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My late 2012 MacMini i7 is running Yosemite 10.10.5. I have some apps that need at least 10.11, but I've read reviews saying upgrading to High Sierra, the newly released OS, is not recommended.

Is there a way I can install a newer version until such time as the newest one has been out a while?

[EDIT]

Unfortunately I have not previously downloaded any macOS installers for El Capitan or Sierra.

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Since you've clarified that you've never downloaded an installer for a later version of macOS, then you've only got three options:

  1. Download an installer from a 3rd party (not recommended)
  2. Acquire an installer from a trusted friend or other trusted source
  3. Try your luck at an Apple Store (or other authorised outlet) to see if you can find one willing to do the upgrade for you

There may be other workarounds open to you. For example, if you have access to another Mac (yours or a friend's) that is not capable of running macOS High Sierra, but is capable of running El Capitan or Sierra, then you could start your Mac mini in Target Disk Mode and set it as the default startup disk for the other Mac. Then you could use the optioncommandR startup keyboard combination to upgrade to the latest macOS that is compatible with that Mac. You'd have to make sure you select the Mac mini's hard drive as the install location.

Of course, I can't stress enough how important it is you have a backup regime in place, be it via Time Machine or some other solution.

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If you have previously downloaded installers for newer but not current versions of MacOS (e.g. for other Macs), you can download and install those from the Purchased page.

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    I'm aware of that, but I haven't... otherwise my Mac would be running a newer version already :) – Mr. Boy Oct 10 '17 at 21:48

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