I just re-downloaded El Capitán off of the App Store for the purposes of transferring it to another machine via USB. When it was done downloading, it automatically launched the installer asking me to click on continue to start installing El Capitán. I do not wish to reinstall, so I quit the installer, but now I cannot find it. Where would the App Store have downloaded it to?


When finished, it puts them in the Applications folder.

OS installers are all called "Install OS X [OS Name]" which might not be what you expected, if you're looking alphabetically for instance for El Capitan.

Prior to completion they are squirrelled away deep inside /private/var/folders & not easy at all to find.

  • 1
    At this folder, search for appstore and your file probably will be something like encrypted0000000000.pkg. – Ratata Tata Dec 15 '16 at 11:53

For me it was: /private/var/folders/yy/v7l5q9l962j23_n6ttp9cxw00000gn/C/com.apple.appstore/1127487414/iyu1194865269351609080.pkg

To find it out for yourself, open "Activity Monitor" -> Select the process "storedownloadd" -> Open files and Ports -> then you should see the path.

enter image description here

  • 2
    This seems like the temp file that then get's moved to /Applications/Install macOS XX – ClintM Sep 24 '18 at 18:37

Since the location is generated in a different spot, you have to crawl the filesystem to locate the folder(s) that contain these files.

cd /private/var/folders
sudo find . -name "com.apple.appstore"

# This will throw some errors due to inaccessible directories, so it may be
# better to use
sudo find /private/var/folders -name "com.apple.appstore" 2>/dev/null

# or, making use of the fact that the result will be within TMPDIR
ls -d $TMPDIR../C/com.apple.appstore 

If you copy the location and type “open “ with a space and paste the copied location, you should see that folder in finder.

  • Welcome to Ask Different. I’ve tried to edit more words here, but on my test mac there are 17 permission errors and 10 hits. Might you be able to edit this with some more details how someone could use this to answer the question? – bmike Oct 13 '19 at 15:08
  • Thank you for updates guys! Command ls -d $TMPDIR../C/com.apple.appstore works perfect. There are problems with updating apps after OSX updating to 10.15, in my case Xcode updates fails and it left cashed files that is clog up disk space. – Serg Smyk Oct 14 '19 at 11:22

I did steps mentioned by hphinc from here https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4234582

  • Start the download
  • From terminal, execute the following command: lsof | grep -i pkg
  • This will give you a result like: /private/var/folders/lt/05z7qkqs0r33x7t3khp2bxm00000gp/C/com.apple.appstore/497 799835/dge2261667518591136895.pkg
  • The last column is the full path to the package it is currently downloading. In this case, it's: /private/var/folders/lt/05z7qkqs0r33x7t3khp2bxm00000gp/C/com.apple.appstore/4977 99835/

You must log in to answer this question.

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