The newest macOS update is finally here, which is exciting news for many Mac users. This update offers some significant new changes and features that you can take advantage of once you have it downloaded and installed. But the first step in unlocking the potential of this new OS is to download it to your computer.
Some people have already encountered a few issues with the process, so let’s take a look at how to fix the problem if macOS Big Sur won’t download here.
Why Won’t macOS Big Sur Download?
There are several causes to this issue that we will explain how to fix in this article. It is usually pretty easy to get the problem resolved and get Big Sur downloaded, but you might need to run through several of the fixes mentioned here in order to be successful. The issues can range from not having a compatible computer to a busy server to needing to restart your computer to complete the download.
Fix #1: Make Sure Your Computer is Compatible
You may encounter a problem when trying to download macOS Big Sur because the update isn’t compatible with the computer you are using. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t make their machines with endless compatibility. Some people claim this is a sign of planned obsolescence, but regardless of intent, you’ll have to first make sure your computer is eligible for the update.
Click here for the current list of Mac models that support the macOS Big Sur update. If you don’t see your computer on the list, you won’t be able to download the update. The linked site does say that the list will be updated when more compatible models become available, so you might want to check in later on if you don’t see your computer listed right now.
There is no fix to making your machine compatible with the update, unfortunately. If it’s too old, you may have to bite the bullet and get a newer one in order to run Big Sur.
Fix #2: Make Sure You Have Enough Available Memory
If you don’t have enough available memory on your computer, you won’t be able to download macOS Big Sur. Luckily, this is a pretty easy problem to fix, and all you will need to do is get rid of some files or apps you don’t need in order to free up enough available space.
According to Apple, you will need 35.5GB of free space if you are upgrading from macOS Sierra or later. You will need 45.5GB of free space if you are running an OS version earlier than that. To free up the necessary space, look for any files that you don’t need. Unused apps are a great way to free up space. You can delete them and then reinstall them after the OS update, as well.
Fix #3: Apple Server is in High Demand
If you have tried to download Big Sur recently, you may have had issues with downloading because of the high demand for the update. Newly released updates typically see a rush in downloads in the first few days after they are released, and this can cause the server offering the download to become overwhelmed.
The fix to this issue is to simply try to download the update at a later time when it’s not in as much demand. There are also peak times of the day when a lot of Mac users might try to download the update.
You can check the System Status of the Apple servers here, and look for the macOS Software Update. If there is a green dot next to the software update, you should be able to download it. If there is a red dot, it could be in high demand or experiencing another issue.
Fix #4: Check Your Internet Connection
Another fairly common issue that can affect a download of any type, macOS Big Sur included, is a bad internet connection. If you lose the connection, your download can stop and you won’t be able to complete the update.
If you think this might be the issue, you can simply attempt the download again. If that doesn’t work, you might need to go to another location that has a better internet connection. You can also try to use a hard line ethernet connection instead of WiFi, as this can limit possible interference from other devices or other common issues involved with interrupted downloads over a WiFi connection.
Fix #5: Try a Different Download Location
You might have your Mac computer set up to search for and download updates automatically. This is a convenient way to go about updating quickly when a new OS is available. If you don’t have automatic downloads set up, there are two different ways to go about downloading the update. You can go into System Preferences and then select the Software Update icon or download directly from the App Store.
If you are having problems with downloading macOS Big Sur through either of the common download locations mentioned above, simply try the other option and see if that allows the download to happen. This is an easy fix that has been reported to work by some users experiencing download issues.
Fix #6: Restart Your Computer
Another easy fix that can sometimes help resolve a download issue, is to simply restart your computer. This isn’t a guaranteed method for solving download issues with Big Sur, specifically, but a restart does often solve small issues and glitches that may be affecting your system. Just be sure to save anything important before you complete the restart.
The fixes offered here should help you with problems encountered when trying to download macOS Big Sur. If none of the above work, I would suggest running through all of them again and double-checking that your computer is compatible with the update.
Read Other macOS Big Sur Issues:
- MacBook Pro Runs Slow after macOS Big Sur Update
- macOS Big Sur Won’t Install
- macOS Big Sur Fails to Boot
- Battery Drain on macOS Big Sur
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.