Q: What can I do to downgrade from macOS Catalina?
“Initially, I upgraded my MacBook to the newly released macOS Catalina, but it is causing a lot of issues. Some of my apps are not running and my Mac has never been slower. Can someone tell me how to downgrade from macOS Catalina to Mojave?”
This is a query posted on one of the leading Mac online forums about the possibility of downgrading macOS. While macOS Catalina is getting rave reviews, not every user is happy about it. If you are also facing unwanted issues with it, then you can just choose to downgrade macOS Catalina to a previous stable update. Don’t worry – it is pretty easy to downgrade from macOS Catalina. Simply read this stepwise tutorial on how to downgrade macOS Catalina and regain the full access to your system
From incompatible applications to a slow system – there could be different reasons for choosing to downgrade macOS Catalina. Here are some of these common issues:
It doesn’t matter what kind of situation you are in, you can easily downgrade macOS Catalina to a previous version. Although, Apple does not provide a direct method to do it, there are certain loopholes that we can exploit. Before you learn how to downgrade from macOS Catalina, prepare your system by following these steps:
First things first – make sure that you maintain a backup of your data as you might end up losing some files in the process. Also, if you wish to downgrade macOS Catalina using a previous Time Machine backup, then it is important to keep your existing files safe.
1.1 Back up data using Time Machine
Time Machine is the native application in Mac that is used to backup and restore our data. To use it, you can just attach an external hard drive with enough free space. If Time Machine won’t detect it automatically, then launch it by visiting Finder > Applications. Now, select a backup disk and start the process to create a Time Machine backup of your data.
1.2 Back up data by copying and pasting
If you don’t want to create a dedicated Time Machine backup, then you can simply copy and paste specific files as well. To do this, just attach any USB drive, hard drive, and any other external source. Now, go to the Finder and simply copy and paste the files you wish to save from Mac to the attached media.
If you wish to downgrade from macOS Catalina using a different startup disk, then you need to make this tweak on Mac settings. To do this, you can just go to Finder > Applications > Utilities and launch the Startup Security Utility application. From here, just enable the option to allow booting from external media. You need to enter the administrator account details to save these changes.
Lastly, you can just erase the Macintosh HD entirely to have a smooth process. This would get rid of the macOS Catalina components and you can easily restore files from a Time Machine backup. To do this, just go to Applications > Utilities and launch the Disk Utility tool. Select your Macintosh HD from the sidebar and click on the “Erase” option from the toolbar. Confirm your choice and select the file system and partition table option for the formatting.
There are different ways to learn how to downgrade from macOS Catalina that you can try. For your convenience, I have listed three ways to downgrade from macOS Catalina that you can opt depending on your system. We have started from the basics and have gradually moved to complex solutions.
If you have already maintained a Time Machine backup when your device was running macOS Mojave, then you won’t face any trouble downgrading from macOS Catalina. For this, we will take the assistance of macOS Utilities and will restore the system from an existing Time Machine backup. Beforehand, just make sure that you have already saved your existing data from your Mac. To downgrade macOS Catalina from a Time Machine backup, follow these steps:
If your Mac did not come pre-installed with macOS Catalina, then you can also try this trick. In this, we will first boot Mac into a recovery mode and will choose to reinstall macOS. This will automatically install the default version of macOS that came pre-installed on your system when you initially purchased it. For instance, if your system was running macOS Mojave initially, then it would just downgrade from macOS Catalina to macOS Mojave.
Lastly, you can do a clean installation of another macOS version by creating a bootable media. For this, you would need an installer package for a previous macOS version. You can go to the Mac’s App Store for this, use any third-party web source, or download it by using someone else’s Mac that is still running on an older macOS version. Once you have the installer of the desired macOS version ready, follow these steps to downgrade macOS Catalina.
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/External --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app
That’s it! You can now follow a simple wizard to downgrade macOS Catalina to a previous macOS version instead.
Too many times, while downgrading from a macOS version (like macOS Catalina), users end up losing their data. For instance, you would have forgotten to take a backup of your data before or would have formatted a drive by mistake. As you can see, in order to reinstall macOS, the startup disk has to be formatted. If you have not saved your data before, then you might end up losing it. Don’t worry – you can still get it back by using a reliable data recovery tool like Recoverit Data Recovery.
Developed by Wondershare, it is known for its high recovery rate and an intuitive user interface. It can recover lost data under all scenarios like a formatted disk, accidental deletion, malware attack, and so on. It supports every major Mac version and all the file systems like APFS, NTFS, HFS+, and more. To recover your lost files from a Mac using Recoverit, follow these steps:
Step 1: Select a location to scan
Firstly, you can launch Recoverit on your Mac and from its home, select a location to scan. It can be an entire drive, a partition, or selected folders as well. You can also perform data recovery on external devices too.
Step 2: Scan the selected location
Simply wait for a few minutes as Recoverit would scan the location and will extract the lost or deleted data. If you want, you can even halt or resume the process whenever you want.
Step 3: Restore your data
When the process is completed, all the extracted files will be listed under different sections. You can preview your data, select multiple files, and save them to any location by clicking on the “Recover” button.
This brings us to the end of this guide on how to downgrade macOS Catalina to a previously stable macOS version. For your convenience, I have listed a stepwise tutorial with three solutions to downgrade macOS Catalina and all the prerequisites. Apart from that, you can also keep a data recovery tool like Recoverit handy. A highly secure recovery application, it will help you instantly whenever you would suffer from an unexpected data loss on your Mac the next time.