Mac Os X 10.3

So, you’ve decided to download an older version of Mac OS X. There are many reasons that could point you to this radical decision. To begin with, some of your apps may not be working properly (or simply crash) on newer operating systems. Also, you may have noticed your Mac’s performance went down right after the last update. Finally, if you want to run a parallel copy of Mac OS X on a virtual machine, you too will need a working installation file of an older Mac OS X. Further down we’ll explain where to get one and what problems you may face down the road.

As expected, Apple today released OS X Yosemite 10.10.3, the first significant feature-rich update the operating system has received. OS X 10.10.3 was first seeded to developers in February,. Mac OS X 10.3 was the first operating system to no longer use Sherlock for the Find File command, and the Find File was integrated in the Finder's File menu. No Mac that can use 10.3 can install Snow Leopard or Lion. The highest 10.3, is 10.3.9 that is available for free from to update any system from 10.3 to 10.3.

A list of all Mac OS X versions

We’ll be repeatedly referring to these Apple OS versions below, so it’s good to know the basic macOS timeline.

Cheetah 10.0Puma 10.1Jaguar 10.2
Panther 10.3Tiger 10.4Leopard 10.5
Snow Leopard 10.6Lion 10.7Mountain Lion 10.8
Mavericks 10.9Yosemite 10.10El Capitan 10.11
Sierra 10.12High Sierra 10.13Mojave 10.14
Catalina 10.15

STEP 1. Prepare your Mac for installation

Given your Mac isn’t new and is filled with data, you will probably need enough free space on your Mac. This includes not just space for the OS itself but also space for other applications and your user data. One more argument is that the free space on your disk translates into virtual memory so your apps have “fuel” to operate on. The chart below tells you how much free space is needed.

Note, that it is recommended that you install OS on a clean drive. Next, you will need enough disk space available, for example, to create Recovery Partition. Here are some ideas to free up space on your drive:

  • Uninstall large unused apps
  • Empty Trash Bin and Downloads
  • Locate the biggest files on your computer:

Go to Finder > All My Files > Arrange by size
Then you can move your space hoggers onto an external drive or a cloud storage.
If you aren’t comfortable with cleaning the Mac manually, there are some nice automatic “room cleaners”. Our favorite is CleanMyMac as it’s most simple to use of all. It deletes system junk, old broken apps, and the rest of hidden junk on your drive.

Download CleanMyMac for OS 10.4 - 10.8 (free version)

Download CleanMyMac for OS 10.9 (free version)

Download CleanMyMac for OS 10.10 - 10.14 (free version)

STEP 2. Get a copy of Mac OS X download

Mac Os X 10.3 Panther Download

Normally, it is assumed that updating OS is a one-way road. That’s why going back to a past Apple OS version is problematic. The main challenge is to download the OS installation file itself, because your Mac may already be running a newer version. If you succeed in downloading the OS installation, your next step is to create a bootable USB or DVD and then reinstall the OS on your computer.


How to download older Mac OS X versions via the App Store

If you once had purchased an old version of Mac OS X from the App Store, open it and go to the Purchased tab. There you’ll find all the installers you can download. However, it doesn’t always work that way. The purchased section lists only those operating systems that you had downloaded in the past. But here is the path to check it:

  1. Click the App Store icon.
  2. Click Purchases in the top menu.
  3. Scroll down to find the preferred OS X version.
  4. Click Download.

This method allows you to download Mavericks and Yosemite by logging with your Apple ID — only if you previously downloaded them from the Mac App Store.

Without App Store: Download Mac OS version as Apple Developer

If you are signed with an Apple Developer account, you can get access to products that are no longer listed on the App Store. If you desperately need a lower OS X version build, consider creating a new Developer account among other options. The membership cost is $99/year and provides a bunch of perks unavailable to ordinary users.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that if you visit, you can only find 10.3-10.6 OS X operating systems there. Newer versions are not available because starting Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.7, the App Store has become the only source of updating Apple OS versions.

Purchase an older version of Mac operating system

You can purchase a boxed or email version of past Mac OS X directly from Apple. Both will cost you around $20. For the reason of being rather antiquated, Snow Leopard and earlier Apple versions can only be installed from DVD.

Buy a boxed edition of Snow Leopard 10.6
Get an email copy of Lion 10.7
Get an email copy of Mountain Lion 10.8

The email edition comes with a special download code you can use for the Mac App Store. Note, that to install the Lion or Mountain Lion, your Mac needs to be running Snow Leopard so you can install the newer OS on top of it.

