macOS free: Download Apple OS for free – this is how it works


Apple is known for good quality, but also for asking its customers to pay for it. But it looks different with macOS. The Mac operating system can be downloaded by Apple users for free. We’ll show you how to get different versions of macOS for older and current Macs.

Is macOS really free? Certainly not, Apple demands good money for its products and whoever buys an iMac or a MacBook is paid for it. You not only pay for the hardware, but also the pre-installed macOS. But as long as your device is supported, updates to new versions are possible at no additional cost. Once a year, usually in autumn, there are major version jumps, with security updates in between.

As a user of a supported Mac, you can always have the latest version of macOS download for free. With this macOS version you can not only update your system, but also, for example, a bootable USB stick build for a new installation.

Download previous macOS versions for free

Many older versions of macOS are still available for download from Apple.
Many older versions of macOS are still available for download from Apple.

Apple

Since 2013 with OS X 10.9 Mavericks, the annual updates from Apple have been free of charge or are already priced into the hardware sale. Anyway, if you look for previous versions, you can find at least most of them as free downloads that you can use to set up a Mac again.

macOS Lion and Mountain Lion free: Download the paid versions for free

Updates for Mac OS X used to cost money, today the downloads are free.
Updates for Mac OS X used to cost money, today the downloads are free.

CHIP

Older versions of macOS, at that time still Mac OS X or OS X, are also made available by Apple for free download. This is not a matter of course, because in the past you had to pay around 24 euros for these OS updates. Important: According to Apple, use is only permitted with original hardware that came onto the market before 2012. Two DMG images are ready:

  • Mac OS X 10.7 Lion: This version came onto the market in mid-2011 and even then Apple tried to trim macOS in the direction of the mobile operating system iOS. So you started with the launchpad and allowed multi-touch gestures.
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: Here the “Mac” in the name was deliberately left behind. Otherwise, the Mac system, which came on the market in mid-2012, was further developed in the direction of iOS, with notifications, iCloud connection and iMessage app.

Downloads: Mac OS X 10.7 Lion und OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

For the brave: the next macOS for free

Anyone who is curious can take a look at the public betas in advance.
Anyone who is curious can take a look at the public betas in advance.

Apple

As with iOS, Apple also involves macOS users in the development. So you can too Beta versions of macOS test beforehand. Of course, this is also free. But be careful: As with the Windows Insider Program, you are working with unfinished software that still contains bugs. We therefore recommend that you do not install the preliminary versions of macOS on productively used hardware. It is best to use your own test system for this. A backup is also mandatory beforehand.

Download: macOS Public Beta

macOS free to download

Mac users paid for the operating system when they bought the device. That’s why it’s a good thing that you can also download the different versions retrospectively and also get updates for downloading free of charge.


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