I have an older Mac computer. Apple tells me it will run OS thru El Capitan. It is currently running snow leopard 10.6.8.

When I open "http://iTunes.apple.com/app/os-x-el-capitan/id1147835433?mt=12" I go to the Apple App Store and it says this is the El Capitan download. There is a blue button on the left side of screen under the large X that says "Get". If I click on this blue button, the button changes shade of blue as long as I hold the mouse button down, but nothing happens. If I click on the down arrow on the right side of the blue button, I get two options, "copy link" and "tell a friend".

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How do I download El Capitan? I called Apple tech support (tier 2) and spend several hours downloading to 10.6.8, but Apple can not tell me why I can not download El Capitan from the App Store. Any help appreciated!

  • Can you provide screen shots? Also, this may be trivial, but have you signed into the App Store with your Apple ID? You need one to download El Cap.
    – Allan
    Commented May 5, 2017 at 15:28
  • 1
    How much ram is installed? minimum amount is 4GB. (Take a screenshot of your "About my Mac" section) please, as well as a shot of the download screen.
    – bret7600
    Commented May 5, 2017 at 17:39
  • Hello, I can share screen shots, but need to know how to attach. Yes, I do have an iTunes account. However, between tier 2 tech support and trying to download the upgrade myself, I have never been asked to sign in. I did try after signing in, but am not able to open the page in iTunes, must be done in browser. My computer has 2 GB of memory, but tier 2 Apple tech support tells me that is enough to get to el Capitan and Apple (support.apple.com/kb/sp728?locale=en_US)says 2 GB is enough. I did download el Capitan on another older computer that had 2GB.
    – Larry
    Commented May 5, 2017 at 21:07
  • Install OS X El Capitan on Mac - Direct Download. This is a hack but it should work.
    – klanomath
    Commented May 5, 2017 at 22:26
  • Another direct App Store link: El Capitan! Please check the different id! id1147835434 instead of id1147835433!
    – klanomath
    Commented May 5, 2017 at 22:39

2 Answers 2


If neither of the "direct" App Store links (1. El Capitan 2. El Capitan) as described in other answers like this one work, you can try to trick App Store - as elaborated here: Install OS X El Capitan on Mac Direct Download.

Here a local web server with all necessary files mimics the remote but stubborn Apple server.

  • Open a browser and download the following files:

    1. OS X El Capitan .pfpkg file (direct link)
    2. OS X El Capitan .pkg file (direct link)
  • Open Terminal.app and enter

    sudo nano /etc/hosts
  • add the following line at the end of the file: osxapps.itunes.apple.com
  • Hit ctrlO to write the file to disk and ctrlX to exit nano
  • Enter sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder to flush the DNS cache.
  • Enter cd Desktop to change your working directory to your desktop
  • Create a folder mkdir osxapps_local and cd to it: cd osxapps_local
  • Create to paths with:

    sudo mkdir -p ./apple-assets-us-std-000001/Purple60/v4/45/df/86/45df865d-d24d-01d6-2b2c-c003317293ac/
    sudo mkdir -p ./apple-assets-us-std-000001/Purple20/v4/dc/94/05/dc940501-f06f-2a91-555e-3dc272653af5/
  • move the downloaded files to the respective folders:

    sudo mv ~/Downloads/signed.dcr.6112397842917719871.pfpkg ~/Desktop/osxapps_local/apple-assets-us-std-000001/Purple60/v4/45/df/86/45df865d-d24d-01d6-2b2c-c003317293a
    sudo mv ~/Downloads/izt4803713449411067066.pkg  ~/Desktop/osxapps_local/apple-assets-us-std-000001/Purple20/v4/dc/94/05/dc940501-f06f-2a91-555e-3dc272653af5
  • Start a small web server:

    sudo python -m SimpleHTTPServer 80
  • Now you can check if your small web server works by entering


    in the address field of your browser. The file should be "downloaded" with a high download speed. Delete the downloaded file afterwards.

  • Launch App Store.app, go to the El Capitan page or your Purchased tab and download OS X El Capitan from there.
  • The OS X El Capitan Installer.app should be "downloaded", compiled in /Applications/ and launched. Quit the OS X Installer for now. Quit App Store.app.
  • Quit the http server by entering ctrlC in Terminal.app
  • Revert the changes of your hosts file:

    sudo nano /etc/hosts

    and remove the line osxapps.itunes.apple.com.

  • Hit ctrlO to write the file to disk and ctrlX to exit nano
  • Quit Terminal.app
  • Open /Application/Install OS X El Capitan.app and install El Capitan
  • This seems like the most robust solution available. In my case it cannot work yet because I do not have access to Apple Store due to an upgrade from 10.10.2 to 10.10.5 having failed and only Recovery and single user boot being functional. Also a previous El Capitan upgrade failed so trying to get to Yosemite final first. A great pity that Apple procedures make it hard for people to gain access to files that their policy does allow and that people are in all fairness entitled to as they are replacements for files simply lost due to Apple system failures. AppleStore is not a panacea for all.
    – KalleMP
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 7:25
  • Did Apple fix this so people can get it direct now? apple.stackexchange.com/questions/257591/…
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 15:09

So I had this exact problem as well, and it seemed to work just fine after installing all available software updates from the  menu.

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