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How to Download macOS on Your Mac: 7 Quick Steps

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Last updated: September 6, 2023

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Have you ever felt like a character from popular science fiction movies, lost and stranded on an alien planet with no sign of familiar life around? That’s how some people describe their first interaction with macOS – bewildering, intimidating, and frankly, a little scary.

So, if you’re a newbie wondering, “How exactly do I download macOS?” I’ve got your back. In this seven-step journey, I’ll be holding your hand, leading you through the lanes of the Apple world. So, let’s get started and download macOS on your Mac.

Before We Begin

System clutter, cache files, and malware can affect your Mac’s performance. You can effectively address these concerns with MacKeeper’s comprehensive suite of features. It optimizes your Mac by removing unnecessary files and streamlining system performance, ensuring a clean and efficient environment.

7 Steps to Download macOS on Your Mac

Downloading macOS involves steps that allow you to acquire the latest version of Apple’s operating system for Mac computers.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current macOS or perform a clean installation, the process generally involves downloading the installation file from the official Apple website and executing it on your Mac.

Let’s dive into the step-by-step process to download macOS on your Mac.

1. Check System Compatibility

Before you can download macOS on your Mac, it’s important to thoroughly check the system compatibility and verify your Mac meets your desired macOS version’s system requirements as specified by Apple. This will ensure a successful download and installation process without encountering compatibility issues.

Here’s how you can check your Mac’s compatibility with the macOS version you want to download and install:

  1. Visit the official Apple website or the documentation specific to the version of macOS you intend to download.
specific to the version of macos you intend to download
  1. Pay attention to the minimum hardware specifications mentioned for the macOS version.
  2. In addition to hardware requirements, consider the software compatibility aspect.
consider the software compatibility aspect
  1. Review additional compatibility factors to ensure a smooth experience with the desired macOS version.

You can also check out my macOS compatibility checker to see which macOS version your Mac can run.

2. Backup Your Data

Next, you need to back up your data. Backing up your important data before installing and downloading macOS safeguards your files. You can restore your data from this backup if any issues occur during installation. This way, your data remains secure and accessible.

Here’s how to back up your data on Mac:

  1. Take some time to identify the files and data on your Mac that are important to you.
  2. Choose a backup method like Apple’s built-in Time Machine feature or manually copy your important files to an external storage device.
click the time machine icon
  1. Verify if your important files have been successfully copied to the external storage device.

3. Connect to a Stable Internet Connection

By connecting to a stable and reliable internet connection, you can ensure a smoother and faster download process for macOS. This minimizes the risk of interruptions or download failures, allowing you to get the macOS installer without delay.

Here’s how you can connect to a stable internet connection:

  1. Connect to a stable Wi-Fi network.
select a wi fi network from the list
  1. Assess the quality and reliability of your internet connection. Consider factors such as connection speed, stability, and data limit.
  2. If your Mac isn’t connecting to Wi-Fi, connect it to the internet using a wired Ethernet connection.
  3. Reduce potential network congestion by avoiding simultaneous heavy internet usage on other devices connected to the same network.
  4. If you encounter connectivity issues, try restarting your router or modem to refresh the network connection.

4. Go to the Mac App Store

This step involves going to the Mac App Store to download the macOS installer. This ensures you get the correct macOS installer file, paving the way for installing the operating system on your Mac.

Follow these steps to open the App Store on your Mac:

  1. Click the Finder icon in the Dock.
click finder in your dock
  1. Click Applications in the left sidebar. Locate the App Store application and double-click to open it.
locate and open the app store application
  1. Alternatively, you can click the Apple icon in the menu bar and select App Store.
click the apple icon and select app store
  1. You can also launch Spotlight Search (Command ⌘ + Spacebar), type App Store, and press Enter.
type app store in spotlight

5. Download macOS on Your Mac

This step is about successfully navigating the product page of the selected macOS version, initiating the download process, and monitoring the progress until the macOS installer file is downloaded to your Mac. This prepares you for the next steps of the installation process.

Before downloading macOS, ensure you have enough storage space on your Mac. Each macOS version takes a different amount of space, so check how much space macOS will take on your Mac before downloading.

Here’s how to download macOS on your Mac from the App Store:

  1. In the App Store, you’ll see a search bar at the top right corner of the window. Type macOS into the search bar and select the version you want to download.
type macos in app store search bar
  1. After selecting the version you want to download, review the information available on the product page specific to that version to ensure compatibility with your Mac.

You won’t find all macOS versions in Apple App Store. If you want to download and install an older macOS version, consider unofficial sources, like online forums or torrent sites. 

  1. After reviewing, click the Get or Download button to initiate the download process.
click the get button to download macos version
  1. Monitor the download progress and make sure your Mac remains connected to the internet throughout the download process.
  2. Once the download is finished, the macOS installer file will be saved in your Downloads folder. Verify the file by locating it in the specified location and checking its size and file name.

6. Install macOS

After downloading the macOS installer file, you’re ready to install it on your Mac. Remember to be patient during installation and ensure your Mac remains powered on and connected to a power source until the installation is complete.

Here’s how you can install macOS on your Mac:

  1. Look for the installer file in your Downloads folder. It typically has a name like Install macOS [Version Name].
  2. Double-click the macOS installer file to launch it. This will start the installation process.
  3. You will be prompted to enter your administrator password to authorize the installation. Enter the required password and click OK or Continue to proceed.
  4. The macOS installer will display the terms and conditions for installing the operating system. Read and click the Agree button to indicate your consent.
  5. The installer will prompt you to select the destination drive where macOS will be installed. Select the drive and click Continue to proceed.
  6. Once you have selected the destination drive, click the Install or Continue button to start the installation process.
  7. Monitor the installation progress on the screen, which may display a progress bar.

7. Set Up Your Mac

The last step focuses on successfully setting up your Mac after the macOS installation is complete. You can customize the settings according to your preferences and explore new features and capabilities of the updated macOS version.

Here’s how you can set up your Mac:

  1. Restart into the newly installed macOS.
  2. Upon restarting, macOS will prompt you to select your region and language preferences. Choose your preferred region and language from the provided options.
  3. Next, you’ll need to set up a user account for your Mac. Enter your full name, desired account name, and a strong password.
  4. Once you’re signed in with your Apple ID, macOS will prompt you to set up iCloud services. Configure the settings based on your preferences and needs.
  5. After configuring iCloud, macOS will finalize the setup process, and you will be taken to your Mac desktop.

Optimize Your Mac After Downloading macOS With MacKeeper 

Optimizing your Mac is crucial to ensure a smooth experience after downloading macOS. MacKeeper, a comprehensive software solution, offers a range of features that can help you achieve just that. 

To optimize your Mac after downloading macOS using MacKeeper, follow these steps:

1. Run a System Scan

Here’s how to run a virus scan on your Mac using MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper.
  2. Launch MacKeeper and navigate to the Antivirus tab in the left sidebar.
click antivirus under the security section 6
  1. Initiate an instant virus scan by clicking the Start Scan button.
click start scan in mackeeper antivirus 6
  1. If viruses are detected during the scan, click the Fix Items button to resolve the issues.
  2. If your system is threat-free, you’ll see a No threats found message. You can tap the Restart button to run the scan again.
no threats found in mackeeper antivirus
  1. Enable real-time antivirus protection to safeguard your Mac from future threats by clicking the Enable button.
click enable to allow real time protection

After configuring your security settings, MacKeeper will consistently work in the background, diligently scanning for potential threats and proactively blocking any malicious activity.

2. Clean Junk Files

Here’s how to clean junk files on your Mac using MacKeeper:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Now launch MacKeeper and select Safe Cleanup in the left sidebar.
click safe cleanup under the cleaning section 6
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan in safe cleanup
  1. From the list of detected items, choose which ones you want to remove from your Mac or click Check All.
select junk files to remove or click check all 6
  1. Click Clean Junk Files.
tap clean junk files 6
  1. Wait for MacKeeper to finish cleaning. When it’s done, you’ll get a Cleaning Completed notification. Click Rescan to scan your Mac again.
click rescan in safe cleanup 3

3. Free Up RAM

Here are the steps to use a MacKeeper’s Memory Cleaner to free up RAM on your Mac:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Open MacKeeper and click Memory Cleaner under the Performance tab.
select memory cleaner under performance 4
  1. Click Open.
click open in the memory cleaner 4
  1. Click Clean Memory.
click clean memory 4
  1. It will clean your Mac and free up available memory. You can see how much memory it freed under Last Cleanup.
memory cleaned after a cycle 2

4. Manage Login Items

Here’s how to use MacKeeper’s Login Items to remove login items on your Mac:

  1. Download MacKeeper and install it on your Mac.
  2. Open Login Items under Performance in MacKeeper.
tap login items under performance
  1. Click Start Scan.
tap start scan
  1. Select unnecessary items from the list and click Remove Selected Items.
select the files you want to delete and tap remove selected items 1
  1. Tap the Remove button on the pop-up.
tap remove on the pop up 1
  1. It will remove your selected items from the system startup list. You can click Rescan to repeat the process.
tap rescan

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides scanning your Mac for viruses, cleaning junk files, freeing up RAM, and managing login items on your Mac, MacKeeper can delete duplicate files, uninstall unwanted apps, and block annoying ads on Mac. If you want to learn more about its amazing features, read my detailed MacKeeper review.

Download macOS and Start a New Journey With Your Mac

Now that you know how to download macOS on your Mac, you may need to learn more about optimizing your system. Here are some more Mac maintenance tips for you:

  • If you’re shifting from Windows to Mac, learn how to use a Mac with our beginner’s guide.
  • Mac keyboard shortcuts can help you perform various tasks quickly. So, it’s best to learn a few commonly used shortcuts.
  • Apple releases software updates regularly. So, learn how to update macOS on your Mac to keep it running smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I download macOS on a Windows PC?

    No, you cannot download macOS on a Windows PC. macOS is designed to run exclusively on Apple hardware. However, you can use virtualization software like VMware or Parallels to run macOS on a virtual machine within a Windows environment.

  2. Can I download macOS on multiple Mac computers using the same Apple ID?

    Yes, you can download macOS on multiple Mac computers using the same Apple ID. Simply sign in to the App Store on each Mac with the same Apple ID used for the initial download, navigate to the Purchased section, and initiate the download for macOS. This lets you conveniently install and update macOS on all your compatible Mac computers using a single Apple ID.

  3. Can I revert to a previous macOS version after installing a newer version?

    Yes, you can revert to a previous macOS version after installing a newer version. However, Apple generally does not provide official support for downgrading macOS versions. It is possible to revert to a previous version if you have a Time Machine or bootable backup of your previous macOS installation.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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