Steps to Install Older System Versions on Mac — 2022

It is a reality that any operating system can have some kind of bug, and macOS is not exempt from this. On certain occasions, a new update can be installed on the Mac that ends up generating some kind of problem that hinders the user experience. That is why in some cases it is advisable to return to a previous version of macOS while waiting for Apple to fix the problems in recent versions. We tell you in this article how you can do it.

Advantages and disadvantages you face

Like everything in life, there is nothing that is one hundred percent good, but neither is it bad. Returning your Mac to a previous version of the operating system does not get rid of this and although it has some advantages like the ones we mentioned earlier in reference to bugs, it also has its weaknesses. In the following sections we tell you more about it.

Positive aspects of going back to previous versions

  • It's about a completely legal process . And it is that going from a version of the current system to a previous one is something that even Apple itself contemplates. Therefore, do not be afraid to do it, since you will not be hacking the computer or anything similar, despite the fact that the company always recommends having it as updated as possible.
  • goodbye to bugsthat you are suffering in newer versions. These will probably be resolved in future updates, but rolling back to a previous version already makes sure they're gone. Although this also has a counterpart that we will tell you about in the disadvantages section.
  • Going back to a previous version will allow you use apps that are not compatible with recent versions , either due to lack of updates to it or because the developer does not allow it to be used in newer versions for any other reason.
  • pure nostalgiait's what you'll feel if you go back to a previous version. It may not be the most compelling reason in this matter, but if you haven't used a version like the one you're going to install in years, it will probably bring back good memories to have it on your Mac again.

Risks you face in doing so

    you will lose datathat are not synced with iCloud. Applications, folders, photos, videos, text documents... Therefore, it is recommended that you save the most important ones on an external storage disk or in the cloud to be able to recover them later. Goodbye to your settingsand it is that when installing a previous version it is likely that you will have to configure everything from scratch if you did not have a previous copy, so the settings that you have changed in System Preferences will be lost. It's not too complicated then to redo this, but you'll have to go one by one and this is always tedious.

macOS System Preferences



  • Contrary to apps that don't update, you may come across programs that might be incompatible if they have stopped supporting the version of macOS you have installed. In addition to that you will lose the settings that you have also configured in them.
  • You lose visual and functional noveltiesthat have been implemented in the system later. Maybe it compensates you or you don't give it some importance, but if you were already used to them it could mean taking a step back and losing options that you only have in the current version. The Mac will be less secure, given that the Cupertino company always provides security patches in each new version to cover the vulnerabilities of the computer against possible malware. Going back to a previous version also loses this and could expose your computer to possible vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals. there are also bugsin these versions. And you may not have some bugs from those versions in your memory, but they may show up now. In fact, it is even likely that others will appear that had not even been reported in their day, so you are not sure that the Mac will work as well as you expect.

Before installing old versions

As in many other situations when performing an installation, you have to take into account different important aspects to avoid blunders while you are installing, since it could end up causing a serious error in the software.

Keep battery recharged

When a new version of the operating system is being installed, whatever it may be, the computer is going to suffer since it will be necessary to release the power of the processor and also of the storage units. This is also mainly due to the fact that different files have to be rewritten, which translates into greater battery consumption. Depending on its state, it may end up suffering too much and it may even turn off the device completely. Obviously when you are in an installation the last thing to do is to shut down or restart the computer.

In this case, what we always recommend is to keep the computer constantly connected to the power supply. In this way you will always ensure that you do not have problems with restarts or shutdowns, which is not recommended at all. This will ensure that you have the best possible experience in this situation.

Make a backup

This is something that we have repeated on many occasions when performing an update or restoring the operating system. It should be noted that anything can happen, and you should never trust in these cases. Any problem during the process can force you to reinstall the entire operating system from scratch and in this way you will lose all the data if you do not have any backup. Or if you trust yourself, you may end up with an outdated backup that is useless to you in the end.

That is why in these situations we recommend you always have a backup of your data through Time Machine. And of course, it is important to keep the information as up-to-date as possible to prevent it from being completely out of date. That is why before starting the process you should always choose to have it completely updated, connecting the storage unit beforehand.

