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How to Downgrade Your Mac From Mavericks Back to OS X Mountain Lion

Posted in How To, OS X on 26/12/2013 by J. Glenn Künzler

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Apple has introduced a number of very positive changes in OS X Mavericks – and we generally advice that the majority of users would be best served updating to the latest version of OS X. This is particularly true considering that Mavericks has the same list of supported systems as OS X Mountain Lion, and is a free upgrade.

However, not all users are thrilled with Mavericks, for whatever reason. As such, at least a certain segment of users have found that they want to downgrade from Mavericks back to Mountain Lion as a result. Fortunately, this is very possible – although it takes some work. OS X Daily explains how it is done – we’ve summarized and generalized their advice below!

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Note: Before you get started, we strongly emphasize making a thorough backup through Time Machine of a good OS X Mountain Lion install immediately before your proceed. Not only is this Time Machine backup necessary to complete the downgrade, it will prevent or minimize your data loss.

Once you have your backup, you’ll need to boot your Mac into Recovery Mode by holding down Command + R while your system boots. Then, once the Recovery Volume boots, select the Restore from Time Machine Backup option. Make sure you have your OS X Mountain Lion Time Machine backup volume connected to your Mac.

Next, make sure you read and understand the “Restore Your System” screen, select your Mountain Lion Time Machine backup, and click continue. Now, just select a volume you’d like to restore the backup to, and choose Restore. OS X will now completely restore your Mac to Mountain Lion, based on the latest backup you have for that operating system.


Once the restore is complete, you’re good to go! Your Mac will then boot into OS X Mountain Lion, and will be ready for you to use. We hope you found this useful and that it works for you if you find yourself with the desire to downgrade! Enjoy!

For more helpful tips, check out our full collection of tutorials by visiting our How-To category!



  • David Morell

    This process indeed works as I had to do it with my MacBook. It’s recommended you print these directions out to have with you as you do the process.

  • Bachus Marsh

    The reason many users would like to upgrade to Mountain Lion is because Mavericks was actually a downgrade.

    Mavericks has so many bad dumbed down design choices and lobotomised apps that it is beginning to like Vista.

    It would be interesting to see your list of why users should upgrade. None of the ones Apple lists actually require Mavericks at all.

    Apple appears to have cobbled together a rather dodgy set of “features” to justify the real agenda, which was to push OSX towards the more limited iOS features.

  • Gio

    Way to many issues integrating Mavericks. A lot of the applications I use to use on Mtn Lion that worked fine, no longer work as well. For example; Microsoft Office use to be able to access the company directory to find fellow co-workers… well that little feature is no longer available. Making it impossible to find co-worker. And being that I work for a company with 100,000+ employees, yeah that might piss some of us off!

  • Jannus Blackseed

    How on earth do you do a time machine backup of a mountain lion install if mavericks is already on your computer?

  • Luis Soto

    This is so stupid, how the fuck can I have a backup on TM of Mountain Lion if I don´t have it any more. Idiots.

    • Jake

      That’s what I was gonna ask… This article doesn’t make sense. Maybe it’s for those who haven’t upgrade to mavericks yet… Anyway Mavericks is a lame ass osx for old macs.

  • Marchalis

    This piece of advice above is so patently stupid and worthless… how the hell can I go back to what I had if I no longer have it?

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J. Glenn Künzler

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J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he's up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor's house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.