I know that in the past if I've previously downloaded OS X El Capitan from the App Store I could download it again from the Purchased tab in the App Store, however now that macOS Sierra is out I'm not able to download it as it says INSTALLED (and grayed out) even on a system running OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.5. Pressing any key combination, e.g control, option, etc. doesn't change the button to DOWNLOAD. All other previous versions of OS X can still be downloaded from my Purchased tab in App Store as they still say DOWNLOAD and are not grayed out, thus active.

The image below is from a system running OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.5, does not have OS X El Capitan installed on it or even the Install OS X El Capitan.app on its filesystem, yet it says it's installed and grayed out.

OS X App Store OS X Purchased

1 Answer 1


Whether or not you've downloaded it in the past, you can now download OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 (6.21 GB) via this link which will open first in the Browser, then in the App Store.

OS X El Capitan

This version of OS X El Capitan is for users running OS X Snow Leopard who would like to upgrade to macOS Sierra. If you are running Snow Leopard and would like to upgrade to Sierra, you need to install El Capitan first. This version of El Capitan can also be installed on Mac computers that are not comparable with Sierra.

OS X EL Capitan in App Store

Note: If doing this to downgrade from macOS Sierra.

In order to use the Install OS X El Capitan.app from macOS Sierra you need to create a USB Installer and boot the Mac with it. You'll also need to erase the Macintosh HD and perform a clean install. Make sure you have proper User Data Backups from which to restore your Data before erasing the Macintosh HD.

Have a look at Create a bootable installer for OS X. Excerpt show below:

Use the 'createinstallmedia' command in Terminal

  1. Download the OS X installer from the Mac App Store. Quit the installer if it opens automatically after downloading. The installer will be in your Applications folder.
  2. Mount your USB flash drive or other volume. You could also use a secondary internal partition.
  3. Open the Terminal app, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
  4. Use the createinstallmedia command in Terminal to create the bootable installer. Examples of this command are in the next section. For detailed usage instructions, make sure that the appropriate Install OS X app is in your Applications folder, then enter one of the following paths in Terminal:

Path for El Capitan:

/Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia


This is the basic syntax of the command. Replace volumepath with the path to your USB flash drive or other volume, and replace installerpath with the path to the Install OS X app.

createinstallmedia --volume volumepath --applicationpath installerpath

The following examples assume that the OS X installer is in your Applications folder and the name of your USB flash drive or other volume is MyVolume:

Example for El Capitan:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app
  • 1
    I tried this on a system with High Sierra, but it tells me that "High Sierra" is "too new". Any workarounds? Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 14:41
  • 1
    @Jeroen Wiert Pluimers, At the time this question and answer was posted the information contained herein was valid and for a period of time afterwards too however, as is always the case with computing... things change and what was once valid becomes invalidated by changes beyond our control. At the current time I do not have a workaround, although that doesn't mean there isn't one, just that I'm presently unaware of one. Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 15:20
  • 2
    @Jeroen Wiert Pluimers, What I'd try, and it requires temporarily disabling SIP, is to backup and modify the /System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist file changing the value of the ProductUserVisibleVersion and ProductVersion keys to e.g. 10.7.5. This hack has worked for other similar temporarily workarounds in the past but I've not tested it in this particular use case scenario. --- Another option is to use a Virtual Machine running OS X 10.6.x or OS X 10.7.x to access the URL to the App Store for this particular version of OS X El Capitan. Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 15:20
  • 1
    Thanks! I knew about stuff changing over time, so I'm glad you went the extra length. Will try when back at work next week. Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 17:44
  • Do you know any link for Yosemite? I need to install Yosemite in an old Mac.
    – ePi272314
    Commented Oct 27, 2018 at 1:09

You must log in to answer this question.

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