Methods to install old macOS

First of all, tell you that it is important that check that your Mac is compatible with the version you are going to install. It is easy to think that anyone can install it, but it is not. Depending on the year your device was released, it will be compatible with one version or another. If, for example, your Mac originally came with macOS 10.13, you will be able to install 10.14, 10.15, 11, 12 (...), but you will not be able to install 10.12.

Another aspect that you should know is that there are two official methods with which to carry out a restoration of the operating system of your Mac to install a previous version. In the following sections we will explain it in detail, any of the options being fully valid for your task.

Using Time Machine

We've always emphasized how important it is to back up your files before upgrading, and it's times like these that it comes in handy. One of the ways you have to return to a previous version in a really simple way is through these backups. The native program that performs these backups is Time Machine , using an external disk that you yourself must have connected to the Mac to store and manage all these backups. That is why in the different copies that you have, you can rescue the previous version of macOS.

You should keep in mind that there will be some data that if you lose , these being the ones you have stored after updating. Once you know this and have considered it, you simply have to follow these steps:

  1. Completely shut down the Mac.
  2. Turn it back on and the moment you hit the button hold down Command + R simultaneously. You should keep pressing them until the Apple logo appears.
  3. You will have entered the system recovery mode and, among the different options that you will find, you must select the Restore from a Time Machine backup .
    macOS Recovery Utilities
  4. Choose the Time Machine backup disk.
  5. All backups included on the disk will appear. You must choose the one that took place before performing the operating system update.
  6. Follow all the installation instructions that will appear on the screen.

Once this process is done, you will return to the version that you had previously installed on your Mac with all its files and other settings that you had. Now you will have to import those that you have edited after the update. In this way you can wait for Apple to release a more stable version and cross your fingers so that the installation does not pose a problem. As you will see, when it is said that previous backups are important, it is not to say, but that they can save you from some serious problems.

Via the Mac App Store

If you search the App Store on your Mac you can find the 'hidden' access to the different versions of the operating systems. When you do a big software upgrade, like upgrading from High Sierra to Catalina or something else, you may long for the old version. That's why if you want to take a giant step back with your Mac's software, you just have to search the App Store the downloadable file. Unfortunately in the search engine you will not be able to put 'macOS High Sierra' for example, since nothing will come up. You have to enter through the link that we leave you below:

Download macOS Big Sur Download macOS Catalina Download macOS Mojave Download macOS High Sierra Download macOS Sierra Download OS X El Capitan

About previous versions: some like OS X Yosemite and earlier are no longer available for download through Apple's official methods, having to resort to other methods that are not guaranteed to be efficient and could end up being too problematic.

Accessing some of these links to older versions of software will open a window in the Mac App Store. Here you must download the installer in the usual way to be able to run it later and perform the installation. But, obviously, Apple puts some obstacles to installing old versions of the software. One of these could be that the installer is corrupted, something that is usually fixed by changing the general date of the Mac to go back in time.

Widgets macOS

Errors during the process

Although it is not usual, it is possible that some type of problem may arise in this process that we have not previously commented on. Although these are methods that, as we said before, are completely legal, they are not exempt from causing some problems because they are complex in the end and that Apple does not recommend doing as a general rule. And although it sounds too simple, in the end the best advice in this section is to try again following the same steps.

A recommendation that we can make you in this aspect, being a desperate solution , is to completely erase the contents of the storage disk and reinstall macOS later. If from the beginning you can put one of the old versions, great, otherwise you will have to configure the Mac with the most recent version and then follow the steps mentioned. On this occasion, problems should not appear.

Is it possible to later install recent versions?

Completely. Once you have done this downgrade, it is perfectly possible to install the version that you had installed before and that is more recent or any other intermediate that may exist, as well as the one that is officially the latest. The steps to follow if you want to have the latest version are the same as you would follow to update your Mac normally, by going to System Preferences > Software Update or the App Store > Updates if the version you installed is macOS 10.13 or earlier.