Apple has removed the $19.99 USD download fee associated with OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion, making them both free to download for the first time.
OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion, released in 2011 and 2012, respectively, are available at no charge. As Macworld reports, Lion runs on Macs that were launched before Apple released Mountain Lion in 2012, with the old OS versions not available for users of modern Macs.
To get Lion and Mountain Lion for free, you can visit the support documents for those OSes on Apple’s website:
It’s worth noting here that these older versions of the software are “available for older systems that are not compatible with the latest version of macOS.”
To run Mac OS X Lion, your Apple computer will need to have an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor, Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.6 or later already installed, 2GB RAM, and a minimum of 7GB available internal storage. Some features may require an Apple ID and an internet connection.
Meanwhile, to install Mac OS X Mountain Lion, users will require OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8, Lion 10.7 already installed, 2GB RAM, and 8GB internal storage. Again, some features could require an Apple ID and an internet connection, too.
Any Mac that shipped with Mac OS X Mavericks or newer are not compatible with these downloads, however, so that might be something worth keeping in mind. That also happens to be the release where Apple stopped charging for updates.