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I'm currently running El Capitan on a Macbook Pro mid-2015 model and just can't seem to upgrade to Sierra. Every time I try to download the installer from the app store, it completes, says 'Downloaded' but it's nowhere to be found. I watch Finder during the download and a partial appears under Applications called 'macOS Sierra'. When the download completes another file appears in its place called 'Install macOS Sierra' but that file then immediately disappears!

I've been unable to find anyone else with this issue and it seems to be impossible to manually download the installer so I can run it without the App Store deciding to delete it.

  • Any clues in the system.log or installer.log? Or the "all meesages" log stream in the Console utility? How many GB free on your boot volume? – Spiff Apr 2 '17 at 17:07
  • Another thought: Use Disk Utility to run a First Aid pass on that volume, to make sure nothing is running afoul of some latent disk corruption. – Spiff Apr 2 '17 at 18:15
  • There's plenty of disk space free and nothing out of the ordinary in the console logs. I'll try running First Aid on the volume. – wrren Apr 18 '17 at 15:22
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With the installer running/open - Switching off file hiding will solve your problem.

Using Terminal, (apple+space ter[enter])

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

killall Finder (case sensitive)

Search for 'Sierra' in Applications (user & system)

  • Unfortunately this didn't work. It even appears as though the disk space allocated during the download is restored when the download completes; the file is actually being deleted. – wrren Apr 18 '17 at 15:21
  • Surely at the point of the Sierra Installer window appearing, It physically will not be able to delete itself, as it's open. Every time I have downloaded it from the App store it sits in ~/Applications on every machine I have tried. The file that you are looking for is 'Install macOS Sierra'. – JohnnyVegas Apr 29 '17 at 21:57
  • The installer window never opens. A file named 'macOS Sierra' appears in Application during the download and is then deleted as soon as it completes. – wrren May 3 '17 at 7:35
  • Create a new administrator user - login, then try downloading again. – JohnnyVegas May 3 '17 at 10:59

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