How to download the full installers for macOS

Published April 04, 2022

Apple normally allows you to download full copies of their operatings systems from the App Store. They also give you the option to download updates directly from Apple Support. Apple also has a hidden feature that allows you to download the full macOS installers (for the supported versions listed below) directly from the command line. Be sure to replace the x with the latest release number. After the download finishes, you will see the installer appear in the "/Applications" directory.

Latest Release

As of the publishing date of this article, the latest release is macOS 12.3.1. You can download that with the following command.

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 12.3.1

Previous Releases

macOS 12 Monterey

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 12.x

macOS 11 Big Sur

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 11.x

macOS 10.15 Catalina

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 10.15.x

macOS 10.14 Mojave

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 10.14.x

macOS 10.13 High Sierra

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 10.13.x

Older operating system versions

Some of the older versions are available for download from the terminal using the command below. These commands should run on all versions of macOS.

macOS 10.12 Sierra

curl -O

OS X 10.11 El Capitan

curl -O