Downgrade and Format macOS version Made Simple

Downgrade and Format macOS

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Upgrading to the latest version of macOS is always alluring due to its abundance of new features and updates but once you go through the upgrade process, you may discover that your system is not functioning properly. Fortunately, you have the option to revert back to the previous macOS version you were using but downgrading is no longer as simple as it used to be. To help you with this, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to downgrade and format macOS to an earlier release version.

Before downgrade and format macOS

If you want to downgrade the macOS, you must delete all the data on your hard drive. To prevent the loss of valuable data, it is highly advisable to back up your entire hard drive to an external drive or cloud storage. It is always a good idea to back up your data because failures can occur at any time, regardless of the age of your Mac.

Determining macOS compatibility for your Mac

To find macOS builds that are compatible with your Mac, you need to determine your Mac model and its current OS version. This information will help you identify the latest macOS version that can be installed on your machine. Start by clicking on the Apple logo located at the top-left corner of your Mac. Then, select “About this Mac” from the dropdown menu. A dialog box will appear, providing details about your Mac’s model number, specifications and serial number. In this dialog box, you can also find the macOS build currently installed on your Mac.

Click on Apple logo on top left of the screen and select About This Mac
About This Mac info with macOS version and year build highlighted.

Once you have identified your Mac model, it’s time to explore the macOS versions that are compatible with it here:

macOS Compability for MacBooks

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Create a USB Bootable macOS Installer

We will guide you through the process of creating a bootable installer for the Mac operating system. This will enable you to install either the latest version or an older version of macOS. Start by downloading the macOS version of your choice:

macOS High Sierra 10.13 | macOS Mojave 10.14 | macOS Catalina 10.15

macOS Big Sur 11 | macOS Monterey 12 | macOS Ventura 13

Once you have downloaded the macOS installer and ensured that it is located in your Applications folder, you can proceed to use this free app to make it bootable.

Demo how to use Install Disk Creator

Install Disk Creator

This application allows you to create a bootable installer on your USB drive, eliminating the need for complex Terminal commands to make the installer bootable.

Downgrade and format macOS for Intel Based Macs

1️⃣ Turn off your Mac.

2️⃣ Turn on your Mac and simultaneously hold down the Option keys and when the Startup Manager appears, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight the USB drive and then press the Return key to select it.

3️⃣ Now you have the option to erase your current macOS system, delete partitions and reinstall macOS.

macOS Stilities for downgrade and format macOS

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Downgrade and format macOS for M Processor Macs

MacBook Air M1 Keyboard the power button highlighted to downgrade and format macOS

1️⃣ Turn off your Mac.

2️⃣ Press and hold the power button on your keyboard until the system volume and the Options button appear.

3️⃣ Click the Options button then click Continue. Now you have the option to erase your current macOS system.

Option selection on M processor Macs to downgrade and format macOS

Important note for Mac with T2 Security Chipset

All Mac models that feature the T2 security chip are set by default to a secure boot mode which does not allow the Mac to boot from external startup drives, here is the guide to enable it:

In Recovery Mode select Utilities menu and select Startup Security Utility from the options in the menu bar. When prompted, enter the admin password. Once you reach the Startup Security Utility screen, ensure that you tick the checkbox labeled “Allow booting from external media.” This will enable the Mac to boot from external drives.

macOS Startup Security Utility

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If you are unsure whether the Mac you are using is equipped with the T2 processor, you can verify this by accessing the System Information. Simply hold down the Option key while selecting the Apple menu. Instead of seeing “About this Mac,” you will now see “System Information.” Proceed by clicking on this option. In the window that appears, locate and click on “Controller” in the list on the left-hand side. If the Mac is equipped with a T2 chip, it will be indicated in this section.

macOS identified T2 security chip.

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Pro Tip

When performing macOS downgrades, installations or formatting on your iMac, it is advisable to have a wired USB keyboard on hand as a backup option in case the wireless connection fails, potentially leaving you stranded in the middle of the process.

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