Need to Reinstall macOS Sierra? There Isn’t an App for That

macOS Sierra gone from Mac App Store

If you decide macOS High Sierra isn’t for you and want to reinstall Sierra from the App Store, good luck because it isn’t there. Checking your purchases list won’t help, either, because macOS Sierra seems to be completely MIA.

macOS Sierra gone from Mac App Store
Apple drops macOS Sierra from Mac App Store

Searching for macOS Sierra on the Mac App Store returns a few results, but none are Apple’s operating system. Looking in your purchased apps gets you a big bucket of nope even though older Mac operating systems show up.

According to Apple’s knowledge base article on downloading previous purchases, which includes older operating system versions, “macOS Sierra or later doesn’t appear in the Purchased tab. Instead, use the Search field in the upper-right corner to find and open the App Store page for that macOS.”

That’s all well and good, except that you can’t find macOS Sierra. It’s likely this is an intentional move because a substantial number of High Sierra installations will have transitioned from HFS+ to APFS for their boot volume format and you can’t roll back without reformatting.

This is a big change since Apple has previously left old operating system versions on the App Store. Changing that policy now will no doubt be a major pain in the backside for anyone who prematurely made the jump to High Sierra, like people who later find they’re having serious app compatibility issues.

Since Apple deems macOS Sierra downloads verboten—at least for now—the only way you’re getting it back is if you saved the installer at some point, or have a good backup.

[Thanks to 512 Pixels for the heads up]

5 thoughts on “Need to Reinstall macOS Sierra? There Isn’t an App for That

  • Yes, I too compulsively create a USB stick installer for each major version (since 10.6).

    What I often forget to do though is update my installer stick 6-9 months later for version 10.x.y – meaning if I do an install from the stick I then have an immediate largish update to also install.

    Back note: My installers for 10.6-10.9 were created via an Apple certificate that is now expired, so before I run them I have to set the system date backwards to 1st Feb 2016: “date 0201010116”

  • There may be other ways to handle this. Depending on the age of your Mac, your Recovery Volume may still have that version available. I’ve seen reports that users could pull the original image out of there, but I can’t find any such tip right now. See Apple’s page for pulling up the various OS versions associated with that Mac:

    Just be aware that if you use this to restore the OS through your network connection, it may take a LONG time to finish — more than a day, in many cases.

  • Praise the deities that I have an OCD twitch that insists on backing up OS installers.
    (against such an occurrence)

    Oddly, all the OS installers prior to macOS Sierra are still in my Purchased History list in the App Store app.

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