I have a project that requires the Command Line Tools from macOS High Sierra. The specific installer I’m running is Command Line Tools (macOS High Sierra version 10.13).pkg.

When I run it, I get:

“This package is incompatible with this version of macOS. The package is trying to install content to the system volume. Contact the software manufacturer for assistance.”

I haven’t contacted Apple about this yet. My queries are:

  1. Should I just install this on a different drive?

  2. Is there a way to get this to install to my main internal SSD?

  3. Once installed, what's the easiest way to switch between the old Command Line Tools and new Command Line Tools when I need to?

  • What tool(s) do you need that aren't included in a newer version of the command line tools? There might be another way to get what you need. Feb 20, 2020 at 23:36

2 Answers 2


The command-line tool installer installs lots of stuff (libraries, frameworks, etc.) in multiple OS system directories. So you probably need to find or create a volume (external drive or partition) with OS X High Sierra on it for the install to complete.

I usually partition my SSDs so that I can keep multiple bootable macOS versions on it for running such older tooling and apps.

  • I install it on Mojave fine. I updated to Catalina, and compilation failed. I tried to reinstall the tools, and it didn’t work. I don’t necessarily want to have El Capitan around just for this. Feb 18, 2020 at 16:25
  • Many Catalina directories are not writable by the old tool installer. XProtect prevents modification. The newest Xcode installer puts stuff in other places (not /System). Old tools may require using old OS volumes.
    – hotpaw2
    Feb 18, 2020 at 16:49

I can answer the first and third part.

  • Yes!

From man installer:

A device parameter for the target is any one of the following:

 1) Any of the values returned by -dominfo
 2) The device node entry.  Any entry of the form of /dev/disk*.  ex:
 3) The disk identifier.  Any entry of the form of disk*.  ex: disk1s9
 4) The volume mount point.  Any entry of the form of /Volumes/Mountpoint.
 ex: /Volumes/Untitled
 5) The volume UUID.  ex: 376C4046-083E-334F-AF08-62FAFBC4E352
installer -verbose -pkg "Command Line Tools ().mkpg" -target <target>


  • what's the easiest way to switch

    xcode-select switch path/to/commandLineTools

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