This question might have been answered somewhere but have not been able to find it. So, I have a Mid-2009 MacBook Pro where I am still running OS X Yosemite since I forgot to update to OS X El Capitan when it was on the App Store before they changed it to macOS Sierra.

If I try to install macOS Sierra through the App Store it doesn't let me because it says that:

"This version of macOS 10.12 cannot be installed on this computer."

I started looking to see if I can find OS X El Capitan but there is no result through the Mac App Store nor Apple Developers site. So my last resort was through Google, where I found several options on where to download OS X El Capitan version 10.11.

So, my main question is if I download from these third party websites, can I install on top of my current OS like it is done through the App Store or do I have to do a clean install?

Would appreciate any help.


2 Answers 2


You have installed Yosemite before, look in the AppStore whether Yosemite is in your purchased items. This is one Option to install Yosemite and upgrade to El Capitan.

You can download El Capitan with this direct link from App Store. But I'm not sure whether this link work for you, try it. Cannot offer other download links because many sites where you can download this are not clear trusted sites.

Third Option, went to next appstore or similar Mac shop and get a copy of El Capitan if possible. You have also the option to contact the Apple Support.

  • Thanks for the link! I was able to download it and now it is installing.
    – w_lpz
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 20:45
  • Great have fun with your new OS :)
    – dante12
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 2:58

Installers on OS X / macOS do not go back.

You have to make a backup, then wipe the OS and install from the installer of choice. You can upgrade, not downgrade. See this linked article for ideas downloading and locating older OS versions.

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