How to Download Full MacOS Installers the Easy Way with MDS
Downloading complete macOS installers has long been possible via the App Store and the command line, but some users encounter difficulties with those approaches, or find them too cumbersome. Another option is to download a full macOS installer by using an app called MDS.
MDS stands for Mac Deploy Stick and is third party software, it’s free to download but if you want support for the app you’ll need to pay for it. For our purposes here, we’re simply aiming to use the MDS app to download complete installers of macOS system software, without going through the usual channels of the Mac App Store, or the Terminal.
Downloading Complete MacOS Installers with Mac Deploy Stick (MDS)
This is really quite simple, thanks to the excellent MDS app, here’s how it works:
- Download MDS Mac Deploy Stick free from TwoCanoes (the developer) and install it on the Mac
- Open MDS (it’ll be in the Applications folder), ignore any splash screen message about an SSL certificate or anything else as you aren’t using those features
- Choose “Download macOS” from the sidebar Tools section
- Find the version of macOS you want to download from the list, select it and then click on “Download”
- Select the output destination of where you wish to download the full macOS installer to, for example the Desktop
That’s all there is to it! Let the download complete and you’ll have a complete macOS installer application ready to use.
The great thing about the MDS tool is it makes downloading full installers of specific macOS versions particularly easy. For example if you want to download macOS 11.1, or macOS 10.14.6, or macOS 10.15.3, you can easily do that with this tool.
As you’ll see in the MDS app, there’s also a section to create a macOS installer drive, which is basically a super simple to use GUI front-end to the createinstallmedia command line tool that is commonly used to make boot disks for the Mac.
Is this great or what? The MDS app is perhaps the easiest and most straight forward way to download a full installer of macOS, and that it’s available for free is pretty great too.
And in case you were wondering, yes ‘mds’ process (lowercase) is an unrelated system process on the Mac for Spotlight, but that has no relation to the MDS (Mac Deploy Stick) application discussed here.
Have you used MDS to get a complete macOS installer or for other purposes? Do you have another method or another tool that you use to accomplish the same task?