Apple should make installer for OS X Mavericks available

By Grant Jacobs 19/01/2015

Apple – you’re leaving some of your users stranded.

When Apple released the latest version of OS X—Yosemite—they removed the previous version of the operating system from App Store. Some suggest this might be because the hardware requirements for Mavericks and Yosemite are the same, and that users “should” favour the newer version.

However this leaves out the reality of upgrading for some users.

A number of users avoid being ‘early adopters’. Early versions of major software updates frequently (usually) contain bugs. Operating systems are no exception. For example, Yosemite has been reported to have networking issues relating to a complete rewrite of a central component.

Late adopters avoid (some!) of these troubles by waiting until several minor updates have passed and the new version of the operating system looks to be maturing. For example, I’ve found I rarely update before the fourth minor update. (Currently Yosemite is on it’s second update.)

Some users are running considerably older versions of the operating system* on older hardware and are looking to update to the last version of Mavericks, the last-but-one version of Mac OS X – waiting to move to Yosemite when it looks to be more mature.

The catch?

When Apple released Yosemite it pulled OS X Mavericks from the App Store. There is no ready way for these people to update their computers from older versions of the operating system to Mavericks.

You would like to think Apple would like it’s users to migrate to newer versions of the operating system. Part of this ought to be taking late adopters into account.

Just my opinion, but those responsible for this at Apple really haven’t thought this one through fully. They really should make a final-release installer for Mavericks available via the App Store.


Those who ‘purchased’ Mavericks, can re-download the installer via Apple Store. Those who bought a computer with Mavericks installed, which they upgraded to Yosemite and now wish to downgrade to Mavericks can run Internet Recovery: this will re-install the operating system that the computer came with (via looking up the computer’s serial number). The issue referred to in this article is for those that running older systems who have not previously downloaded Mavericks – they can’t use either of these two suggestions.

There are installers of Mavericks available on some websites. I don’t recommend people using them.

I realise it may be possible to obtain Mavericks via a trip to an official Apple Store and talking nicely (read: pleading!) to the staff, but this would be a case of the stores helping out users with what would basically be unofficial support.

* For example, a number of users are still using 10.6.8 – a notably stable version that supports Rosetta, the software that allows applications developed under an older version of Apple’s software libraries (Carbon) to run. Like all older systems some newer applications (or newer versions of applications) aren’t suited to it. One example is these systems are limited to older versions of Apple’s web browser, Safari.

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