I am using a Mac Mini (Late 2012) that is running macOS 10.9.5 (Mavericks). I avoided upgrading to macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) when it was first released because of all of the stability issues surrounding it and have stuck to macOS 10.9.5. Never “purchased” or even attempted to download it via the Apple app store.

Now that macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) has been released, what can I do to upgrade to macOS 10.10.5 if/when I wish to? When I am in the Apple app store the only option I see macOS 10.11 as an upgrade option; screenshot below.

The logic is, I assume that macOS 10.10.5 is more stable that macOS 10.10 when it was first released, so I would like to put a 10.10.5 upgrade on my plate of options if/when I have the time and patience to deal with. I would like to avoid macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) for a while if possible.

Is my only option at this point to download a macOS 10.10.5 installer from some non-Apple website somewhere or does Apple have any accommodations to allow end-users to download macOS 10.10.5 from them in some way?

I see this OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 Update as well as this OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 Combo Update is available for download, but would any/either of those be useful to someone like me running macOS 10.9.5 in any way? I assume those updates are only useful for someone already running 10.10 already, correct?

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  • 1
    Look at the System Requirements on the pages you linked, it answers the question regarding that. As far as downloading OS X 10.10.x from the App Store, if you've never downloaded it before then you'll not be able to download it from the App Store now that OS X 10.11 has been released. If you have, then it will be available under Purchased. Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 3:40

4 Answers 4


As soon as a new Mac OS is released, the previous one becomes unavailable.

The only way to get an older OS directly from Apple is to have previously 'purchased it' - even if it was free - then it will appear in your purchase history in the App Store.

If it's not in your purchase history, then you'll have to get it from a trustworthy friend [or less-trustworthy torrent etc]

10.10.anything will do, as you can still get the combo updater to 10.10.5

It's always wise to get a new OS download, even if you don't intend to install it right now - just so it's always in your history. I have every OS back to Lion in my purchase history - good for if I ever need a disposable OS for testing etc.

As Sierra will not run on older machines, this rule has been relaxed for machines whose last supported OS is El Capitan.
You can download it from here - https://itunes.apple.com/app/os-x-el-capitan/id1147835434?mt=12 - but it will not run if your machine is capable of running Sierra.
If it is capable, then you are back to needing it in your purchase history already.

  • 2
    THANK YOU SO MUCH. I didn't realize I could get it from my purchases! My brother had downloaded it while I had downloaded El Capitan.
    – norcalli
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 1:14

Some of the previous versions of macOS are linked via support pages they have added to their website. A detailed page that not only lists which versions are available, but also helps users determine which version of macOS they are currently running can be found here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201260

I learned of these when I ran into a similar issue of needing to upgrade Apple hardware after the version I needed was removed from the App Store. Support pages are here:

Direct links to download the installer via the App Store or other locations:

The details about the hardware that each version supports is listed on each upgrade page.

The most important thing that I'm unsure of is if the App Store links listed in these pages will allow someone to visit those pages and download that version of macOS even if the user hasn't previously downloaded or associated it with their Apple ID. Since I had previously downloaded and associated each of these versions with my Apple ID (with the exception of Mojave), all the App Store download links worked for me.

  • I wanted to fill out this post with additional links to older releases, and searched extensively for similar support pages. Apple doesn't appear to have any equivalent articles for releases older than El Capitan. Although, as a semi-interesting aside, this still seems to be available if you want Mountain Lion added to your account, and don't mind paying $20 for the privilege: apple.com/shop/product/D6377Z/A/os-x-mountain-lion (Note, misleading picture, it's a redemption code). Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 17:07

If you don't have an older version of OSX in your purchase history, another option is to get it from an Apple retail store. Just make an appointment with the Genius Bar, take your computer in (even mac pro/mini/imac), and they can connect an ethernet cable and install any version of OSX from their servers, at least as far back as 10.6. They did if for free when I had it done about 9 months ago, and it was much faster than installing it at home. I believe it only took about 20 minutes.


The currently existing answers don't answer the questions posed in your last paragraph, so I'll cover that here. The update pages you link to have small clickable text at the bottom giving System Requirements. These system requirements clarify that the "OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 Update" only works if you have 10.10.4 already installed, and that the "OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 Combo Update" only works if you have some previous version of Yosemite installed, i.e. 10.10.x. Neither can be used to upgrade from Mavericks or any other earlier version of OSX.

Note: I originally failed to notice the System Requirements link, so this answer has been changed from a previous incorrect one.

  • I've removed the comments, please use a chat room for further discussions about the merits of this answer.
    – nohillside
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 8:49

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