Install macOS High Sierra on Mac [Direct Download]

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Apple has just released macOS High Sierra, and all Macs running macOS Sierra are eligible for the upgrade. You can probably imagine the number of Mac users trying to upgrade their software to the latest release. And, as history predicts the story, many users would likely be facing multiple issues as they try to download their copy of macOS High Sierra via the Mac App Store.

Install macOS High Sierra on Mac [Direct Download]

Slow download speeds, frequent disconnections and inability to resume an interrupted download have been quite the characteristics of macOS upgrades, especially during the initial release period. Ever since Apple has made its yearly releases available as free downloads, a lot of users can’t wait enough to get their hands on the new software.

The result is a large volume of traffic constantly hitting Apple servers, causing congestion in the network and slower response from the servers. And as a consequence of this, most users end up wasting a lot of data over a single download.

Download and Install macOS High Sierra without MAS

To make life easier, we came up with a more reliable workaround to directly download macOS from Apple server instead of via the Mac App Store, for previous macOS and OS X releases. This post is dedicated for all updates related to macOS High Sierra direct download.

Normally, when you download macOS High Sierra from MAS, some package files are downloaded to your computer, and then processed by MAS to convert them into an executable “.app” file. You cannot install High Sierra directly from the package files.

In this workaround, we’re going to directly download these raw packages from Apple server using a web browser or a suitable download manager. Then, we’ll configure the computer in such a way that Mac App Store processes the package files by fetching them from the local repository, instead of downloading it again from Apple.

Note: If you use a Download Manager like Folx to download the raw packages, you may also be able to achieve higher download speeds compared to what you’d get for the MAS download.

macOS High Sierra [Direct Download]

Step 1: Download the three “.pkg” files from the respective URLs given below.

macOS High Sierra 10.13 (17A405) / October 5, 2017 (updated)

  1. macOS High Sierra InstallESDDmg.pkg file download URL: http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/30/55/091-36857/e08asjpjpbflt33p43ufqmuv6b39x8pa10/InstallESDDmg.pkg
  2. macOS High Sierra RecoveryHDMetaDmg.pkg file download URL: http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/30/55/091-36857/e08asjpjpbflt33p43ufqmuv6b39x8pa10/RecoveryHDMetaDmg.pkg
  3. macOS High Sierra InstallAssistantAuto.pkg file download URL: http://swcdn.apple.com/content/downloads/30/55/091-36857/e08asjpjpbflt33p43ufqmuv6b39x8pa10/InstallAssistantAuto.pkg

Step 2: Configure your Mac so that MAS looks for the macOS packages locally instead of from the Apple server.

To do this, you need to edit the hosts file on Mac to point the root domain of the download URLs (“swcdn.apple.com”) to localhost (“127.0.0.1”). The below instructions will guide you to modify the hosts file as required.

  1. Launch Terminal on your Mac from Launchpad or Applications list.
  2. Type in the following command: “sudo nano /etc/hosts”
  3. Provide the System Password when prompted. The hosts file is now open in editable mode within the Terminal window.
  4. Append the following line to the end of the file: “127.0.0.1       swcdn.apple.com”.
  5. Press control + X (^X), then Y and hit return to save the file and return to Terminal prompt.

From now on, any request issued for the particular root domain (swcdn.apple.com) from the Mac will be directed to localhost.

Note: Sometimes, you might need to flush the DNS cache for the changes to take effect. In that case, use the “sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder” command to flush DNS cache.

Step 3: Place the package files in a certain relative path from the localhost root, so as to mimic the structure of their respective download URLs.

In this example, we’ll create a folder named “macos_local” on Desktop, and replicate the directory structure of the package URLs under the same. Once the relative path has been created, we’ll configure the localhost server to point to the “macos_local” directory on Desktop. Then, we’ll use macOS’ buit-in SimpleHTTP server convert the folder into a web server directory.

The below instructions will guide you through the set up process.

  1. Open Terminal from the Launchpad or Applications list.
  2. Type “cd Desktop” on the command line and hit return to enter the Desktop folder.
  3. Type “mkdir macos_local” and hit return to create the root directory of the same name on Desktop.
  4. Go to the newly created folder by typing “cd macos_local” and hitting return.
  5. Enter the following command to create the relative path for the .pkg files, inside the macos_local folder (Provide the admin password when requested):
“sudo mkdir -p ./content/downloads/30/55/091-36857/e08asjpjpbflt33p43ufqmuv6b39x8pa10/
  6. Place the downloaded package files in their respective relative location (as per their URLs) within the macos_local folder on the Desktop. Click on Authenticate when prompted, and provide the system admin password.
  7. With macos_local as the present working directory in Terminal, execute the following command: “sudo python -m SimpleHTTPServer 80”. Provide the admin password and click on Allow in the subsequent message prompt.

The current directory (macos_local) is now hosted on localhost. Leave the Terminal window open to keep the localhost server running until the process is completed.

To verify the setup, open any of the package (.pkg or pkg) URLs in your browser and check the download speed as it downloads the package. You should notice a very high speed which is much higher than the speed of your Internet connection. This is because the file is being downloaded through localhost. Your Internet bandwidth is not being used.

Step 4: Download macOS High Sierra through the Mac App Store link.

Don’t worry, MAS will fetch the package files from localhost and launch the installer (“.app”) file once the packages have been processed.

Note: Your Mac might request resources from the “swcdn.apple.com” domain while installing macOS High Sierra. Thus, it is recommended to remove the entry from the hosts file that we appended earlier, before proceeding with the installation.

Is this workaround genuine?

In this workaround, we are downloading the required resources from the Apple Server and using Mac App Store to install the OS update. So yes, it is as genuine as the official method. The only factor we’re changing here is the location where MAS fetches the packages from. If you are downloading the macOS package files from third party sources, you can verify whether it’s the original, by comparing their MD5 and SHA1 hash values given below.

macOS High Sierra Bootable Installer (macOS High Sierra DMG)

Now that you have the “macOS High Sierra.app” installer, you can upgrade multiple Macs to the latest version using the same file. However, if you are looking to perform a fresh installation, you need to create a bootable installer for High Sierra.

The bootable image for High Sierra (InstallESD.dmg) is located within its “.app” file. To get the InstallESD.dmg file, right-click on “macOS High Sierra.app”, select “Show Package Contents” option, and browse to the Contents/SharedSupport/ folder.

Alternatively, the bootable installer for macOS High Sierra may be directly created from the “.app” file using the “createinstallmedia” command, as suggested by Apple.

If this workaround has helped you to get macOS High Sierra easily or saved your Internet bandwidth on single or multiple installations, let us know in the comments below.

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