How to Downgrade from Mac OS X El Capitan to Yosemite

Recently, Apple has released Mac OS X El Capitan for its users worldwide. And people have received this new OS with open arms. But there are many who are not comfortable with the new version. So what is the solution? Obviously, go back to OS X Yosemite.

This information is all about how to delete OS X El Capitan, how to reinstall OS X Yosemite, and finally how to restore your database from Time Machine.

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Downgrade from Mac OS X El Capitan to OS X Yosemite

First, How to Erase OS X El Capitan:

Note: Before moving ahead, please make sure that your Mac is connected to internet.

Step #1. Click on Apple icon () from top left corner and select Restart.

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Step #2. While your Mac is in restart mode, press down Command+R.

Step #3. From the OS X Utilities, click Disk Utility.

Step #4. Click Continue.

Step #5. Click on Startup Disk.

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Step #6. Now click on the Erase.

Step #7. Type in Macintosh HD for the name (or other of your choice.)

Step #8. Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) from the Format list.

Step #9. Now click Erase.

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Once you erase OS X El Capitan, quit Disk Utility and start reinstalling OS X Yosemite.

How to Reinstall OS X Yosemite on Your Mac

Step #1. From OS X Utilities, click on Reinstall OS X.

Step #2. Now click Continue on the OS X Yosemite Installer.

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Now follow the standard instructions as you would in any other update; keep clicking on continue and agree to the terms & conditions. Once you finish this, your Mac will restart and you can use OS X Yosemite.

Note: The version of installer depends on how old your Mac is; normally, you will get what you have received from Apple during the purchase of Mac.

In this situation, complete the installation of Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks or any other version you have available. Once the update is finished, your Mac will restart. Now go to the Mac App Store and re-run the OS X Yosemite update.

How to Restore Data from Time Machine on Mac

Once you downgrade from OS X El Capitan to OS X Yosemite, you will be prompted to restore your data from Time Machine. Without this action, the reinstallation process is incomplete. However, you can restore your data anytime later.

Step #1. Restart your Mac.

Step #2. Press down Command+R while Mac restarts.

Step #3. Click Restore from Time Machine Backup from the OS X Utilities menu.

Step #4. Click Continue.

Step #5. Click Continue after reading “Restore Your System” page.

Step #6. Select Time Machine Backup.

Step #7. Click Continue.

Step #8. Select the most recent backup and click Continue.

Your data will be restored from the Time Machine and Mac will restart; the process may take some time, depending on the network speed or amount of data you have.

Dhvanesh Adhiya
Dhvanesh Adhiya is our editor-in-chief and reviewer who takes care of He is passionate for wonderful apps that change the way your iPhone interacts in your life.


  1. Does this revert other files (non-system file) from Time Machine to older versions. I want to revert to yosemite from my Time machine but don’t want to lose current personal files to older versions–does that make sense?

  2. So basically theres no way to downgrade without deleting my computer? I wasn’t able to do a time machine as I don’t have a hard drive to back up with.

  3. After reverting to Yosemite I was unable to restore my data from time machine because the last backup was done while running El Capitan. Is there another way to get to my data besides Migration Assistant?

    • I’d love to know this also. I’m in the same boat; El Capitan Time Machine backup and now Yosemite reinstalled on my 2008 MacBook Pro with no way to access the data as yet.

  4. Warnings at the top of the article would be very useful for those who don’t read right through things before they start. That a Time Machine backup from the previous OS is vital for this task. Also that via Internet recovery the installed OS will become whatever the machine originally shipped with. Thirdly that unless they already have their desired OS in purchase history, it will not be available for them to upgrade to afterwards.

  5. Unfortunately these instructions do not work in all cases. I’m not sure what you should do to verify your particular situation. But do not follow these instructions cart blanch before checking.

    In my case, at the point of reinstall, the El Capitan installer came up, not Yosemite. So I had to reinstall El Capitan just to reboot in order to follow other instructions that actually worked. These instructions cost me hours. El Capitan cost me a couple of days of lost time.


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