OS X El Capitan Available to Download Now for All Mac Users

Sep 30, 2015 - 86 Comments

OS X El Capitan now available to download

Apple has released OS X El Capitan as a free update to all Mac users. The new version of system software is officially versioned as OS X 10.11, and the final build number is 15A284. Users can start the download now from the App Store using the direct link below.

OS X El Capitan brings performance updates and improvements to the Mac operating system, a including a new system font, split screen view, adjustments to the Mission Control window manager, improvements to Spotlight search, and various enhancements to bundled Mac apps including Mail, Safari, Notes, Maps, Photos, and Safari. The OS X El Capitan update should offer particularly worthwhile refinements to Mac users currently running OS X Yosemite.

Any Mac that is capable of running OS X Yosemite or OS X Mavericks is supported and can run OS X El Capitan. If you haven’t done so already, it may be a good time to prepare your Mac for OS X El Capitan installation, but at the very least be sure to back up the Mac before installing any system software update.

Download OS X El Capitan

All Mac users who wish to download OS X El Capitan must do so from the Mac App Store, where it is available as a free download from Apple:

The El Capitan installer is about 6GB in size.

OS X El Capitan download

The installer will automatically launch itself when the download completes, and the process of updating OS X to El Capitan is a matter of following onscreen instructions.

Updating to OS X El Capitan

Be sure to start and complete backup your Mac before installing OS X El Capitan, if you haven’t setup Time Machine yet, now would be a good time to do so.

Users who wish to create a bootable USB flash drive installer of OS X El Capitan should do so before installing the release, as the installer app will remove itself upon successful completion of the software update. Instructions on creating a bootable USB install drive for OS X El Capitan final are here. Using a bootable installer is the best way to perform a clean install of OS X El Capitan.

  1. Back up the Mac if you haven’t done so yet
  2. Run the “Install OS X El Capitan” installer app if it hasn’t launched itself and agree to the Terms of Service
  3. Select the target hard drive to install OS X El Capitan onto, if you’re upgrading your current disk operating system you’d locate the name of the current boot drive, which is typically “Macintosh HD”, then click on “Install

Installing OS X El Capitan

Note that OS X 10.11.1 is currently available as a beta release as well for users who are participating in either the Mac developer program or public beta program. There is no known timeline for OS X 10.11.1 being released to the general public.

Are you downloading OS X El Capitan? Let us know if you run into any hiccups with the update, or even if things go smoothly in the comments.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, News


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. John Bunyan says:

    Disappointed. I get the message ‘ITEM NOT AVAILABLE’ ‘The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the UK store’ – thanks Apple – I need to make a Bootable USB to restore my OS after Sierra messed up my MacBookPro. Now I cant get a bootable ISO of any flavour of OS to install over a new SSD (Cost 280 quid). Since the platform itself is Early 2007 model, it is no longer supported either in UK apparantly. Apple have just lost a big fan.

  2. Nick says:

    I have an early 2009 iMac 24″ model. I can not update to Sierra it seems. But for 2 days I can not find El Capitan so that I can get this mac to the latest OS. I didn’t update to 10.11 at all. I am on 10.9.5

    I get an error at the iTunes store stating that El Capitan (base 10.11) is not available in the US store. I would have figured it would sense that I can’t update to Sierra and provide the latest that I can update to…

    Anyone have any idea where I can get 10.11 base El Capitan ? After that I believe I can update to 10.11.6 …

  3. El Capitan is now gone, I haven’t upgraded my Macbook Pro to it, yet. What will happen if I go directly from 10.9 to 10.11?

  4. martin says:

    Big thanks for the tutorial, it worked a treat installing a new ssd

  5. David says:

    How do you recover or install to a blank drive, as if you replaced the drive, for example? Without being able to boot to the utilities disk, it no longer seems possible. Control R used to work. Screw Apple and all the new BS they put people through. I have a bootable disk and it says it’s corrupted. Won’t let me download it again on a mac with 10.3 already on it. Apple really sucks these days. If you lose a drive, even with a time machine backup you are screwed and time machine is worthless.

