How to Download a Full macOS High Sierra Installer App

Sep 27, 2017 - 45 Comments

Download the complete macOS High Sierra Installer application

Many Mac users who are attempting to download macOS High Sierra from the Mac App Store will find that a small 19 MB version of “Install macOS High Sierra.app” downloads to the /Applications folder of the target Mac, rather than the complete 5.2 GB Installer application for macOS High Sierra. This is annoying because it prevents a single download from being used on multiple computers, plus the small installer requires an internet connection during usage to download the rest of the High Sierra update files. Additionally, the tiny 19 MB incomplete installer prevents users from being able to create a macOS High Sierra USB installer drive or other custom update options available through the command line, like skipping the APFS update.

This tutorial will show you a workaround trick that allows Mac users to download the full macOS High Sierra “Install macOS High Sierra.app” file at 5.2 GB with the complete installer tool set and all dmg files and associated Install macOS High Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/ tools, rather than the tiny incomplete truncated installer at 19 MB.

How to Download the Full “Install macOS High Sierra.app” Application

Warning: this method relies on a third party tool from an unverified third party source, if you are not comfortable with using unvetted and unverified software, and if you do not understand the risks associated with using potentially dubious software, do not follow this process. This is for advanced users only.

  1. Go to dosdude1.com here and download the High Sierra patcher application*
  2. Launch “MacOS High Sierra Patcher” and ignore everything about patching, instead pull down the “Tools” menu and choose “Download MacOS High Sierra”
  3. Download the complete macOS High Sierra installer

  4. Confirm that you want to download the complete macOS High Sierra install application, and then point it to a location to save on the local hard drive
  5. Confirm to download full macOS High Sierra installer

  6. The patcher app will notify you when the download is complete, when it is done downloading quit out of the patcher app
  7. Download of full macOS high sierra installer finished

  8. Locate the “Install macOS High Sierra.app” file you downloaded, it will be the complete installer application with the full Contents/Resources/ toolkit available
  9. MacOS high sierra installer complete download

* The “macOS High Sierra Patcher” application is intended for those with unsupported Macs and Hackintosh users, but any Mac user can use the app to be able to download the complete installer file from Apple servers. The source of this patcher application is a MacRumors Forums

You can confirm that you have the complete Install macOS High Sierra.app application by getting info on the file, the complete installer should be around 5.2 GB rather than the tiny 19 MB incomplete installer that requires additional downloads.

The complete macOS High Sierra installer downloaded

Why do some users get a small incomplete version of macOS High Sierra installer from the App Store?

This is not yet known, but it happens with the final version of macOS High Sierra installer as well as with some of the beta versions.

It is unclear why some users will get a 19MB version of “Install macOS High Sierra.app” when downloaded from the App Store, while others users will get the complete 5.2GB version of “Install macOS High Sierra.app” when downloading from the App Store. Interestingly, once a user ends up with the 19 MB version of the incomplete installer, that seems to be the only thing that will download for that user regardless of how many times the incomplete installer app is deleted and re downloaded.

Incomplete macOS High Sierra installer

The installer size and completeness inconsistency appears random, and has no relation to disk space, beta enrollment, software catalog, and other theories seem to be incorrect as well.

Do you know of another method to download the complete macOS High Sierra installer application rathe than the tiny incomplete installer that arrives for some users on the Mac App Store? Let us know in the comments!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

45 Comments

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  1. ted says:

    The installer is available on some Torrent sites. Check the hash mark and you are good to go.

    • Paul says:

      I would not recommend downloading anything from any torrent site, far too risky for many reasons.

      The only legitimate source of a macOS installer is from Apple, Apple servers, and the Mac App Store.

    • Joe says:

      I wouldn’t download anything from a torrent site. Good chance of infecting your computer and they are know for piracy. Not good.

    • junebeetle says:

      Would probably work, but why do that when you can download directly from Apple?? That’s always more of a last resort for me.

      • sam says:

        because downloading from apple never works
        I have tried dozens of times
        and have to start over and over again
        why is the downloaded portion not stored (saved)
        are there other download tools like torrent
        apple does not seem to be in the 20th century yet

    • Philip says:

      “I wouldn’t download anything from a torrent site”

      Guys, perhaps you have no idea what file checksum (hash) means. Simply because someone has told that the files, downloaded from torrent sites, are risky, that doesn’t mean it’s true.

