How to Downgrade macOS Ventura to Monterey, Big Sur, or Earlier

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Jerome Mills
Sep 30, 20215 min read

Summary: Looking for ways to downgrade macOS Ventura to Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, or High Sierra? Look no further. In this article, you will learn 3 ways to downgrade your macOS to an earlier version.

Like older macOS versions, macOS Ventura, the latest operating system on the Mac, comes with bugs and performance issues.

If you've upgraded to macOS Ventura but are disappointed with it and want to downgrade to Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina or earlier, you've come to the right place. Here in this article, you will find 3 ways to revert your macOS to an old version.

3 Ways to Downgrade macOS Ventura to Monterey, Big Sur, or Earlier

Back up Your Mac

Important things first, be sure to back up your Mac. When you reinstall macOS, all data on your Mac will be wiped. If you backed up things that are important to you, you can quickly restore them after reinstalling macOS.

How to Downgrade macOS Ventura Using Time Machine Backup

The easiest way to downgrade macOS is to use a Time Machine backup you created on your old macOS.

Here's what you should do:

  1. Insert the drive with the Time Machine backup file.
  2. Restart your Mac and immediately press and hold Command-R to enter macOS Recovery Mode. (On Apple Silicon Macs, press the Power button.)
  3. In the macOS Utilities window, select Restore from Time Machine Backup and click the Continue button.
  4. Select your Time Machine backup and click Continue.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions to install macOS.
Downgrade Monterey: Revert macOS with Time Machine Backup

How to Downgrade macOS Ventura with macOS Recovery

Alternatively, you can use macOS Recovery to downgrade your macOS. It allows you to reinstall your current macOS (Ventura). Or, you can even revert to the macOS that came with your Mac.

Here are the steps:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press the Power button, then immediately press one of the key combinations:
  • Command-R: Reinstall the current macOS.
  • Shift-Option-Command-R: Install macOS that came with your Mac, or the closest version still available.
  • Option-Command-R: Install the latest macOS compatible with your Mac.
  1. Follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS.
Downgrade Monterey: Reinstall macOS That Came with Your Mac
Notes
  1. The above steps are only applicable to Intel-based Macs.
  2. All your data will be erased. It is recommended that you back up your Mac before reverting to an old macOS.

How to Downgrade macOS Ventura Using a Bootable Installer

What if you don't have a Time Machine backup but still want to revert to an earlier macOS? Do not worry. We'll show you how to install a downgraded macOS using a bootable installer. This method is more complicated than the two methods mentioned above. To help you understand better, we've divided the steps into 4 main parts.

Part 1. Prepare an External Drive

You need an external drive of at least 14GB. Although the macOS installer is about 12GB, you'll still need some extra space to store your data.

There might be other files in your drive. Let's format it. (If you've already formatted the external drive, skip to Part 2.)

  1. Plug your hard drive into Mac.

  2. Open the Disk Utility app via Spotlight.

  3. Select your drive in the sidebar and click the Erase button at the top of the window.

    Downgrade Monterey: Erase External Drive
  4. Name your drive as MyVolume or whatever you like and choose a format your Mac supports from the Format drop-down menu. 

    • If your Mac uses HFS+, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
    • If your Mac uses APFS, choose APFS.
    Tip
    To check which format your Mac is using, open the Terminal app and type and run the command: diskutil info /.
  5. If the Scheme is available, select GUID Partition Map.

  6. Click the Erase button, then click Done.

Downgrade Monterey: Format External Drive

Part 2. Download macOS Installers

In most cases, macOS installers are kept in the Application folder.

Before downloading the macOS installer you want, check if your Mac is compatible with it.

Below are the download links for the different macOS versions. (Open them in Safari browser).

Part 3. Create Your Bootable Installer 

Now that you have prepared the external drive and macOS installer. Let's create your bootable installer.

  1. Connect your formatted hard drive to your Mac.

  2. Open the Terminal app.

  3. Run a command like below. (The command will vary depending on your version of macOS. Let's assume that the installer is located in your Applications folder and MyVolume is the name of your external drive. If your drive has a different name, replace "MyVolume" with the name of your external drive.)

    • Monterey: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Monterey.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
    • Big Sur: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
    • Catalina: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
    • Mojave: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
    • High Sierra: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
  4. Enter your password and hit Return again.

  5. Follow the instructions in Terminal.

  6. When you see Done, quit Terminal and eject your hard drive.

Downgrade Monterey: How to Create a Bootable Installer

Part 4. Install macOS with Your Bootable Installer

Finally, you're ready to install your macOS.

  1. Plug your hard drive into Mac. (Make sure you have an internet connection.)

  2. Click Apple menu > Restart.

  3. If you're using an Intel-based Mac, hold down the Option/Alt key until you see the Startup Manager window. If you're using an Apple Silicon Mac, hold the Power button while rebooting Mac.

  4. Click on your external drive to select it as your startup disk. Your Mac will start up in Recovery Mode.

  5. From macOS Utilities, select Disk Utility.

    Downgrade Monterey: Disk Utility macOS Recovery Mode
  6. Erase everything on your Mac and quit Disk Utility.

  7. Select Reinstall macOS > Continue.

  8. Follow the instructions to install your macOS with the bootable drive you created.

Read Also: How to Reset MacBook Pro/Air Without Losing Data

Bonus Tip: How to Speed up a Slow Mac

Mac running slow after upgrading to Ventura? Why not use BuhoCleaner to clean and optimize your macOS before downgrading it?

BuhoCleaner is one of the best Mac cleaning and optimization software. It comes with many useful features that can make your Mac run faster.

  1. Download, install, and launch BuhoCleaner.
  2. Scan and remove unneeded files from your Mac.
Clean and Speed up Mac with BuhoCleaner

Conclusion

Now that you know how to downgrade macOS Ventura to an older version, go and choose your preferred method to uninstall macOS.

If your macOS Ventura is not seriously affecting your work, it is recommended that you use BuhoCleaner to optimize it rather than downgrade it.

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