Did you go to download macOS Mojave but found an incomplete installer application arrived in your /Applications folder? Some Mac users have discovered that when trying to download macOS Mojave from the Mac App Store, they end up with a very small 22 MB mini-installer that is not the full size 6 GB macOS Mojave installer app.
While the regular update or installation for macOS Mojave works just fine from the 22 MB stub installer (the other install files are downloaded later), you can’t use the 22mb incomplete installer to make a bootable macOS Mojave installer flash drive, nor use the mini-installer offline, and also since it’s not the full installer app it makes little sense to copy it to other Macs if you want to install Mojave onto them too.
This article will show you a trick for how to download the proper complete macOS Mojave installer application if you ended up with the small 23 MB version of “Install macOS Mojave.app” rather than the full sized one.
Note most Mac users will NOT need to follow these instructions. For the majority of users, simply downloading MacOS Mojave from the Mac App Store directly will get them the full 5.8 GB installer application onto their Mac. Thus this guide is only for users who have found the incomplete 22mb installer app in their /Applications/ folder, and who want the full size version so that they can make a boot USB drive or whatever else.
How to Download the Full MacOS Mojave Installer File
- Go here to dosdude Mojave page and download the patch tool (the download links are labeled as “Direct” and “Mirror” on that page) *
- Launch the Mojave patch app (you may need to bypass the Gatekeeper warning by right-clicking on the app and choosing “Open”)
- Pull down the “Tools” menu and choose “Download macOS Mojave”
- Confirm that you want to download the full 6.5 GB MacOS Mojave installer, then choose a Save destination for it (if you plan on making a USB installer, putting it into the /Applications/ folder is necessary)
- Wait for the entire download to complete, it will be multiple parts that the Dosdude tool builds into the single proper installer
When complete, look in the directory you chose as the Save location for the “Install MacOS Mojave.app” file, you can confirm it is full size by selecting it and choosing Get Info if desired.
From the Get Info window on the installer file, here’s the mini 20 MB “stub” installer for macOS Mojave that is incomplete:
Also from a Get Info window on the full size installer application downloaded via DosDude tool, here’s the complete XXX GB “Install macOS Mojave.app” installer app:
The latter complete installer file is the only one that contains the createinstallmedia tool to be able to build a macOS Mojave boot disk as discussed here.
* In case you were wondering what this patch is intended for, the Dosdude Mojave patch allows you to install macOS Mojave on unsupported Mac hardware in an unofficial capacity, but that is not what we’re aiming to do here. For our purposes in this particular walkthrough well simply use the patch to download the full installer app. If installing macOS Mojave on an unsupported Mac interests you, you can read more here or on the aforementioned DosDude page.
I went through this exact process on a MacBook Air running Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9.5 and it worked exactly as described to download the full size macOS Mojave 10.14.x installer application.
For what it’s worth, a similar mini-installer issue occurred previously with some users getting a tiny incomplete macOS High Sierra installer too and we covered a similar workaround here to download the full installer file for macOS 10.13.x.
It’s not entirely clear what causes the small installer app to download on some Macs but not others, it may be related to the exact version of Mac OS / Mac OS X system software installed on the Mac which is attempting the download, or perhaps on available hard disk space. This is only speculation however, and if you have an exact answer (or theory) as to why some Mac users download the full Mojave installer and some download the mini-installer, share with us in the comments below.