  2. Mike says:

    I held down the shift key when clicking the download link from the App Store and it appears to be downloading the complete package, not the 19 MB installer.

    • Misiek says:

      With Shift doesn’t work too :/ It downloads only ~14MB .app :/

      • Mike says:

        It downloaded the complete 5.2 GB file for me, not sure what I did differently but I was even able to copy the file to my documents to save it for later install.

      • czymaupy says:

        If you have host system High Sierra should be download complete, if oldest – will be download only small installer to make upgrade process first. I have checked this few times.

  3. Alex says:

    Isn’t there any way to get the Apple server address, as well as this patcher does, and download the complete installer using curl in Terminal?

  4. Robert says:

    Regarding the download of the full macOS High Sierra installer app – I have personally used dosdude1’s patcher version for Sierra many times. He is a meticulous programmer who offers excellent support for the tool, and also a respected contributor on the Low End Mac facebook page. Definitely not “dubious” third party software imho.

    • junebeetle says:

      I agree with you. His website dosdude1.com has many other useful things including the /os directory which I’ve used numerous times (: Plus some useful tools for installing to an unsupported Mac.

    • Paul says:

      Robert, that’s a fair assessment as the tools work as advertised, and dosdude1 is a very helpful forum poster around the web. The “dubious” comment is only related to the app triggering the Gatekeeper warning from an unverified developer.

    • Reuben Cummings says:

      So meticulous that he couldn’t spring for https?? I’ll pass for now.

  5. WTS says:

    can i download, burn to disk and later decide the installation

  6. gurpreet says:

    thank you

  7. RajaShekhar says:

    Downloaded the installer and checked the SHA values.
    BaseSystem.dmg seems intact but the InstallESD.dmg is not proper. Something seems fishy here. Download with caution guys.

    Original Hash values:
    4164f0dde7316ad745426438ef013568fe0313ba (InstallESD.dmg), 530839420356e6d77b5ff6da3a3753305da26567 (BaseSystem.dmg)

    Calculated Hash Values:
    60eaad3687c84102752a09879306b965a0a9f769
    (InstallESD.dmg)
    530839420356e6d77b5ff6da3a3753305da26567 (BaseSystem.dmg)

  8. Mr S says:

    Regarding the 19MB File, My assumption from my own install experience is that it had to build a custom install the first time to update the firmware on my MacBook Pro 17″ Early 2011 edition. The following steps are what I took to install macOS High Sierra.

    Steps taken are as follows…

    After thinking my ElCapitan install was borked for only downloading the 19MB installer, I decided to do a isolation install and clean booted my MacBook Pro with a USB installer of Mountain Lion, Mac OS X 10.8.0 (All I could find laying around).

    Erased the Internal SSD drive with Disk Utility and Installed Mac OS X 10.8 fresh.

    Booted newly installed Mac OS X 10.8 and opened App Store (App Store still works fine just a little slow rendering images).

    The Mac OS 10.8 App Store would ONLY download the 19MB High Sierra Installer AGAIN !!!. So I proceeded with that. I monitored the install and discovered the 19MB Installer was downloading the extra installer files directly to a hidden folder on the root drive. The folder is called “macOS Install Data” and contained the following files, AppleDiagnostics.chunklist, AppleDiagnostics.dmg, BaseSystem.chunklist, BaseSystem.dmg, index.sproduct, InstallESDDmg.pkg, InstallInfo.plist, OSX_10_13_IncompatibleAppList.pkg. I copied the whole hidden folder out after it had finished its download just in case I needed it later.

    Now when the Installer had finished downloading the remainder of the macOS High Sierra’s parts the Installation proceeded to install itself.

    I then noticed on the first reboot the MacBook Pro Firmware was being updated. (Usual firmware update beeps, and old version of larger progress bar).

    Then the next reboot after that was the Install of the Base System Image.

    Then the final reboot was the long install of macOS High Sierra.

