I have an old Mac, currently running Mac OS X 10.6.8 "Snow Leopard" that I must upgrade to OS X 10.10 "Yosemite". It has 8 GB RAM.

The "About this Mac" gives me the following information:

Mac OS X Version 10.6.8
Processor: 3.6 GHz Intel Core i5
Memory: 8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3

The "more info" gives me (among others):

Model name: iMac
Model identifier iMac 11,3

I first did the "Software Updates" which was ready in a few minutes.

When I try the update to Yosemite, though, I get the spinning cursor and it stays that way. I thought that maybe it was just a huge download, so I left it on for the night. The next day, after more than 20 hours, I still saw the spinning cursor.

This Mac belongs to the workplace. An internet search told me to check the "Purchases" tab on the App Store, but for that I need my boss's password. I'd rather not need that.

I do have admin privileges on the machine.

I've found the Console Messages, but the only thing I see there is "This isn't a bitmap context. Forcing destination format to ARGB_8 for CG_Context".

I've looked at this answer but I find that the CRL is already set to "off".

Network connectivity seems OK. Regular browsing works fine.

So - without access to the purchase record of the machine, but with admin privileges, how can I see what is going on? Ideally, how can I upgrade this machine to Yosemite?


The problem seems to be with the App Store. I'm trying to install a free utility (Caffeine) and I get the same problem: the spinning cursor, but no actual progress.

  • @sl - Nice work. I'll give a general answer and you can work on a follow on or details later.
    – bmike
    Aug 20, 2015 at 21:45

4 Answers 4


If the desired Mac is slow, you can always use another Mac to do the download of the OS X installer.

  1. Make a guest account on that Mac and sign in with your AppleID since you'll want to shift off your boss's password and get everything under an ID you control.
  2. Go to the App Store and download the installer - but don't run it.
  3. Copy that installer application to a USB drive and take it to the slow mac.

The slow Mac probably needs a back up and possible Disk Utility to repair the catalog structure.

Worst case, you can order a USB media from Apple - call in to the sales number for your country and ask to purchase a media instead of a download. They often will help you enough to get your Mac upgraded for free.

Once you get the install running, you can look at /var/log/install.log to see the progress and where things get slow or hang.

  • Thanks. I'm not an Apple user myself, but some people here are. It's not the Mac itself that is slow, it's just the update that hangs. I'll see where the advice by you and @Oyebode get me. Aug 21, 2015 at 8:34
  • @S.L.Barth Separating the download and the update allows you to inspect the install logs. I'll edit my post to point them out to you. Cheers and thanks for sticking with us trying to help
    – bmike
    Aug 21, 2015 at 13:14
  • Thanks for all the help. I had hoped to finish this on Friday, but didn't get it done in time. I have a week off now, so ironically I have to leave this for a while just after the "thanks for sticking with us". I'm voting what helped so far, and will probably be able to accept an answer next week. Aug 23, 2015 at 18:11

Simply, you could download the standalone installer of the yosemite os. It comes as an app and you can easily run it on the old mac to upgrade it. You can download it here http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/48498/os-x-yosemite. note that some Mac models do not support this upgrade such as power PCs...for a full list of supported models, check here http://www.apple.com/osx/how-to-upgrade. As long as you have the admin privilege(password) of the system,

  • I'm not sure this is the best way to proceed. I'll propose an alternate method.
    – bmike
    Aug 20, 2015 at 21:45

Just clone from another mac using the required version you are looking for.

  • 1
    Welcome to Ask Different. We like answers to be more than just a single line. Ideally, you want to explain why your answer is *right." It also helps to provide links, citations, and/or screen shots. Please review our help section How to Answer on writing good answers to questions
    – Allan
    Jun 27, 2016 at 13:26

You should always see some continuing assurance of of progress (as you said; spinner) on any download-- or quit & start again, making some changes, selections or adjustments to input. If the thing appears dead in 5 minutes, kick it & start again. 20 hr download times were entire albums on Napster with a landline phone modem. Life Is short & time is finite

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .