IOS 14 brings a fresh look to the things you do most often, making them easier than ever. New features help you get what you need in the moment. And the apps you use all the time become even more intelligent, more personal, and more private. Big Sur also represents the biggest design update since OS X was first released almost 20 years ago, Apple executives said during WWDC. The new OS includes tweaks to the curves of the window. For earlier versions of Mac OS X, including Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9, Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8, Mac OS X Lion 10.7, Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6, Mac OS X Leopard 10.5, Mac OS X Tiger 10.4, and before, the process to obtain those installers differs a bit. Downloading Mac OS X. Everything Apple just announced at WWDC 2020: iOS 14, MacOS Big Sur, new Mac chips Apple silicon is real and the company's stoked about the new chips. But for some, the updates to Siri, Memoji. The power of Mac. Dedicated apps for music, TV, and podcasts. Smart new features like Sidecar, powerful technologies for developers, and your favorite iPad apps, now on Mac.
macOS Catalina gives you more of everything you love about Mac. Experience music, TV, and podcasts in three all-new Mac apps. Enjoy your favorite iPad apps now on your Mac. Extend your workspace and expand your creativity with iPad and Apple Pencil. And discover smart new features in the apps you use every day. Now you can take everything you do above and beyond.
If you're using one of these computers with OS X Mavericks or later,* you can install macOS Catalina. Your Mac also needs at least 4GB of memory and 12.5GB of available storage space, or up to 18.5GB of storage space when upgrading from OS X Yosemite or earlier.
MacBook introduced in 2015 or later
MacBook Air introduced in 2012 or later
MacBook Pro introduced in 2012 or later
Mac mini introduced in 2012 or later
iMac introduced in 2012 or later
iMac Pro (all models)
Mac Pro introduced in 2013 or later
* To upgrade from Lion or Mountain Lion, first upgrade to El Capitan, then upgrade to Catalina. To find your macOS version, Mac model, memory, and storage space, choose About This Mac from the Apple menu . If your Mac isn't compatible with macOS Catalina, the installer will let you know. View the complete list of compatible computers.
Make a backup
Before installing any upgrade, it’s a good idea to back up your Mac. Time Machine makes it simple, and other backup methods are also available. Learn how to back up your Mac.
It takes time to download and install macOS, so make sure that you have a reliable Internet connection. If you're using a Mac notebook computer, plug it into AC power.
Download macOS Catalina
If you're using macOS Mojave, get macOS Catalina via Software Update: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Software Update.
Or use this link to open the macOS Catalina page on the App Store: Get macOS Catalina. Then click the Get button or iCloud download icon.
After downloading, the installer opens automatically.
Click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions. You might find it easiest to begin installation in the evening so that it can complete overnight, if needed.
If the installer asks for permission to install a helper tool, enter the administrator name and password that you use to log in to your Mac, then click Add Helper.
Allow installation to complete
Please allow installation to complete without putting your Mac to sleep or closing its lid. Your Mac might restart, show a progress bar, or show a blank screen several times as it installs both macOS and related updates to your Mac firmware.
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After installing macOS Catalina, you will be notified when updates to macOS Catalina are available. You can also use Software Update to check for updates: Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Software Update.
Or get macOS Catalina automatically
If you're using OS X El Capitan v10.11.5 or later and your App Store preferences or Software Update preferences are set to download new updates when available, macOS Catalina will download conveniently in the background, making it even easier to upgrade. A notification will inform you when macOS Catalina is ready to be installed. Click Install to get started, or dismiss the notification to install later. When you're ready to install, just open the file named Install macOS Catalina from your Applications folder.
- If the installer shows a list of apps that are not optimized for your Mac, learn about 32-bit app compatibility, then choose whether to proceed with the installation.
- For the strongest security and latest features, upgrade to macOS Catalina. If you have hardware or software that isn't compatible with Catalina, you might be able to install an earlier macOS, such as Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, or El Capitan.
- You can also use macOS Recovery to reinstall macOS.
Reinstall from macOS Recovery
macOS Recovery makes it easy to reinstall the Mac operating system, even if you need to erase your startup disk first. All you need is a connection to the Internet. If a wireless network is available, you can choose it from the Wi-Fi menu , which is also available in macOS Recovery.
1. Start up from macOS Recovery
To start up from macOS Recovery, turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold one of the following sets of keys on your keyboard. Release the keys when you see an Apple logo, spinning globe, or other startup screen.
Reinstall the latest macOS that was installed on your Mac (recommended).
Upgrade to the latest macOS that is compatible with your Mac.
Reinstall the macOS that came with your Mac, or the closest version still available.
You might be prompted to enter a password, such as a firmware password or the password of a user who is an administrator of this Mac. Enter the requested password to continue.
When you see the utilities window, you have started up from macOS Recovery.
2. Decide whether to erase (format) your disk
You probably don't need to erase, unless you're selling, trading in, or giving away your Mac, or you have an issue that requires you to erase. If you need to erase before installing macOS, select Disk Utility from the Utilities window, then click Continue. Learn more about when and how to erase.
3. Install macOS
When you're ready to reinstall macOS, choose Reinstall macOS from the Utilities window. Then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions. You will be asked to choose a disk on which to install.
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- If the installer asks to unlock your disk, enter the password you use to log in to your Mac.
- If the installer doesn't see your disk, or it says that it can't install on your computer or volume, you might need to erase your disk first.
- If the installer is for a different version of macOS than you expected, learn about macOS Recovery exceptions.
- If the installer offers you the choice between installing on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD - Data, choose Macintosh HD.
Please allow installation to complete without putting your Mac to sleep or closing its lid. During installation, your Mac might restart and show a progress bar several times, and the screen might be empty for minutes at a time.
If your Mac restarts to a setup assistant, but you're selling, trading in, or giving away your Mac, press Command-Q to quit the assistant without completing setup. Then click Shut Down. When the new owner starts up the Mac, they can use their own information to complete setup.
macOS Recovery exceptions
The version of macOS offered by macOS Recovery might vary in some cases:
- If macOS Sierra 10.12.4 or later has never been installed on this Mac, Option-Command-R installs the macOS that came with your Mac, or the closest version still available. And Shift-Option-Command-R isn't available.
- If you erased your entire disk instead of just the startup volume on that disk, macOS Recovery might offer only the macOS that came with your Mac, or the closest version still available. You can upgrade to a later version afterward.
- If your Mac has the Apple T2 Security Chip and you never installed a macOS update, Option-Command-R installs the latest macOS that was installed on your Mac.
- If you just had your Mac logic board replaced during a repair, macOS Recovery might offer only the latest macOS that is compatible with your Mac.
If you can't get macOS Recovery to offer the installer you want, you might be able to use one of the other ways to install macOS.
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Other ways to install macOS
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- You can also install macOS from the App Store or Software Update preferences. If you can't install macOS Catalina, you might be able to install an earlier macOS, such as macOS Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra, El Capitan, or Yosemite.
- Or create a bootable installer disk, then use that disk to install macOS on your Mac or another Mac.