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

Jerome Peng
Last updated: Jul 18, 2023

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 aren't happy with it and want to go back to Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, or a previous version, you're in the right spot. In this article, you'll discover three methods to roll back your macOS to an older version.

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

Back Up Your Mac

First things first, make sure to back up your Mac. When you reinstall macOS, all the data on your Mac will be erased. If you have backed up important files, you can easily restore them after the reinstallation of 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 to your Mac.
  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.
Note
Attempting to restore a Time Machine backup created on a newer macOS to an older macOS may not work properly, and it could lead to compatibility issues or data loss.
Downgrade Monterey: Revert macOS with Time Machine Backup

Related: How to Upgrade to macOS Sonoma on Your MacBook Pro/Air/iMac

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. You cannot roll back to any version using the Reinstall macOS option.
  3. All your data will be erased. It is recommended that you back up your Mac before reverting to an older macOS.

How to Downgrade macOS Ventura Using a Bootable Installer

What if you don't have a Time Machine backup but still wish to revert to a previous macOS? No need to worry. We'll guide you on installing a downgraded macOS using a bootable installer. This method is more complex compared to the two methods mentioned earlier. To assist you in better comprehension, we have divided the steps into four main parts.

Part 1. Prepare an External Drive

You'll need an external drive with a capacity of at least 14GB. Although the macOS installer itself is about 12GB, it's recommended to have some extra space for storing your data.

It's possible that there are existing files on your drive. Let's format it. (If you've already formatted the external drive, you can proceed to Part 2.)

  1. Plug your hard drive into your Mac.

  2. Open the Disk Utility app via Spotlight.

  3. Select your drive in the sidebar and click the Erase button in the toolbar.

    Downgrade Monterey: Erase External Drive
  4. Name your drive as MyVolume or whatever you like and choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format.

  5. If the Scheme is available, select GUID Partition Map.

  6. Click the Erase button, then click Done.

Downgrade Monterey: Format External Drive
Tip
APFS disks may not be used as bootable install media.

Part 2. Download the macOS Installer

In most cases, macOS installers are stored in the Applications folder.

Before downloading the macOS installer of your choice, make sure to check if your Mac is compatible with it.

Here are the download links for different macOS versions. Please open them in the Safari browser:

Tip
To download the macOS installer you desire, make sure to use a Mac that is compatible with that particular macOS version.

Part 3. Create Your Bootable Installer 

Now that you have the external drive prepared and the macOS installer ready, let's proceed with creating your bootable installer.

  1. Connect your formatted hard drive to your Mac.

  2. Open the Terminal app.

  3. Run a command similar to the following. (The specific command may vary depending on your macOS version. 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.)

    • Ventura: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Ventura.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
    • 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. Once you see a message stating "Install media now available at 'XXX'," you can quit Terminal.

Downgrade Monterey: How to Create a Bootable Installer

Part 4. Install macOS with Your Bootable Installer

Finally, you're all set to install your macOS.

  1. Connect your hard drive to your Mac. (Ensure you have an internet connection.)

  2. Click on the Apple menu and choose Shut Down.

  3. For Intel-based Macs, hold down the Option/Alt key until the Startup Manager window appears. For Apple Silicon Macs, hold the Power button while rebooting the Mac.

  4. Select your external drive from the list to set it as the startup disk. Your Mac will boot into Recovery Mode.

  5. In the macOS Utilities, choose Disk Utility.

    Downgrade Monterey: Disk Utility macOS Recovery Mode
  6. Use Disk Utility to erase all data on your Mac and then quit Disk Utility.

  7. Select Reinstall macOS > Continue.

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

Tip
If you need to move data or settings from a newer macOS to an older one, you might consider manual data migration or transferring specific files rather than relying on a Time Machine backup.

Bonus Tip: How to Speed Up a Slow Mac

Is your Mac running slow after upgrading to Ventura? Why not consider using BuhoCleaner to clean and optimize your macOS before proceeding with the downgrade?

BuhoCleaner is highly regarded as one of the best Mac cleaning and optimization software available. It offers a range of useful features that can significantly improve the performance and speed of your Mac.

DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
100,000+ Satisfied Users Worldwide
  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 have learned how to downgrade macOS Ventura to an older version, you can choose your preferred method to uninstall macOS.

If your macOS Ventura is not severely impacting your work, it is advisable to consider using BuhoCleaner to optimize it instead of downgrading it.

Jerome is a passionate enthusiast of all things Apple. He is expertise in crafting tech-related articles, with a portfolio of more than 100 articles covering various Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.