While macOS is currently on version 11 (otherwise known as Big Sur) and macOS 12 Monterey is coming later this year, there are plenty of folks who use old versions of the Mac operating system. Some people are still using OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, and until recently, you had to pay Apple $19.99 to get download codes for those OSes. But there’s good news: Apple is now offering Lion and Mountain Lion for free for anyone who wants them.
To get Lion and Mountain Lion for free, you can visit the support documents for those OSes on Apple’s website:
- Mac OS X Lion installer free download (4.72GB)
- Mac OS X Mountain Lion installer free download (4.45GB)
Strangely, Apple still sells Lion and Mountain Lion for $19.99 each. Apple stopped charging for macOS updates with Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks.
Is my Mac compatible with OSX Lion and Mountain Lion?
Lion runs on Macs that came prior to the launch of Mountain Lion in 2012. Mountain Lion runs on the Macs below, but you may not be able to downgrade to it unless you completely reformat the drive. You can’t install an old OS on top of a newer one. Also, the oldest OS an M1 Mac can run is Big Sur.
- iMac (Mid 2007-2020)
- MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
- MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
- MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
- Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
- Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
- Xserve (Early 2009)
If you want to know if your specific Mac can run OS X Lion or Mountain Lion, you can use our complete list of versions of macOS that a Mac can run. We have instructions on how to make a bootable Lion drive or a bootable Mountain Lion drive, in case you want to start from scratch on the Macs you’re working on.
Can I get OS X Snow Leopard?
Mac OS X 10. 6 Snow Leopard was released in 2009 and introduced the Mac App Store. Apple used to sell Snow Leopard for $19.99, but it’s no longer available.
Editor’s note: This article was adapted from Macwelt.
Roman has covered technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser, and he’s worked for MacAddict, Mac|Life, and TechTV.