How To Downgrade macOS.
Usually, most macOS updates won’t cause problems on your Mac. However, there are times when certain updates break features and make your system glitchy. If you are the victim of such an issue, you might want to rollback the update on your Mac.
Going back to your favorite old macOS version isn’t easy, however. There simply isn’t an option on your Mac to downgrade macOS to an older version of the operating system.
This does not mean that there is no way to downgrade macOS at all on your Mac. There are actually several ways to help you rollback the update and revert to the version of macOS you were using before the machine was updated.
Downgrade macOS by restoring a Time Machine backup
If you’ve been using a Mac for a while, you probably already know what a Time Machine backup is. This is a complete backup of your Mac containing all your files, applications, and even system files.
The great thing about Time Machine backup is that it also backs up your operating system. This means that if you created a Time Machine backup before upgrading to the latest macOS, you can restore the backup and upgrade to an earlier Mac.
Restoring a backup restores all your files, applications, and the old version of macOS that you had when you backed up.
- Shut down your Mac by clicking the Apple logo at the top and selecting Shut Down.
- Connect your Time Machine backup drive to your Mac and make sure it’s turned on.
- Press the power button on your Mac to turn it on. Then immediately press and hold the Command and R buttons at the same time. This will take you to Mac Recovery Mode.
- A list of macOS utilities will appear on the screen. Click on the first “Restore from Time Machine Backup” button in the list to restore the backup.
- You will be prompted to select the drive where the backup will be saved. Select your drive from the list on the screen and click Continue to continue restoring the backup.
- On the next screen, you will see the backups available on the drive you selected. You will also see the macOS version for each of your backups, so you know exactly which version of macOS you’re upgrading to on your Mac.
Select a backup and click “Continue”.
- Select your primary Mac drive on the next screen and click “Recover”. It will replace all content on your disk with the content from the backup.
Reboot your Mac when the backup is restored and you are back to an older version of macOS.
Downgrade of macOS by installing an older version of macOS
If you haven’t backed up Time Machine before updating to the latest macOS, you won’t be able to use the method above. Time Machine isn’t the only way to downgrade macOS on your Mac, however.
In fact, you can download and install a fresh version of the old macOS on your Mac. Your computer will have the version of the operating system you selected. Keep in mind that this will erase all data on your Mac.
This method can be used in three steps.
Download old macOS
Since you are installing a fresh copy of macOS, you need to download the entire operating system to your Mac first.
If you, as usual, search the official Mac App Store for new versions of macOS, you will only be disappointed. The reason is that while there are older versions of the operating system available for download on the App Store, they don’t always show up in search results.
It is best to use the direct download links below to get your preferred macOS version for your Mac.
When the file is downloaded, don’t open it yet. Move it to your Applications folder using Finder.
Create a bootable macOS USB installer
You will now create a bootable USB installer for the macOS version of your choice. You will use this USB drive to re-install the operating system on your Mac.
- Connect a 12GB or larger USB drive to your Mac. Make sure there is no content on it.
- Open a Finder window and note down the volume name of your USB drive.
- Click Launchpad in the Dock, find Terminal and launch the application on your Mac.
- When Terminal opens, type one of the following commands appropriate for your version of macOS and press Enter. Remember to replace MyVolume with the name of the USB drive you wrote down in step 2.
sudo / Applications / Install macOS Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume / Volumes / MyVolume
sudo / Applications / Install macOS High Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume / Volumes / MyVolume
sudo / Applications / Install macOS Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume / Volumes / MyVolume –applicationpath / Applications / Install macOS Sierra.app
sudo / Applications / Install OS X El Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume / Volumes / MyVolume –applicationpath / Applications / Install OS X El Capitan.app
- When prompted, enter your password and it will start creating a bootable USB installer.
- The USB stick should now be ready and you can start downgrading macOS.
Install an old version of macOS
What you need to do is boot your Mac using the bootable installer you just created. It will then let you install your preferred macOS version on your Mac.
- Shut down your Mac.
- Turn on your Mac and hold down the Option key.
- The Launch Manager will open on your screen. Select the USB drive to boot your Mac from.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to install macOS.
- Your Mac should now be downgraded.