How To Download El Capitan Without App Store

By John Adebimitan

macOS El Capitan, the successor to Yosemite, and the 12th version of Mac OS X was released in 2015 with improvements in features and graphical performance.

However, six more improved macOSX have since then succeeded the software – Monterrey is the latest operating software for Mac available on the app store. When you try to download El Capitan from the Mac App Store, you will only be redirected to Monterrey, the Mac version that was released in October 2021. Yes, Apple always wants you to be on its latest operating system for performance and security reasons!

But if your current Mac can’t meet the requirements for the latest version, you have the first option of spending more money on a new Mac which is expensive.  Is it possible to download El Capitan without App Store?

Finding your way around it is however possible and works even for those who have the latest Mac – which is the aim of this article. For the rest of the article, I’ll show you how to download El Capitan without app store.

The Background: Why You Can’t Download Older Mac OS X

Since macOS Monterey was released in late 2021, even macOS Big Sur can no longer be found in the Mac App Store, talk less of the El Capitan, which is six version releases away.

If you still have an older Mac, for example from 2010 or 2011, macOS Monterey cannot be installed on these computers. High Sierra is the last operating system compatible with these Macs.

With the release of the current system, however, the Big Sur and older installation files can no longer be found in the Mac App Store. Users who, for example, are still working with OS X El Capitan and now want to update the system because there are no longer any security updates for El Capitan are faced with a problem.

However, Apple has built a back entrance into the App Store to find and load the installation files of older operating systems. 

There is now an up-to-date support page from Apple if you have a Mac that’s not compatible with the current macOS Monterrey. The page contains download links or app store links for the respective operating systems, including El Capitan.

After clicking on them, you’ll be able to start the download of the respective system immediately.

Note that this method doesn’t involve going to the app store directly. You won’t find it there anyways. However, it’s the easiest method for downloading El Capitan and other older OS on your Mac so far.

How to Download El Capitan Without App Store on Safari – Step by Step

  1. Go to Apple’s support page where you will find a link to download the older El Capitan operating system. The page that includes the respective system versions is opened and you can load the installation file on the Mac.
  2. Go to the subheading “Use Safari to download macOS on your Mac” on the support page.
  3. Look for “OS X El Capitan” which is hyperlinked with the download file and click on the link.
  4. Alternatively, you can ignore steps 1 to 3 by clicking on the link directly.
  5. A pop-up will show up on your screen, asking whether you want to download now or with WIFI later. Select your preferred option and the download of the MacOSX installer DMG will start immediately.

How to Download El Capitan Without App Store on Firefox

  1. With other browsers such as Firefox, open the link.
  2. As usual, the installation file can be found in the “Programs” folder after loading and the installation program will start automatically.
  3. Since the installation file is automatically deleted after installation, you should first copy the file to another folder.

Note: The download file is very heavy. It’s more than 5 gigabytes.

How Do I Make a Bootable Install of El Capitan?

  1. To switch from a newer version to an older one, you must first create a bootable installation USB.
  2. Boot from it and then first erase the internal storage folder with Disk Utility.
  3. After installing the system, take over the data and programs from a backup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Words

You can now download El Capitan without app store including other OS older than Monterrey on the Apple support page. But doing this on a newer Mac OS can be challenging. Before loading an older system onto a Mac with a newer macOS, you will be informed that a newer system is already installed and asked if you really want to download the older version.

You can’t switch from a newer operating system to an older one like El Capitan without making a bootable install.

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