How to get macOS El Capitan download

If you are wondering if you can run El Capitan on an older Mac, rejoice as it’s possible too. But before your Mac can run El Capitan it has to be updated to OS X 10.6.8. So, here are main steps you should take:

1. Install Snow Leopard from install DVD.
2. Update to 10.6.8 using Software Update.
3. Download El Capitan here.

“I can’t download an old version of Mac OS X”

If you have a newer Mac, there is no physical option to install Mac OS versions older than your current Mac model. For instance, if your MacBook was released in 2014, don’t expect it to run any OS released prior of that time, because older Apple OS versions simply do not include hardware drivers for your Mac.

But as it often happens, workarounds are possible. There is still a chance to download the installation file if you have an access to a Mac (or virtual machine) running that operating system. For example, to get an installer for Lion, you may ask a friend who has Lion-operated Mac or, once again, set up a virtual machine running Lion. Then you will need to prepare an external drive to download the installation file using OS X Utilities.

After you’ve completed the download, the installer should launch automatically, but you can click Cancel and copy the file you need. Below is the detailed instruction how to do it.

STEP 3. Install older OS X onto an external drive

The following method allows you to download Mac OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks.

  1. Start your Mac holding down Command + R.
  2. Prepare a clean external drive (at least 10 GB of storage).
  3. Within OS X Utilities, choose Reinstall OS X.
  4. Select external drive as a source.
  5. Enter your Apple ID.

Now the OS should start downloading automatically onto the external drive. After the download is complete, your Mac will prompt you to do a restart, but at this point, you should completely shut it down. Now that the installation file is “captured” onto your external drive, you can reinstall the OS, this time running the file on your Mac.

  1. Boot your Mac from your standard drive.
  2. Connect the external drive.
  3. Go to external drive > OS X Install Data.

Locate InstallESD.dmg disk image file — this is the file you need to reinstall Lion OS X. The same steps are valid for Mountain Lion and Mavericks.


How to downgrade a Mac running later macOS versions

If your Mac runs macOS Sierra 10.12 or macOS High Sierra 10.13, it is possible to revert it to the previous system if you are not satisfied with the experience. You can do it either with Time Machine or by creating a bootable USB or external drive.
Instruction to downgrade from macOS Sierra

Instruction to downgrade from macOS High Sierra

Instruction to downgrade from macOS Mojave

Instruction to downgrade from macOS Catalina

Before you do it, the best advice is to back your Mac up so your most important files stay intact. In addition to that, it makes sense to clean up your Mac from old system junk files and application leftovers. The easiest way to do it is to run CleanMyMac X on your machine (download it for free here).

Visit your local Apple Store to download older OS X version

Mac Os X 10.3 Download

If none of the options to get older OS X worked, pay a visit to nearest local Apple Store. They should have image installations going back to OS Leopard and earlier. You can also ask their assistance to create a bootable USB drive with the installation file. So here you are. We hope this article has helped you to download an old version of Mac OS X. Below are a few more links you may find interesting.

Mac os x 10.3 iso

Last revision February 17, 2005

These suggestions will make your upgrade from an older version of Mac OS X less troublesome.They are not for upgrading from Mac OS 8 or 9.They are specifically aimed at people using Mac OS X in the StanfordUniversity School of Earth Sciences.I suggest that you print these instructions and check off the itemsas you complete them.

Before you upgrade

  1. Startup your computer normally, connect to the Internet, and runSoftware Update,in theSystem Preferencesapplication (under theApplemenu) and download and install any OS or security updates.Don't bother withiLifeupdates (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDvd, iCal, iSync,etc.) as new versions are on the 10.3 installation CD.
  2. Permissions on system files should be verified. This is most efficiently done while running from the hard disk.

    If you are running any version of Mac OS X 10.2, open theDisk Utilityprogram (found in the Utilitiessubfolder of the Applicationsfolder). Select your Macintosh hard drive (or the partition containingMac OS X, if you have more than one partition), click on theFirst Aidtab, and then click on the Repair Permissionsbutton.

    If you are running Mac OS X version 10.1.5, download and run theRepair Privileges Utility 1.1from Apple's web site at

    This utility isonlyfor Mac OS X version 10.1.5, which was the last updateto the 10.1 system(if you started with an earlier version of Mac OS X 10.1, it shouldhave been upgraded to 10.1.5 in the first step).

