MacOS Big Sur does not download (6 tips)

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The latest macOS update is finally here, which is great news for many Mac users. This update offers important new changes and features that you can take advantage of after you download and install it. But the first step to unlocking the potential of this new operating system is to download it to your computer.

Some people have already encountered some issues with the process, so let’s see how to fix the problem if macOS Big Sur won’t download here.

Why is macOS Big Sur not downloading?

There are several causes for this problem which we will explain how to fix in this article. It’s usually pretty easy to fix and download Big Sur, but you might need to run several of the fixes mentioned here to be successful. Problems can range from not having a compatible computer, to a busy server, or restarting your computer to complete the download.

Fix # 1: make sure your computer is compatible

You may experience an issue while downloading macOS Big Sur because the update is not compatible with the computer you are using. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t manufacture its machines with endless compatibility. Some people claim that this is a sign of planned obsolescence, but whatever the intention, you will first need to 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 listed, you won’t be able to download the update. The linked site says that the list will be updated when more compatible models become available, so you can register later if you don’t see your computer in the list just yet.

Unfortunately, there is no solution to make your machine compatible with the update. If it’s too old, you may need to bite the bullet and get a newer one to perform Big Sur.

Fix # 2: Make sure you have enough memory available

If you don’t have enough memory available on your computer, you won’t be able to download macOS Big Sur. Fortunately, this is a fairly easy problem to fix, and all you need to do is get rid of some files or apps that you don’t need to free up enough free space.

According to Apple, you will need 35.5 GB of free space if you are upgrading from macOS Sierra or later. You will need 45.5 GB of free space if you are using a version of the operating system earlier than this. To free up the space you need, find the files you don’t need. Unused apps are a great way to free up space. You can also remove them and then reinstall them after updating the operating system.

Fix # 3: Apple Server is in high demand

If you recently tried to download Big Sur, you may have had problems downloading due to the high demand for the update. Newly released updates typically see a rush of downloads within the first few days of being released, which can cause the server offering the download to be overloaded.

The solution to this problem is to simply try to download the update later when the demand is not as high. There are also peak times of the day when many Mac users can try to download the update.

You can check the system status of Apple servers here and check for 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 may be in high demand or have some other problem.

Fix # 4: check your internet connection

Another fairly common issue that can affect a download of any type, including macOS Big Sur, is a poor internet connection. If you lose the connection, your download may stop and you will not be able to complete the update.

If you think this might be the problem, you can just try the download again. If that doesn’t work, you may need to go to another location with a better internet connection. You can also try using a fixed Ethernet connection instead of WiFi, as this can limit possible interference from other devices or other common issues with interrupted downloads over a WiFi connection.

Fix # 5: try a different download location

Your Mac computer can be configured to automatically check for and download updates. It is a convenient way to update quickly when a new operating system is available. If you haven’t set up automatic downloads, there are two different ways to download the update. You can go to System Preferences, then select the software update icon or download directly from the App Store.

If you’re having trouble downloading macOS Big Sur through any of the common download locations mentioned above, just try the other option and see if that allows the download to happen. This is a simple solution that has been reported to work by some users who are having trouble downloading.

Fix # 6: restart your computer

Another simple solution that can sometimes help resolve a download issue is to simply restart your computer. This is not a guaranteed method of fixing download issues with Big Sur, in particular, but a restart often fixes small glitches and issues that can affect your system. Just make sure to back up anything important before you complete the reboot.


The fixes offered here should help you resolve issues with downloading macOS Big Sur. If none of the above work, I would suggest going through them again and checking that your computer is compatible with the update.

Read about other macOS Big Sur issues:

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