  6. John says:

    . . . forgot to indicate- the 24-inch iMac is running 10.10.5

  7. John says:

    I was able to install el capitan to my ’09 PowerMac, but have had no success at all with my Early 2008 24-inch iMac.
    Just the spinning wheel and no change to the Download button, i.e. it will not change appearance to “Downloading”.
    This is with multiple attempts over several days (and nights).

  8. Eliza says:

    I am half way through the el capitan update and am now up to the install section and it tells me I don’t have enough disk space on Macintosh HD. I can’t get back to anything to free up space. I have tried restarting & it takes me back to the same install screen but I have nowhere to go. How do I fix this?

    • ti says:

      Take it to an Apple Store and have them fix it, but be careful they may want to erase everything and all your stuff

      If you have a boot disk you can use that to boot the Mac yourself then clear off disk space yourself, make sure at least 10GB are available.

  9. Osman Suraji says:

    well for me i think this new software has a problem.because I.am facing same challenges to upgrade or install the El capitan on my mac, seriously we need help.,

  10. Lorry says:

    Where are all my photos ? It says something about iPhoto i click where they should be it says I need to upgrade to iPhoto but I can’t connect anymore to App Store, what the heck happened? I just lost all my phone content after trying to upgrade to the iOS 9.1 , huge mistake!
    any help with the photos?

  11. Nindy says:

    Hi. I just downloaded to El Capitan last night, but I couldn’t continue at all because it said “There is not enough free space on Macintosh”. Could someone help me how to erase some of my files in this state so I can continue?

  12. Ellie says:

    I updated to El cap two days ago. It was a difficult process as it kept crashing and loading a grey screen with my picture replaced with a ? and saying update needed. I turned it off that night and the next day my login picture is back and I can get into my Mac no problems. However… I cannot do anything on it now. Every time I open an application/internet it crashes and I have to force quit everything. Anyone have any clue what I’m meant to do? It’s becoming very frustrating as I can’t do anything on my MacBook.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

  13. Ahmed says:

    Dear All,

    I, for one, would appreciate if lucky users could avoid comments like: “I don’t know what’s all the fuss about” as it’s neither a solution nor useful in any way :(

    Since installing El Capitan, my iMac is acting up – asking me for my iCloud password on every start up.

    Also, App Store keeps on asking for iCloud password although I enter it on starting the machine. And, now I’m stuck with a discontinued app (iPhoto) update which won’t start.

    If anyone could suggest a remedy, I would appreciate it very much.

  14. Mujtaba says:

    I don’t get why people have problems…. I haven’t had any problems so far

  15. samuel says:

    Hi, I’m running yosemite and want to upgrade to el capitan. For that I simply click on the download button, but nothing happens… wheel is turning a top left of the app store window I can waut for hours nothing works. Can you help (of course stop / start of Mac has been tried :-))


  16. 49ers says:

    Have you seen the “El Capitan installation failed related to essentials.pkg” error message before?

    I ran into this and fixed it by reinstalling with OS X from a boot disk, but some users say they had to pull out the RAM if they upgraded it themselves. Weird error with Essentials.pkg don’t you think?


  17. Stephanie says:

    Since updating to El Capitan, my wifi keeps disconnecting and then later says no IP Address. I’ve turned off my wifi and turned it back on, unplugged my router and restarted it and the only time I can connect to the internet is when I first log on to my computer for about 20 minutes before it disconnects me. I’Ve tried via Ethernet, and although it says I’m connected, there’s still no access to the Internet and no IP Address. In addition, my computer is freezing up or taking forever if not get stuck on a website (probably due to the wifi disconnecting and I’m having issues shutting down where my computer gets stuck and forever has a black screen with the pinwheel rotating and not turning off. I’ve had to do a hard shutdown quite a few times. I’ve done a virus check and apple hardware test and there seems to be no problems. All these problems started after updating to El Capitan. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!!!

