How to downgrade macOS

Usually, most macOS updates don’t cause any problems on your Mac. However, sometimes certain updates break features and cause your system to fail. If you’ve been the victim of such an issue, you may want to rollback the update on your Mac.

Even so, going back to your favorite old version of macOS isn’t easy. There is simply no option on a Mac that allows you to downgrade macOS to an older operating system version.

That’s not to say there isn’t a method to downgrade macOS on your Mac. There are several ways to help you rollback the update and get back to the version of macOS you were running before the update.

Downgrade macOS by restoring a time machine backup

If you’ve been a Mac user for a while, you probably already know what Time Machine backup is. It’s a full backup of your Mac containing all your files, apps, and even system files.

The great thing about Time Machine backup is that it also backs up your operating system. That means if you created a Time Machine backup before updating to the latest version of macOS, you can restore the backup and downgrade your Mac.

Restoring a backup will restore all the files, apps, and earlier versions of macOS that you had when you made the backup.

  • Turn off your Mac by clicking the Apple icon at the top and selecting Turn off.
Apple menu -> Shut Down…” class=”wp-image-7980″  /></figure>
</div>
<ul>
<li>Connect your Time Machine backup disk to your Mac and make sure it’s turned on.</li>
<li>Press the button <strong>Power</strong> on your Mac to turn it on.  Then immediately press and hold both <strong>Request</strong> and <strong>CHEAP</strong> simultaneous.  This will reboot you into Mac recovery mode.</li>
</ul>
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Command and R buttons highlighted on Apple Keyboard
  • A list of macOS Utilities will appear on your desktop. Click on the first one in the list that says Restore from a time machine backup to restore your backup.
macOS utility screen
  • You will be asked to select the disk where your backup will be saved. Select your disc from the list on the screen and click Continue to perform a backup restore.
Select a Power Restore window
Select the Backup window
  • Select your primary Mac drive on the following screen and press Restore. It will replace all content on your drive with those from your backup.
Select a Destination window

Restart your Mac when the backup is restored, and you’ll be back to the older version of macOS.

Downgrade macOS by installing an older version of macOS

If you did not create a Time Machine backup before updating to the latest macOS, you cannot use the above method. However, Time Machine isn’t the only way to downgrade your Mac version of macOS.

You can download and install a new version of your old macOS on your Mac. This will bring your machine to the operating system version you selected. Remember that this will erase all data on your Mac.

There are three stages to using this method.

Download Old Versions of macOS

Since you’ll be installing a fresh copy of macOS, you’ll need to download the entire operating system to your Mac first.

If you search the official Mac App Store as usual to find new versions of macOS, you will only be disappointed. That’s because, while the App Store has older versions of the operating system available for download, they don’t always show up in search results.

Your best option is to use the direct download links given below to get your preferred version of macOS for your Mac.

Once the file is downloaded, don’t open it right away. Move it to Applications folder using Finder.

Create a Bootable macOS USB Installer

You will now create a bootable USB installer for your selected version of macOS. You will use this USB to perform a fresh install of the operating system on your Mac.

  • Plug a 12GB or higher USB drive into your Mac. Make sure it has no content on it.
  • Open a Finder window and note down the name of your USB drive.
  • Click Launchers in the Dock, search Endand launch the app on your Mac.
Terminal in the search bar
  • When Terminal opens, enter one of the following commands that match your version of macOS and press enter. Guaranteed replacement MyVolume with the USB drive name you noted in step 2.

macOS Mojave:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia – volume /Volumes/MyVolume

macOS High Sierra:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia – volume /Volumes/MyVolume

macOS Sierra:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia – volume /Volumes/MyVolume – applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app

macOS El Capitan:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia – volume /Volumes/MyVolume – applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app
Terminal window
  • Enter your password when prompted and it will start creating your bootable USB installer.
  • Your USB drive is now ready and you can start downgrading your macOS.

Install an old version of macOS

What you will do is boot your Mac from the newly created bootable installer. It will then let you install your preferred version of macOS on your Mac.

  • Turn off your Mac.
  • Turn on your Mac and hold down Right to buy Key.
  • The Startup Manager will open on your desktop. Choose your USB drive to boot your Mac from.
Startup Manager screen
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to install macOS.
  • Your Mac will now be downgraded.

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