  3. Install any firmware updates need for your Macintosh model.
    • Check theMac OS X: Chart of Available Firmware Updateson Apple's web site at
    • If a firmware update is available for your Macintosh, click on the numberin theDownload Document
    • Apple will direct you to a new page. Download and install the firmware update.
    • If the firmware update is already installed or your Macintosh waspurchased after the date of the update release, you will get anerror message when you run the firmware installer. If thishappens, your machine is already up to date and you canproceed. Your system is not harmed.
  4. Startup from theMac OS X Panther Version 10.3 Install Disc 1CD. Insert the CD, and restart the computer while holding down theCkey to start your computer from the CD.
  5. After the installer loads, run theDisk Utilityprogram (located under theInstallermenu) to repair any disk directory problems.Such problems can cause the upgrade to fail.
    • AfterDisk Utilityopens, select your Macintosh hard drive and click theRepair Diskbutton.
    • IfDisk Utilityreports an error that it cannot fix, you will need to use a more powerful program such asDiskWarriorto repair the drive. Do not proceed with system upgrade untilyou have completely repaired the drive. Submit aHelpSU request if you need assistance with disk repair, at
    • QuitDisk UtilityandInstaller,checkStartup Diskto verify that your hard disk is selected for startup,and restart your computer normally.
  6. Create a complete bootable backup of your hard disk (or systempartition) to another disk drive (or partition), if a largeenough one is available, using the free programCarbon Copy Cloner,available at

    If you cannot backup your entire hard disk, back up your homedirectory, which contains your documents and personal settings,to some other medium such as Zip, CD, etc.

  7. If you have an external firewire disk, check the manufacturer's web site to see if it needs a driver update to run smoothly with Mac OS X 10.3.Problems have been reported with some external firewire drives.
  8. InSystem Preferences,selectLogin Itemsand delete any items from the list -- you don't want your newsystem to try to start old incompatible applications. Afterthe upgrade, verify that these applications run correctlybefore adding them back to yourLogin Itemslist.
  9. Deactivate any anti-virus programs, such asSymantec (Norton),McAfeeorStuffit AVR.Check for updated versions before re-enabling after the upgrade.
  10. DisableMacLelandsingle sign-on andAFS,to avoid login problems after upgrade. These can be re-enabled after youre-installMacLeland.
    • Under theMacLelandicon in the menu bar selectSettings.
    • Uncheck all items under theAFStab.
    • Under theSecuritytab insure thatDisable Single Sign-On is checked.

Upgrade Mac OS X

Mac os x 10.3 upgrade
  1. Shutdown your computer and unplug all peripherals except for your keyboard and mouse.
  2. Startup from theMac OS X Panther Version 10.3 Install Disc 1(hold theCkey down while starting).
  3. After the system starts and theInstallerstarts, you have the option to customize the installation byclicking on theCustomizebutton.The following customizations are recommended for Earth Sciences:
    • Make sure theBSD Subsystemsubset is selected.Many useful utility programs, plus normal UNIX features, requirethis subset, includingCarbon Copy Clonerand remote login and file copy viassh or scp.
    • Make sure the X-windowssubset is selected if you want to install and useMatlabor other graphical applications that come from UNIX.
    • In theForeign Languagesection, you can uncheck any languages that you will not need in order to save disk space.Mac OS X automatically installs support for about 15 non-English languages. Unchecking these saves about 30 Megabytes of disk spaceper language.
  4. After making any desired customizations,proceed with installation, by clicking on theUpgradebutton. It may take over an hour to complete the installationprocess. TheInstallermay request the second or third CD disk.
  5. When the upgrade is done, quit theInstaller,checkStartup Diskto verify that your hard disk is selected for startup,and restart your computer normally.

After you upgrade

Mac Os X 10.3 Download

  1. When your computer has restarted from the upgraded system onthe hard disk, runDisk Utility,located in theUtilitiessubfolder in theApplicationsfolder on your hard drive, and click onRepair Disk Permissions again. Many mysterious problems can be avoided by making surethat all system files have the correct permissions.
  2. Connect to the Internet, and runSoftware Update,located underSystem Preferences,and install updates. There will most likely be a Mac OS X update, plusiLifeapplication updates, and perhaps security updates.A restart will likely be required.
  3. After the computer restarts, runSoftware Updateagain, and install any additional updates. Keep runningSoftware Updateuntil no more new updates are found.Some updates cannot be installed until others are finished and the system is restarted.
  4. InstallMacLelandversion 2.3, found at

  5. Re-enable any antivirus software that you use, after checking forupdates on the vendor's web site.
  6. Check for any upgrades to applications that you have installedyourself on your system. Look at the vendor web sites, or search onVersionTracker at