Dec 18

Apple used to have a fantastic application called OSX Server (now called MacOS Server) which allowed you to run a full server from any OSX computer. A server can  allow you share files, run your own email or web server, remotely connect in to your office etc.  OSX server was particularly powerful running on a Mac Mini. With OSX Mojave Apple killed off OSX server, but it is still possible to download an older version from Apple that still works. Here’s how.

You will need access to two Macs to do this.

Firstly you will need a Mac running an older version of OS X. This is the Mac you will run OSX server on. I used El Capitan but any version prior to Mojave will work.

If you try to ‘purchase’ OSX server on this older OS it will say that MacOS Server is not compatible with the older OS. The only way to purchase Server is to be running Mojave. So you will need access to a mac running OSX Mojave to make the actual purchase. 

Once you have purchased Server you can then download the older version to your older OSX. 

1. Purchase a new version of OSX server.

On the Mojave OSX computer login to the App Store and purchase a new version of OSX Mojave. You don’t need to download it. You can cancel as soon as it starts to download. 

2. Download the older version of Server

Now use the computer with the older version of OSX and  login to the same iTunes account. In the App Store click on the little tag that says ‘Purchased.’ MacOS Server will now appear and you can download an older version that works with your older OS.

You should now have a working version of OSX server that includes all the features like VPN, FTP, Mail server and everything else that Apple removed from the Mojave version of OSX server.

13 Responses to “How to get an old version of MacOS server”

  1. Klaus says:

    Very helpful. Thank you!

  2. Marty says:

    Thanks so much for this article! I wish Apple would make this known to their users. Cheers :)

  3. Phil says:

    Does not work with Server app 5.6.3 and Mojave 10.14.5 – says “This version is no longer supported on this version of macOS.”

  4. DFAIT says:

    I believe macOS Server 5.6.1 is the last version that supports Calendar and Contacts services – can someone confirm this?

    Can someone also confirm that no Security or other updates to macOS 10.13.6 will make Server 5.6.1 incompatible?


  5. root says:

    I’ve upgraded Server from 5.5beta to 5.6.3. I don’t use them but it seems that OS Server 5.6.3 supports Calendar and Contact Services which are in the list of menu bar.

  6. Spencer says:

    Thanks for the sharing. When I follow the advice and login to my iTune account, I cannot find a way to see all the apps which I have purchased and can be downloaded. Only apps for iPhone and iPad…. Any further advice will be grateful. Thx in advance.

  7. This method does not work anymore! I already tried, after buying and even downloading on my mojave computer, but on two different computers, it says it doesn’t offer the older version anymore, it just says it is incompatible. Please suggest an alternative method. thanks

    • Wayne says:

      Just to be clear, you need to download the older version of OSX server onto an older version of OS X, it won’t run on Mojave.

    • Ultimeter says:

      I couldn’t get it to work either. Says I need 10.15 to complete the purchase although I already purchased it on my Catalina Mac. Doesn’t give me an option to download an older version. Hoping to get this old 2006 MacPro working in my small office as a document server. Bummer

  8. james says:

    Really needed this. Well done!

  9. Steven Sheung says:

    This method does not work any more. When you show up as Mac Mojave, it only said you have to be !0.15 to download. That is it.

  10. Henry S. Kim says:

    Actually, this method DOES work as of 1/15/2020, you just have to change everywhere above that it says Mojave, to Catalina. In other words, find a machine that has Catalina, log into the Mac App Store, buy macOS Server (version 5.9 as of 1/15/2020). Now that your account has a purchased copy of macOS Server, go back to your High Sierra machine and go to the Mac App Store on that machine, log in using the same account you used on the Catalina machine to buy macOS Server 5.9, and search for macOS Server. The buy button will say “INSTALL” (because the Mac App Store acknowledges that you bought it using your account), and click on the INSTALL button. You’ll see a message that says macOS Server is not compatible with your current OS (High Sierra) and then it will say that it will download the most recent version that’s compatible with your OS. It will download macOS Server 5.6.3 to your High Sierra Applications folder and name the app Server. Done! And no, you cannot move this app to a Mojave or Catalina machine. That won’t work. So if you want to use macOS Server 5.6.3, you can’t go any higher than High Sierra. Incidentally, I used an old white MacBook (unibody model MacBook7,1) to install Catalina to do this. Even though it (and many other old machines) don’t officially install Catalina, it’s trivially simple using the unsupported installer found by googling “catalina unsupported” and using the first search result.

  11. Peter Rowat says:

    I have Mojave on an iMac, and the App store does not show a Server!
    So Apple has taken it off the Store
    Is there any other way to get a Server that runs Mail?
    Any help apprecited

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