  18. kyle says:

    I updated to El Capitan fine. However, now I have no desktop at all and finder “quits unexpectedly” Any help is greatly appreciated… I lost quite a few important documents and pictures doing this update if those desktop files are lost forever…

  19. Natalie says:

    My Mac Book Pro has been installing for 5 hours now..

  20. Harry says:

    I been on Mac mini and have filled form Apple ID to download El Capitan since 10-00am this morning and I haven’t got my download yet,this is a disgrace that this is happening here in Northern Ireland ,and is the third time I tried for download El Capitan,I’ve read other mail on your site and they boast it taken one hour or ninety minutes,is Apple feeding of my service provider an giving me nothing.

  21. Nishith says:

    When upgrade to El Capitan is free why billing info is asked when upgrade is free.? Pl clarify?

  22. Andrew says:

    Another issue that has come to light is that I get an error message each time I delete a junk or spam email:
    “an error occurred while moving message to mailbox (Null)”

    which is irritating to say the least…..

  23. Andrew says:

    I successfully downloaded EL Cap in about 1hr…though I had done a complete system clean a day prior with MacKeeper. However it managed to completely knock out the outgoing mail server of one of my 3 accounts. We have satellite broadband which issues static IP addresses to the user computers and when we tried to re-configure the email account we were blocked at every turn. You will need to work directly with your web hosting service to unblock your IP addresses and re-configure your email accounts if this occurs.

  24. cher says:

    ::sigh:: my dl has been stuck waiting for the last 24 hrs. on the app store it says ‘waiting’ on launchpad it shows as ‘paused’. i’ve tried shutdown & rebooting. Still the same. my mac pro is 13″ early 2011 but has a lot of mem coz I use an external hard drive. do i just leave it alone and let it do whatever… ?

  25. CDVill says:


    I was able to dowload and install El Capitan without any problems. But when i was on Yosemite, Safari 9.0 is having a hard time connecting/opening a webpage.
    When El Capitan was installed, Safari was teally fast within the first few hours and now its very slow again.
    Others apps/programs connects to the net very well. Please help?! Thanks!

  26. Omar Cruz says:

    I’m installing it but the freaking installer is stuck at 7 minutes for finishing… Help!!!!!

  27. Allan says:

    Fresh download of OS 10.11. onto MBA.
    Now unable to open iPhoto. Suggestion posted is to DL latest software.-> Then I receive a message SW is not available in US. ???????
    On App store, “one update available” ver 9.6.1 … -> I receive message “This item is temporarily unavailable.”

  28. BuddyM says:

    I’ve tried to download El Cap several times without success. The download keeps pausing…which apparently is shorthand for stuck. I tried using launchpad to remove the partial download and then tried to download again, and again….no progress. It starts the download, very slowly, and then gets stuck. Anyone have any ideas? Maybe I will just stick with Yosemite for awhile without the update :)

    • Paul says:

      I am having the same problem. The download button is shaded out saying pause, or waiting. Have fast broadband, the file should take minutes. There used to be an option to download only, to install later.

      Think I will go with the previous comment & stick with yosemite for now.

  29. scotpep says:

    I’ve downloaded el captian.dmg file thru a torrent (since app store is too slow in my part of the world) and now I am stuck unable to do upgrade using the dmg from yosemite to el capitan. Any suggestions!?

  30. synazim says:

    I’ve downloaded el captian.dmg file thru a torrent (since app store is too slow in my part of the world) and now I am stuck unable to do upgrade using the dmg from yosemite to el capitan. Any suggestions!?

  31. ufoparty says:

    downloaded el capitan at 5pm yesterday and went to work. when i got back five hours later, it was stuck on about 90%. after another hour with no progress, i restarted the computer; then it was stuck at 60%. i then just left it alone hoping it would sort itself out but it has been ELEVEN HOURS and nothing has changed. this is not a matter of impatience on my part, it’s completely ridiculous.
    i have a 15″ macbook pro bought in mid-2014 with more than enough space, so i don’t understand the issue. trying to install this update has rendered my computer completely unusable.

