video - How to Install OS X Yosemite on an Unsupported Mac. The links are still live, if it works you'd likely have problems on OS upgrades. Doesn't help you get the Yosemite install image. – user90735 Mar 25 '15 at 8:02
  • The original owner replaced drive with secondary HDD, so the mac mini has 2 HDD's but no drive. I suppose that for this reason he didn't even send any installation media. The machine is able to run Yosemite just fine, it was installed even before, and torrented version works as well. It's just weird that there is no official direct download link from apple store. According to apple Yosemite is "free" and if you already have a second, working Mac, you can download the .dmg file and use it anyway... – Petr Mar 25 '15 at 16:43
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You can download any Apple software directly from the Developer portal: https://developer.apple.com/downloads/index.action

Not sure if the site is accessible to non-developers.

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  • Does this also allow downloading of full OSX Installer images? – nohillside Mar 25 '15 at 6:55
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    The site is accessible, but it doesn't contain OS images, mostly only SDK and developer tools – Petr Mar 25 '15 at 16:49

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