How do I download a .dmg file or Sierra (or any recent macOS)?

I have one very broken MacBook pro, and I want to make a bootable usb drive to try and fix it. I have another, older, MacBook, which unfortunately does not support Sierra, but it is the only macOS that I can find in the app store. It won't let me download it, because it doesn't run on my MacBook.

I want to either force the app store to let me download it (on my MacBook, even though it can't run it), or I want to download the file from somewhere else.

Is there no way that I can just download Sierra on my Mac that does not support it?

  • Have you ever purchased a software version for any Mac?
    – Natsfan
    Jul 4, 2017 at 19:27
  • First of all it's and app, "Install macOS Sierra.app", not a dmg, although there is an InstallESD.dmg within the application bundle, and it's probably only legally available downloaded directly from Apple. Whether or not though, generally speaking, I'd never download an OS from other then its manufacture and validate against published checksums when available. With torrents, that there are not legitimate published checksums available, one is only asking for trouble with what could be a severely compromised piece of software. Jul 4, 2017 at 19:43
  • Get help at an Apple store, a friend that can download it from Apple, or if you have ever download a version of OS X from the App Store, you should be able to do so again from the Purchased section in the App Store. Jul 4, 2017 at 19:43
  • Unfortunately the working Mac that I have belongs to the university, so the "Purchased section" doesn't have anything in it.
    – Josiki
    Jul 5, 2017 at 14:00
  • Comment on your recent edit, keying in on your comment above this one... If you're at a University, then surely you can find someone that can legitimately download the "Install macOS Sierra.app" from the App Store, and write it to the USB Flash Drive. Jul 5, 2017 at 14:20

2 Answers 2


The only legal way to download it is probably to make a usb drive on a friends Macbook that supports Sierra. Otherwise you can try to reinstall macOS through the recovery if your MacBook Pro supports Sierra.


If you have ever purchased a software version you can get a copy from the App Store. go to App Store and click on 'Purchased'. Any versions of software that you bought, or maybe just downloaded, will appear in the list. You can then download an installer for that version.

If you haven't downloaded any previous versions you can buy some older versions from Apple. They may come on a DVD though so you need a DVD reader. The site to purchase certain old versions is: https://www.apple.com/shop/help/downloadable_software?afid=p231%7Ccamref%3A1101lmYI&cid=AOS-US-AFF-PHG

  • With Snow Leopard It's on DVD not CD! With Lion or Mountain Lion, you will receive an email with a redemption code for use with the Mac App Store Jul 4, 2017 at 19:48
  • yea sorry about that. you may be able to just download them now anyway.
    – Natsfan
    Jul 4, 2017 at 19:54
  • You said, "you may be able to just download them now anyway", I guess you didn't read the "What you will receive:" section in the link you provided for Older Versions of OS X! Jul 4, 2017 at 20:11
  • nope, missed that section completely someway...
    – Natsfan
    Jul 4, 2017 at 21:32
  • Thanks for the link! I don't think I will spend $20 on a laptop that is probably a gonner anyway. I spent some time trying to install ubuntu, but I think the drive might have gone.
    – Josiki
    Jul 5, 2017 at 14:01

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