How to Downgrade MacOS Sierra Beta to OS X El Capitan
Some Mac users may wish to downgrade from MacOS Sierra Beta and revert back to OS X El Capitan, this is particularly common if you have found things to be less than stable or otherwise problematic and would like to return to a more stable operating system experience – a fairly common scenario for beta testers.
There are a few different ways to remove MacOS Sierra and return to OS X El Capitan, the three primary methods are as follows:
– If you followed our instructions to dual boot MacOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan than you can simply remove the macOS Sierra partition (you’ll want to manually copy any important files from the Sierra volume), which will make El Capitan the primary operating system again.
– Performing a clean install of OS X El Capitan which involves erasing the Mac drive and starting over fresh and then restoring from a backup afterwards (more time consuming and hands-on, primarily for advanced users)
– Reverting back to El Capitan by restoring from a backup made with Time Machine prior to installing macOS Sierra, which is what we’re going to focus on here.
Since this requires a Time Machine backup to restore EL Capitan and remove Mac OS Sierra, obviously this method will not work if you do not have a Time Machine backup made prior to installing Sierra.
Downgrading MacOS Sierra to OS X El Capitan with Time Machine
This will completely remove MacOS Sierra Beta from the computer and instead replace it with OS X El Capitan. If you have made any important changes or created new files while in Sierra, you’ll want to back those up separately, since Time Machine uses date based backups to recover the operating system and files.
- Attach the Time Machine drive to the Mac if you have not done so already
- Reboot the Mac and hold down the Command + R keys (or, if applicable you can boot from an OS X El Capitan boot disk with the Option key)
- At the “Utilities” screen, choose “Restore from Time Machine backup”
- Select the backup for OS X El Capitan (10.11.x) made prior to installing MacOS Sierra that you wish to revert back to, then click on “Continue”
- Choose the destination drive to restore, typically this is “Macintosh HD” unless you named your drive something else
- Let the Time Machine restore process complete which will remove macOS Sierra and restore the Mac back to OS X El Capitan
When the Mac reboots, it will be running OS X El Capitan and appear just as it was for the matching date from the last El Capitan backup. MacOS Sierra will be removed completely.
You can always upgrade to MacOS Sierra again at any time if desired, or you can stay on OS X El Capitan, whatever works for you and your Mac.