How to downgrade from macOS Sonoma to an older version

Not everyone likes macOS Sonoma (the latest version of macOS) and there are many reasons why you might want to roll back to an older version. For example, the latest macOS may be missing key features you previously enjoyed, or it may have compatibility issues with your apps.

There are a few ways to uninstall the latest version of macOS and downgrade to an older version, and we’ll tell you about them in this guide. However, before you begin, you need to do something very important: Back up your Mac.

For one thing, it will get you out of a sticky situation if something goes wrong. That said, some of the methods we’re discussing in this article involve either erasing your Mac’s drive or rolling back to an earlier time. In both cases, you may lose recent files. To prevent this from happening, save your files in a separate location, whether it’s on the cloud or on one of the best external hard drives.

Now that you’ve done this, you also need to know which versions of macOS your Mac can run. As a rule, it is unlikely that it will be able to run a version of macOS older than the one that was installed when you purchased your Mac. However, it’s fine to restore anything that came out within a few years of your Mac’s release.

After all that is done, let’s get started.

Apple's Craig Federighi introduced new features in macOS Sonoma at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2023.


Method 1: Restore from an old Time Machine backup

step 1: Before we begin, note that restoring from a Time Machine backup will mean you’ll lose any data created after the backup, so make sure you have new documents saved somewhere on a different Mac, external drive, or cloud storage. went.

step 2: Restart your Mac in recovery mode. To do this, turn off your Mac, then turn it on on Apple Silicon Macs press and hold the power button Until you see the message “Loading Startup Options.” On an Intel Mac, turn on your Mac and immediately press cmd+r Stick together until you see the Apple logo.

step 3: choose Options > Continue And wait for the progress bar to fill. Log in with an admin account, then select Restore from Time Machine > Continue > Continue,

step 4: Select a backup from before you upgraded to macOS Sonoma (i.e. a backup from macOS Ventura or earlier). choose now continue And let your Mac restore from the backup. You’ll install the older macOS version as part of the backup restore process on your Mac.

A 2019 Apple iMac is placed on a desk.  It has macOS Mojave operating system on its display.

Dan Baker/

Method 2: Run the Bootable Installer

step 1: Apple still makes older versions of macOS available on the App Store. You can download it, load it onto a USB drive, and install from there. However, this method requires using Terminal and erasing your Mac’s SSD, so make sure you’ve backed up your files somewhere (and are comfortable using Terminal) before you begin.

step 2: Download the version of macOS you want from the App Store using one of the following links: * macOS Ventura * macOS Monterey * macOS Big Sur * macOS Catalina * macOS Mojave

step 3: In this example, we are going to use macOS Ventura. When it’s downloaded, don’t run the installer. Instead, open your Applications folder in Finder and check that the installer is there.

step 4: Plug the USB drive into your Mac. You need to make sure that it has enough space for the installer and that it is completely empty before beginning. Name the drive “macOS Installer” or something memorable.

A terminal window in macOS Sonoma showing how to create a USB installer for macOS.

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Step 5: Open the Terminal app on your Mac and type the following commands: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ –volume /Volumes/MyDrive

Replace “” with the name of the installer file, and “MyDrive” with the name of your USB drive. When you’re finished, press return, You can close the terminal when the process is finished.

Step 6: Now open Settings app and select General , startup diskThen select the USB drive that has the macOS installer on it.

Step 7: Shut down your Mac and boot into recovery mode press and hold the power button Press and hold until you see “Loading Startup Options” (on Apple Silicon Macs), or cmd+r As soon as you start your Mac (on Intel Macs).

Step 8: choose now Option , continue, Log in with admin account, then click disk Utility , continue, From here, select your Mac’s startup disk and select erase, This will delete everything on the drive, so this is your last chance to make sure your files are safely backed up. Wait for the process to finish, then click disk Utility , close disk utility From the menu bar.

Step 9: choose now Reinstall macOS From the menu and follow the on-screen instructions.

MacBook Air M2 screen.
Apple MacBook Air M2

Luke Larson/

Method 3: Restore your Mac to the operating system it shipped with (Intel only)

step 1: If your Mac was running an older version of macOS when you bought it, you can revert it to that version. Note that this only works on Intel Macs, so if your Mac has an M-series Apple Silicon chip inside, this method won’t work.

step 2: Shut down your Mac, then restart it and immediately hold shift+opt+cmd+r Together.

step 3: Once the recovery screen loads, select Reinstall macOS > Continue And follow the on-screen instructions. Then select your startup disk and click to install,

step 4: Wait for it to finish installing the version of macOS that came with your Mac.

Now that you’ve managed to downgrade from macOS Sonoma to an older version of Apple’s Mac operating system, you should be good to go. If you ever want to upgrade to the latest version, you can either download the installer from the App Store or open the Settings app and select General , software update And install the update from there.

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