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does anyone know if it is possible to download El Capitan directly, as opposed to going through the App Store? I'd like to be able to upgrade, but App Store is blocked on my machine.

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    You can always go into your local Apple Store and download it there. They will even help. – Allan Jul 19 '16 at 18:51
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Here is a link to download the latest updates manually from Apple.

Here is a torrent file to download InstallESD.dmg, getting speeds of 1mbps+. OS X is free and open to public so this isn't illegal.

This file's SHA1 Checksum is 306a080c07e293b6765ba950bab213572704acec. Here is a list of official Apple checksums. So this is official and not been tampered with.

Checksum image

If you are a developer, or know one that will give you his credentials, you can download it from https://developer.apple.com/download

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    I just read in another post that you cannot know for sure that the installer is safe unless you pull it from the App Store, and that the best way to go about getting the installer is to have someone else download it from the app store and then put it on a USB stick, transferring it that way. How do you know that the file on the torrent is safe? – zeeple Jul 18 '16 at 21:21
  • You just said that you can't download it from the AppStore, so how would you know if any other file is safe? – emotality Jul 18 '16 at 21:22
  • I wouldn't !! I cannot download it from the app store on the machine I want to upgrade. How ever, I can download it from another machine and just transfer with a USB or dropbox or something. Thanks for the link though. – zeeple Jul 18 '16 at 21:35
  • Why can you not download from the App Store? – 3871968 Jul 19 '16 at 2:14
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    I wouldn't touch a torrent of an OS installer with a barge-pole; unless you can confirm its checksum against a known good one. – Tetsujin Jul 19 '16 at 12:40
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If your are trying to upgrade from OS X 10.7 on an old MacBook (like I am doing) to get El Capitan and then be able to upgrade to the latest macOS, you can also try to use Internet Recovery. Press and hold CommandOptionR during startup and you will enter Internet Recovery. Then you can install the latest macOS version (High Sierra, at the moment).

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