How to Downgrade from macOS Sequoia to Sonoma [Step-By-Step]

Wendy Wu
Last updated: Jul 4, 2024

This post will introduce how to downgrade from macOS Sequoia to macOS Sonoma in 3 different ways. Read on to learn more!

Apple announced macOS Sequoia at WWDC on June 10, 2024. Many Mac users have already updated to macOS Sequoia developer beta as soon as the update is available.

However, some users encountered macOS Sequoia beta bugs and found it difficult to use.

Don't worry! This post will teach you 3 proven ways to downgrade macOS Sequoia to Sonoma.

How to Downgrade from macOS Sequoia to Sonoma

Downgrade macOS Sequoia to Sonoma Using Time Machine

Downgrading macOS Sequoia via Time Machine requires you to back up your Mac first. As backup is a time-consuming process, it is recommended that you clean up junk files, duplicate files, etc. first to speed up the backup process. To clean up your Mac and free up your Mac space quickly, you can try BuhoCleaner - a simple and easy-to-use Mac cleanup tool.

Time Machine is a useful built-in Mac backup tool. You can use Time Machine to back up your Mac and then restore the backup from Time Machine to downgrade macOS Sequoia.

Here's how to downgrade macOS Sequoia using Time Machine:

Step 1: Format the External Hard Drive

  1. Choose a suitable external hard drive to back up your Mac (approximately twice the capacity of your Mac).

  2. Format your external hard drive: Open Disk Utility via the Spotlight > Click on View > Show All Devices > Select the external hard drive you want to format in the sidebar > Click the Erase button.

    format external hard drive to APFS on Mac
  3. Click the Format drop-down menu and select a file system format compatible with your Mac:

    Apple File System (APFS): File system used by macOS 10.13 or later.

    Mac OS Extended Format: File system used by macOS 10.12 or earlier.

  4. Click Erase >Done.

Step 2: Back up your Mac with Time Machine

  1. Click Apple Menu > System Settings > General > Time Machine.
    Time Machine backup
  2. Click Add Backup Disk > Select the disk you formatted > Click "Setup" disk. The Time Machine will back up automatically without any other operation.

Step 3: Restore Backups from Time Machine

  1. Plug the external hard drive holding the Time Machine backups into your Mac.

  2. Restart your Mac in Recovery Mode.

    • For Macs with Apple silicon: Press and hold the Power button until you see the Startup option. Click Options > Continue.
    • For Intel-based Macs: Hold down Command + R at the same time until your Mac enters Recovery Mode.
  3. In the macOS Utilities window, click Restore from Time Machine Backup and then click the Continue button.

  4. Select the backup files you want to restore and follow the prompts.

Downgrade macOS Sequoia to Sonoma via macOS Recovery

Back up your Mac first before performing the downgrade action in case of data loss.

macOS Recovery allows you to reinstall macOS. You can reinstall your current macOS, the latest version of macOS compatible with your Mac, or the macOS that came with your Mac. Make sure your Mac is connected to the internet before you begin.

Here's how to downgrade macOS Sequoia to Sonoma via macOS Recovery:

  • For Intel-based Macs
  1. Restart your Mac.

  2. Start your Mac from Recovery Mode:

    Command + R: Reinstall the current macOS version.

    Command + Shift + Option + R: Install the macOS version that came with your Mac, or the closest version still available.

    Command + Option + R: Install the latest MacOS version compatible with your Mac.

  3. Click Reinstall macOS [name] in the macOS Utility window.

    Mac Recovery Mode
  4. Follow the instructions to reinstall macOS.

  • For Macs with Apple silicon
  1. Shut down your Mac completely.
  2. Press and hold the Power button on your Mac until you see the System Volume and Options buttons displayed.
  3. Click Options > Continue.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  5. Click Reinstall macOS [name] in the Recovery Mode window.
  6. Follow the instructions to reinstall macOS.
For Mac with Apple silicon, macOS Recovery will install the current macOS version that installed recently.

Downgrade macOS Sequoia to Sonoma via a Bootable Installer

This method is most suitable for those who have more than one Mac. Before downgrading macOS via this method, please check if your Mac is compatible with the macOS you are installing.

macOS Sonoma Support

macOS Ventura Support

macOS Monterey Support

In addition to the above two methods, you can also downgrade macOS Sequoia via a bootable installer. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Format the external hard drive

Open Disk Utility via Spotlight > Format your external hard drive in Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.

Step 2: Download the macOS installer you want to downgrade to from your browser or the App Store

macOS Sonoma 14

macOS Ventura 13

macOS Monterey 12

macOS Big Sur 11

Step 3: Create a bootable macOS installer

  1. Apple's official documentation mentions that a 32 GB USB flash drive is more than enough storage for any macOS installer, and 16 GB is enough for most earlier versions of macOS; Terminal will let you know if you need more space.
  2. MyVolume is the name of your external hard drive. Replace MyVolume with the name you set. In addition to macOS Sonoma, you can also learn more macOS-related commands.
  1. Connect the external hard drive to your Mac.
  2. Open the Terminal via Spotlight and enter the command:


sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ --volume /Volumes/MyVolume.

  1. Enter the administrator password and press Enter.
  2. Follow the prompts in the Terminal.

Step 4: Install macOS

  • For Macs with Apple silicon:

    1. Turn off your Mac.
    2. Connect the bootable drive to your Mac. (make sure your Mac has an internet connection)
    3. Turn your Mac on and continue to press and hold the Power button until you see the startup options window.
    4. Select the bootable installer and click Continue.
    5. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  • For other Macs:

    1. Turn off your Mac.
    2. Connect the bootable drive to your Mac. (make sure your Mac has an internet connection)
    3. Turn your Mac on and hold down the Option (Alt) key until the bootable volume displays.
    4. Select the bootable installation disk and click Continue.
    5. Select a bootable installer, then click the arrows or press the Return key.
    6. Select Install macOS in the Utilities window and click Continue.
    7. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Bonus: Optimize Mac Performance After Upgrading/Downgrading macOS

If you find that your Mac is running slowly or your Mac's performance has decreased after upgrading/downgrading macOS, take BuhoCleaner as your Mac's assistant.

Mac cleaner, performance monitor, disk space analyzer, etc. are all at your fingertip, helping improve your Mac's performance and speed up your Mac.

Here are the core features of this tool:

DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
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  1. Free up Mac space in minutes.
  2. Uninstall apps completely without leftovers.
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After finishing this post, are you clear on how to downgrade from Sequoia to Sonoma or an earlier version? Try any of these methods to roll back to Sonoma, Ventura, etc., now!

Wendy Wu is a tech enthusiast with a deep passion for all things iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Wendy is always on the lookout for Apple products and is committed to providing Apple users with some of the latest information and useful tips.