    To semi verify my theory, I proceeded to download macOS High Sierra again in the macOS High Sierra App Store and this time the App Store now proceeded to download the full macOS High Sierra Install App without any fuss. (I realise it would have been better to check in the older App Store)

    So it makes sense that apple is enforcing a firmware update before High Sierra is installed, probably for APFS boot support etc.

  9. Louis says:

    Hi,

    there is a much easier way to get the full version:
    You can force the softwareupdate tool to use Apple’s servers by issuing the following command in Terminal: sudo softwareupdate –clear-catalog (may require 10.12) and that should allow the App Store to download the full installer.

    • ian says:

      Good suggestion Louis, but unfortunately that does not always work. I have tried that and it did not succeed, I had to build the installer myself. I wish there was an obvious option to download the full one from App Store directly on the High Sierra page.

  10. Flo says:

    On the App Store, I held down the shift key but also chose a partition other than my Sierra partition and it downloaded 5.18GB

  11. phridds says:

    I’d download 19MB installer nearly 6times.
    after update my sierra to the latest release the app store delivered the full 5.18 GB image

  12. madison says:

    HI there , i have the same problem on my late 2012 macbook. any easy solutions for this? have tried the “shift” option- but no luck.

  13. LexS says:

    I have a compatible (older) MBP, with SSD.
    Some time ago I downloaded the HS Installer (from Appstore), but took it out of the Applications folder to an external disk and compressed it, (it does not uncompress anymore, probably because HS has been updated to clear a bug some time ago). So the dmg part is not in the decompressed file.
    I want to install HS with the
    startosinstall –converttoapfs NO
    Terminal command so I downloaded the HS file again from Appstore: it stopped at 400kb. I tried again while holding the Shift key then while holding the Alt/option key: no difference. Then I let it for 20 minutes and see: it slowly began to download more, then more and after 10 minutes the Installer file was ˜5.2GB ! I stopped the install then copied the file to the external disk without compression. Then took away the .app from the name in getinfo and left it in the Applications folder. I stay another while in Sierra. Until I have enough learned about APFS and possible compatibility issues with my other macs.

  14. Andrew says:

    Delete the stub installer and then run this command in your Terminal:

    sudo softwareupdate --clear-catalog

    Open App Store and attempt the update again and you should get the full file.

  15. ble says:

    this is the most disgustingly slow download ive ever seen.

  16. app says:

    Andrew’s simple solution worked for me!

  17. md540i says:

    Andrews solution allowed the button in App store to change to download, but it still downloaded the 14mb file.

  18. Bachsau says:

    I got the full installer. Maybe it has something to do with having system integrity protection disabled.

  19. Ivo says:

    I was going to try the note that Kirk gave a few days ago. (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372)
    First step was to download the installer. And … It gave me the full installer 5.2 GB.

  20. Stefan says:

    Holding shift key while clicking download did it for me

  21. suupys says:

    Will this kind off update work if im running os x 10.7.4 at the moment?

  22. zen says:

    This works great for installing High Sierra on an early 2009 iMac 9’11.

    Now the question is this, how do I get the ISO to load up in say, VirtualBox, or from a Clover boot? Neither seem to recognize the ISO, yet the Mac does.

    I’ve tried several methods of conversion yet none are working.

  23. Ben says:

    The download of High Sierre incomplete (20mo) is due to the fact that your mac is not up to date (security problem of appStore) made the update of your mac or AppStore then you can download the full version of High Sierra

  24. Benjamin FR zone says:

    The download of High Sierre incomplete (20mo) is due to the fact that your mac is not up to date (security problem of appStore) made the update of your mac or AppStore then you can download the full version of High Sierra

  25. Crazy Forthreed says:

    If you go ahead and run the 19MB installer (/Applications/Install macOS High Sierra), it will download the remaining install files and place them under /macOS Install Data.
    Simply abort the install when it asks which disk you want to install to.

    To restore the ability to create install media, do the following:
    Open Terminal and run: sudo -s
    Enter admin credentials to gain root access and cut-n-paste the following 3 commands

    mkdir /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/SharedSupport
    cd /macOS\ Install\ Data
    find . -mount | cpio -pvdm /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/SharedSupport

    You can now use the normal createinstallmedia command:

    cd /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources
    ./createinstallmedia –help

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