How to Downgrade macOS Big Sur to Catalina or Mojave
Did you update to macOS Big Sur but now wish you hadn’t? Are you no longer interested in using macOS Big Sur on your Mac? Perhaps you installed it to try out all new features and changes, but you’re not happy with it due to app incompatibility, performance issues, or some other problem that you haven’t been able to resolve. In that case, you may be looking to downgrade to an older version of macOS, like macOS Catalina or macOS Mojave. Fortunately, this is not a difficult task, so long as you make regular Time Machine backups of your computer.
Early adopters of macOS Big Sur or any major macOS software update in general would sometimes regret updating their device and may want to roll back to the older version that was installed. The easiest way to downgrade from macOS Big Sur is by formatting your Mac and then restoring it from a Time Machine backup that was made prior to the installation of macOS Big Sur.
Looking to roll back the software on your Mac to an older version? We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll be guiding you through the steps to properly downgrade your Mac from macOS Big Sur to macOS Catalina or Mojave.
How to Downgrade macOS Big Sur to Catalina or Mojave
Warning: Before you go ahead with any of the steps below, make sure you already have a Time Machine backup that was made prior to installing macOS Big Sur. If you don’t have a backup, you will not be able to downgrade, and doing this will simply result in permanent loss of data since you’ll be formatting or erasing your drive during the process.
Apart from that, if you have any important data or files that you created after updating to macOS Big Sur, you’ll need to manually transfer them to an external drive since this data won’t be restored from the Time Machine backup. Once again, do not proceed if you don’t have a backup.
- First of all, connect the Time Machine drive to your Mac. This drive should contain the backup of your Mac that was made prior to macOS Big Sur installation. You’ll be restoring your data from this drive.
- Now, reboot or restart your Mac. To do this, click on the Apple logo from the menu bar and choose “Restart” from the dropdown menu.\
- When your Mac reboots, immediately press and hold down the Command + R keys to boot your Mac into Recovery mode.
- Doing this will take you to the macOS Utilities screen. Here, click on “Disk Utility” to get started.
- Now, select the disk drive where macOS Big Sur is currently installed from the left pane and click on “Erase” as shown in the screenshot below.
- This will bring up the format options for the drive. Enter a preferred name for the drive and then choose the file system format as either “Apple File System (APFS)” (if you’re using a Mac with Solid State Drive) or “Mac OS Extended Journaled (HFS+)” (for Macs with mechanical and hybrid hard drives). Now, click “Erase” to confirm and format your Mac – THIS ERASES ALL DATA ON THE DRIVE, so don’t do it unless you’re absolutely sure that you have a backup!
- Once the drive is successfully formatted, you’ll see the following screen. Click on “Done” and exit Disk Utility.
- Next, choose “Restore from Time Machine” from the macOS Utilities menu.
- You’ll be shown a brief description of this procedure. Click on “Continue”.
- Now, your Mac will start searching for available backups. Choose the Time Machine drive that’s connected to your Mac as the Restore Source and click on “Continue”.
- In the “Select a Backup” screen, choose the most recent backup from the macOS version you want to downgrade to. Next, select the name of the destination drive to restore the Time Machine backup of macOS to. This should be the same drive that we just formatted completely in Step 7. Now, click “Restore” to begin restoring the Time Machine backup to the selected drive.
That’s it. Now, you just need to patiently wait until the whole process is complete.
Depending on the speed of your Mac’s hard drives and the size of the backup, the restoration and downgrade process could take a while.
Once the restoration is finished, the Mac will automatically restart and boot directly into the macOS version that was running when the selected Time Machine backup was made. For instance, if the Time Machine backup was made when macOS Catalina was installed, your Mac will reboot into macOS Catalina after restoration, and it will be as you left off the last time using Catalina.
Although we were obviously focusing on downgrading from macOS Big Sur in this article, these exact steps can be used to downgrade from any version of macOS. The only requirement is that you need to have a Time Machine backup of your data with the macOS version you’re looking to downgrade to.
This isn’t the only way to downgrade the software on your Mac. You can make use of the internet recovery method which installs the macOS version that shipped with the Mac, and then clean installing a prior macOS release. Don’t forget that you’ll still need a backup of your data to avoid losing your important files, apps, documents, and other personal data.
We hope you were able to successfully downgrade from macOS Big Sur to macOS Catalina or Mojave without any hassle. What are your reasons for not wanting to use macOS Big Sur? Did you use a different approach, or do you know any other methods to downgrade your Mac? Let us know your valuable thoughts and share your experiences in the comments section down below.