    • Judy says:

      I have exactly the same problem. My computer is completely blocked at about 60% installation and I can’t do anything. Just turn it off and on again but. Itching changes! HELP!

  32. Juan Carlos says:


    I just want to ask if anyone is having trouble downloading from the Mac App Store, because when I download any App it just take way to much time (I download a 5mb App an it took 3 minutes, when I have a 6mb internet), I’ve try everything, from turning off something from the Key Chain, changing DNS and even cleaning all of my cache!

    If someone could help me and anyone else with the same problem ASAP, it would be great.

    PD(or S, IDK): I’m from Costa Rica, my main language is Spanish so forgive any grammar mistakes, hope you all understand me.

  33. Rahul says:

    hi i am using Mac pro, i tried to install the new update EL Capitan and it shows me the error “Can’t install on Macintosh “. Can somebody help me out

    • Ibrahim says:

      Hie Rahul,
      I use the Macbook Pro 2012 too…same problem with the El Capitan installation which says “Downloaded – An error has occurred!!

    • Hani says:

      I had the same problem. I deleted a bunch of files (mainly podcasts, which seem to pile up on the harddrive) and went from 2 to 14 Gb of free space. Then I closed the OS X installer and reopened it again. That seemed to do the trick.

  34. Kat says:

    I instal El Captain but my safari its not working now, can’t open not even google page. :(
    How can I return to the last safari?

  35. Jack S says:

    Another update completed without a hitch. I’ve been doing these since Leopard and have never once had as much as a slight hiccup. Patience is key. This one took about 90 minutes.

  36. Carol kreitner says:

    The install has been stuck at 31 minutes forever. Never had a problem like this ever. Just hope it finally finishes without some other glitch that I’m reading about!

  37. Vladi says:

    Can not download and install it.. :( after entering login info it spins for a few sec and says “Unexpected error occurred while signing in: AMD:Action?guid=C82A14…”.. Any tips? close/restart doesn’t help.. I was on beta6 and couldn’t even see there is an update

  38. RobertW says:

    Installed this morning on my MacBook Pro 13-inch, Late 2011. Almost 2 hours after download. External hd and monitor working ok.

    So far no issues… yet :)

  39. lordykw says:

    Hey guys, could you cover up how to change icons of apple apps in El Capitan. It was simple enough till Yosemite, now I’m not able to do that.

  40. vdiv says:

    If you’re using Outlook 2011 with exchange accounts do not upgrade to ElCapitan just yet:


  41. Drogue says:

    Downloaded El Capitan fine overnight.
    Progressed to instal – OK.
    During install which had taken over two hours noticed spinning wheel of death on the white screen with the loading bar not making progress.
    How do I save this situation and I am not into programming – either to go back or move forward to install completely?

    • Mike P says:

      Hi, I’m experiencing this too. Very frustrating but I don’t want to do anything hasty.

      Anyone got any suggestions?

  42. dosa says:

    I live in a country with limited internet. This is one of the dumbest things i have experienced installing a new OS upgrade. It downloads almost 6 gb the file is some 6.08 and then says error has occurred. Then I have to restart the entire dowloaded. This has already happened 2 times. I have to say after waiting like half a day this is the most frustrating thing.. can’t apple get this right?

  43. Bruce says:

    Down loaded, install, rebooted, logon, hanging at about 60% start bar. Attempted & gone through 4 iterations. No keyboard or mouse function

  44. JohnM says:

    Worried that my Soundflower doesn’t work any more – when I checked out the forums – it was known that El Capitan had problems with quite a few apps – wish I hadn’t updated now but you can’t check out every single app with every upgrade can you ?

    Can anyone help me get Soundflower blooming again?

    PS I love the daily newsletter – Thanks!

  45. Sergii says:

    There are issues with USB ports… 3.0 external HDD is not connecting through hub, ports allocation is mixed up.

