How to Go Back to macOS Mojave from Catalina

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Did you update to macOS Catalina but then realized your Mac workflow has gotten work-shy? Don’t worry, you can still roll back to Mojave. 

Here you’ll see how to go back to macOS Mojave from Catalina and get things working for you. 

Before you jump into the train back to Mojave, you must make a backup of your system to safely get your files in the restoration process. So.

1. Back up your Mac with Time Machine in Catalina

Backup macOS Catalina with Time Machine

Mac provides an efficient backup tool called “Time machine” that’s inbuilt in the macOS. Time Machine can back up each file on your Mac’s drive to its backup drive. The saved file updates automatically when it’s modified which makes the backup a lot quicker, compared to the first backup. You can make Time Machine backups manually or automatically as well. See Apple’s guide on how to back up your Mac using Time Machine.

2. Save Private data

Going from macOS Catalina to an older version will wipe your hard disk completely. Things such as license keys, settings, include them. Therefore, it’s advised to note down all your important texts beforehand. You can use Apple notes for it, as it syncs across your devices. A good option also is using a password manager that allows you to sync across multiple devices, save your license codes and password-protect your data. If you have any customized setting take a screenshot and make sure you have them saved in cloud storages like dropbox, google drive, or an external drive.

Method no 1 Using Recovery

Reinstall macOS Mojave using Recovery in macOS Utilities in Catalina

This method works on Mac that came preinstalled with macOS Mojave or earlier. So, if you have an older Mac which previously ran macOS Mojave or prior. You can downgrade your macOS with macOS Recovery tool. For this method, you will require good internet service. And again, make sure to back up your files because your startup disk will be erased.

  1. Turn off Mac, and then press the power button. Immediately start holding Shift + Option + Command + R. It may take some time as macOS recovery loads.
  2. You’ll see macOS Utilities screen, click on “Reinstall macOS”, and then Continue.
  3. Select a startup disk then click “Install.” Follow the on-screen instructions until the process finalizes.
  4. After completion, you can restore your files from your backup.

Method no 2 Using a bootable Drive

Make bootable drive to downgrade from macOS Catalina to Mojave

If your Mac had macOS Mojave factory-installed or you backed up with Time Machine before updating to Catalina, you can skip this method.

1. Create a bootable drive of macOS Mojave

  1. Download Mojave here.
  2. After it’s finished downloading, close the software update. If it tries to install, cancel it.
  3. Learn to make a bootable installer here.

2. Uninstall macOS Catalina

  1. Connect to the internet on your Mac.
  2. Click on the Apple icon, and click Restart…As your mac powers on; press and hold Command+R to boot into Recovery mode.
  3. Click on Disk Utility in the macOS utility window
  4. Select your startup disk
  5. Choose Erase
  6. Quit Disk Utility

3. Install Mojave with the Bootable Drive

  1. Plug-in the installer disk.
  2. Go to Apple menu to restart, upon restarting hold down the Option key.
  3. The Mojave installation will start.
  4. As it finishes, the mac will restart and you’ll see Setup Assistant.
  5. The assistant will guide you to your Mojave.

Method no 3 Rollback from Catalina using a Time Machine backup

Roll back from Catalina to Mojave with Time Machine backup
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If you have a Time Machine backup of a macOS version older than Catalina, you skip the step to create a bootable drive ­– the Time Machine backup can help you downgrade to Mojave.

Make sure the entity holding your backup is connected on your computer, be it an external drive or network disk.

1. Uninstall macOS Catalina

  1. Connect your Mac to the internet.
  2. Click on the Apple icon and click Restart…
  3. As your mac powers on; press and hold Command+R to boot in Recovery mode.
  4. Click on Disk Utility in the macOS Utilities window
  5. Select your startup disk
  6. Press the Erase button
  7. Exit Disk Utility

2. Restore your Time Machine backup

  1. Go to the Disk Utility window again and select Restore from Time Machine backup.
  2. Now select the backup if it’s on an external disk or select Connect to Remote Disk if it’s on a network disk.
  3. Enter your username and password for the remote disk if asked.
  4. Select the date and time of the backup you want to restore from.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions.

Restore your settings

This is where Time Machine backup can seem a more comfortable option because unlike it, the bootable disk installation method will require you to re-install your apps and get your files from the Time Machine backup.

After completing the steps you will be successful in downgrading your macOS Catalina to Mojave! Well done!

If you have any questions or opinions please comment below.

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