How to Downgrade from Big Sur to Catalina

Need to downgrade your Mac OS? Here are 3 ways to do it.
00:00 Info
00:26 Backup User Folder
00:44 Time Machine Downgrade
01:26 Recovery Partition Downgrade
02:34 Create Bootable USB Drive with Desired macOS for Downgrade
04:23 Modify T2 Mac Security To Allow for External Disk Booting
05:10 Reboot to Bootable USB Drive
05:33 Open Disk Utility and Wipe Drive
06:10 Install MacOS
06:50 Copy Back User Files

OPTION 1: Time Machine Backup Downgrade
You Have a Time Machine Backup of the Previous macOS you want to go back to. Please Note: You must manually backup all new files you created on Big Sur to an external drive before proceeding with a Time Machine Restore.
How to Restore with Time Machine Backup with Previous MacOS:
1. Reboot into Recovery by holding Command + R on Startup
2. Choose Time Machine Backup and Select the Backup to restore from.

OPTION 2: Recovery Partition Downgrade
Boot to Recovery Partition – Options Below:
Command + R
Reinstall the latest macOS that was installed on your Mac (recommended).

Option + Command + R
Upgrade to the latest macOS that is compatible with your Mac.

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

OPTION 3: Create Bootable USB Drive with Desired macOS Downgrade
You have no Time Machine Backup. Copy User Files off to an external drive. Please Note: All Apps and Files will be wiped with this process, so make sure to backup what you can.
1. Make note of all your Apps (Take A Pic of Apps Folder) and Copy any Serial Numbers or Required Info from within the App.
2. Copy whole User Folder to External Drive. Some Apps can be copied this way as well, but I prefer to reinstall all apps.
3. Download the MacOS you want to go back to.
4. Create Bootable macOS Installer Media.
5. Reboot into Recovery by holding Command + R on Startup
* T2 Macs will require modifying the Security to allow booting to older macOS.
6. Boot to External Drive – Choose Disk Utility and Wipe the Root Drive
7. Install macOS Catalina
8. Restore User Files and ReInstall Apps

How to Downgrade from Big Sur to Catalina

Catalina – App Store Download Link

Mojave – App Store Download Link

High Sierra – App Store Download Link

Sierra – DMG Download Link

El Capitan – DMG Download Link

Yosemite – DMG Download Link

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Swift Goose


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  1. 2:01 You save my life, thanks.

  2. Thank you so much man 👍🏻

  3. I dont why i cannot find catalina on app store

  4. Does this work with big sur already pre installed? I want Catalina

  5. i don’t have another drive and I wanted to try 2:01

  6. Hi, Is anyone have trouble with download Catalina from the app store? I tried to download it but it keeps stating that the "update not found"

  7. So for the recovery partition downgrade. If I send my user folder to an external hard drive and do the installation for the OS that came on my Mac, after it's complete do I just drag my user folder back where it belongs? If so will all my apps/folders still be in place or do I have to reinstall a lot of my apps?

  8. Hi, this was really helpful. I still have the 'Update' Volume appearing on my desktop after each reboot, if I open Disk Utility I have three volumes appearing on the internal NvMe drive – OS, Data and Update. How do I get rid of the Update Volume? Thank you.

  9. Big sir is a menace I just want to play 32 bit games 🙁

  10. Perfect, Thank you!

  11. when i press erase, utility disk do nothing! tried everything. thanks

  12. Dang , ‘ Big Sur’. 😠 laptop 💻 keeps sticking. Ugh 😩. And slow.

  13. 4:23 saved me, thank you

  14. Did Option 2 with trying to downgrade to the macOS version i bought my MacBook with. But every time i try to install it, it displays me, that i can't install it. Please help, macOS Big Sur 11.4 is casuing so much problems…

  15. ok so im reinstalling with the 2nd option but im not getting a drive to install it to. what do i do?

  16. Very straight forward and most of all, less talk. Thanks for this awesome tech video.

  17. I never had Catalina. Bought a 2020 iMac intel that ships Big Sur. Apple store error says I can’t download Catalina. Now what?

  18. please helppppppppp the last part doesn’t work for me and every time I restart my mac there is only screen for choosing network then it loading then there is only a message that saying “security settings do not allow this mac to use an external startup disk” then it saying i need to restart again but there is still the same screen like the beginning…. and i tried restart with option key or command + r key but it doesn’t working……..

  19. I downgraded using time machine and bricked my mac 🙁

  20. What do you do in a situation where no disk option is shown asking for where to install Catalina in method 2?


  22. I absolutely love the new mac ios big sur update BUT there are many apps that simply do not work with this software. I am so frustrated and hopefully everything starts to update accordingly =[ … GREAT video tho! Thank u. 😉

  23. Can i use that 2nd method without losing my data ?

  24. why is it not accepting the correct password for the drive? is there something I'm missing here? the key icon appears and it just says incorrect password no matter what i type

  25. I do not have an option for "select disk" when using your option 2

  26. Wow none of it worked when I did option to the install button was Greyed out this terrible, I hate Mac

  27. Does this work on an m1 mac

  28. My Mac is new so I don’t need backup. What I need to do? Thank you.

  29. Hi, my Mac is new so I don’t need backup, what I need to do?

  30. I am unable to copy the software update (downgrade) to my external drive. This is the result I get:

    sudo: /Applications/Install macOS command not found

    I am also unable to see it in the launch pad.

    Can you help me, kindly?

  31. Option 2, can’t find my driver to install the new OS