  46. El says:

    Took approx. 1 hour 40 minutes to install after download.

    Seems somewhat slow. I’m assuming it will get better after indexing maybe?

  47. Weman says:

    Getting a “An error has occurred” when I try to download OS X El Capitan from the App Store on the Mac. I got the “An error has occurred” error message a few times in a row here is how I fixed it:

    – quit the App Store

    – re-opened the App Store

    – followed the download link for OS X El Capitan again

    – downloaded

  48. AndyLynn says:

    App Store –> Purchased, and when i enter my AppleID,
    it just spins & spins & spins; never completes – tried several times across multiple reboots.

    through the Apple webbie i’ve requested 2-factor;
    they report it will take 3 days to be completed.


    • Patrick M. says:

      It takes three days on purpose, they send an email to you too. This way, in case you didn’t request it, for example of your account was compromised, you have 72 hours to resolve the problem.

  49. David says:

    When I upgraded to El Capitan, I suddenly had an upgrade from last March for iPhoto sitting in my App Store upgrades. I’ve never had iPhoto on this machine. I bought it in the summer and did not restore from back up. Very strange.

  50. NickO says:

    For the life of me I cannot get split screen to work. MBP 13″ Early 2011.

    • Paul says:

      Using split screen mode in OS X El Capitan is easy but a little hidden within Mission Control, here’s how it works:

      – Full Screen a single app

      – Enter into Mission Control

      – Drag another window or app into the pre-existing Full Screened app to split the screen between this two apps

      – Click on that split paneled view to open the split screen

      We’ll do a full walkthrough on this, it’s certainly not obvious without an explanation.

    • Erwin says:

      You can also click and hold on the full screen button (button next to minimize) until the side of the screen can be selected. Then slide the window to the left or right. Afterwards, select another window you would like to be in split mode.

  51. Ashish Kayastha says:

    The Mac App Store downloads are pretty slow where I live. Is there a way to have the direct download links for OS X El Capitan?

  52. paul says:

    Security patch and security release notes for OS X El Capitan are here


  53. Gary says:

    All that was available on the App Store Update page was an update to Safari 9.0. This install wouldn’t complete with the usual prompted restart, so I did a manual restart.
    The OSX still doesn’t appear on the Update Page as in the past, but I’m downloading from the “home page”.
    I’m guessing that’s designed to prevent users from installing OSX before they’re rally ready.

  54. James Rhodes says:

    Here is what is needed to make a USB flash drive installer for El Capitan. :)

    sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app –nointeraction

  55. AndyLynn says:

    any word yet on OS X El Capitan COMBO update releases?

    (they typically work *much better* for me.)

    • Cerebro says:

      Combo of what?

      This is a major system release. The App Store is the only way to get it. Combo updates are for point releases. Specifically, “x.x.2” and up, since “x.x.1” can’t be “comboed” with anything.

      • AndyLynn says:

        wow – learn something new every day – thanks for the info.

        in the past, when an Apple “on line” update destroyed functionality, i’d found that applying a COMBO update *usually* restored such. usually (still no remote scanners or older Airport Express support).

        hum – with El Capitan now wrecking/disabling 3 out of 5 of my Macs (intermittent WiFi, Spotlight & hard link failures, etc) i guess it’s beyond time to contact eBay & flush these now junk systems for something better. Chrome, anyone?

      • The Gweed says:

        I don’t believe that is true Cerebro. If there was something awry or corrupted from the original 10.10 then a combo update might fix that problem. And I seem to recall combo updating ALL OS X updates.

  56. Blackbenji says:

    Hm, i think there is an update coming for the GM tester? my GM build is 15A282a, not 15A284.

    • Paul says:

      Yes correct, the GM build is earlier than the final build (15A284). Users on the GM build of OS X 10.11 can follow the direct download link and get the new version of El Capitan from the App Store. The latest version will appear under the “purchased” tab as it downloads.

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