How to downgrade macOS Sonoma to Ventura (Without losing data)

How to downgrade to macOS Ventura without losing data 

Things to know before downgrading macOS Sonoma Developer Beta:

  • To downgrade, you need to take backup of your data (optional but recommended) and then Erase macOS Sonoma → reinstall macOS Ventura → restore Time Machine backup.
  • You can reinstall macOS Ventura through internet recovery or using a bootable USB drive.
  • Keep your Mac plugged in while the downgrading takes place.

Even though the latest version of the Mac software has a ton of features, including Web apps, interactive widgets, new and improved video conferencing, Game Mode, and many others, one should not forget that it’s still in the Developer Beta stage. And like any other beta version, macOS Sonoma Developer Beta is painfully buggy.

Therefore, it is preferable to downgrade your Mac from macOS 14 Sonoma to Ventura. But the question is, how to go back to macOS 13 without losing data? Well, follow the steps outlined in this article, and your data will surely be safe.

How to downgrade from macOS Sonoma to Ventura using Time Machine

If you had read our guide on how to download and install the macOS Sonoma beta, I mentioned taking a backup before installing the beta version.

So, if you have a backup, this method is for you. Else, you can try the other method mentioned below.

  1. Attach the Time Machine hard drive to the Mac.
  2. Click the Apple Icon and choose Restart.
  3. Now, go to the boot selection screen.
    • For Apple Silicon Mac: Press the power button until you see the startup screen → click Options → Continue.
    • For Intel-based Mac: Press and hold Command + R when you see the Apple Logo or hear the startup chime.
  4. Select Restore from Time Machine Backup → click Continue.
  5. Read through the process (optional) → click Continue.
  6. Select the Backup source → click Continue again.
  7. Choose the recent macOS Ventura backup and click continue.

The process may take some time, so sit back, grab some coffee, or take a power nap.

Note: When you restore it from a backup, the current data in your Mac will be completely wiped. And if you don’t want to lose data, take a backup of those files.

Downgrade to macOS Ventura using macOS recovery

If you currently don’t have a Time Machine backup or the backup is not working while restoring, move on with the macOS recovery method to revert to macOS Ventura from macOS Sonoma.

Note: For this method, you must have a stable internet connection and a wired keyboard (or use the built-in keyboard).

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Now, turn on and immediately press and hold one of the three combinations of your keyboard until the Apple logo appears:
    • Command + R: Reinstall the latest macOS version installed on your Mac. 
    • Option + Command + R: Upgrade to the latest macOS version compatible with your device.
    • Shift + Option + Command + R: Reinstall the macOS with which your Mac came or the closest version available.
  3. Enter your password → click Continue.
  4. Click Next → select Reinstall macOS → click Continue.
  5. Now follow the on-screen instructions → select the disk to flash.
    If you are asked to unlock your disk, enter the password of your Mac.

Wait until the installation process finishes.

While the process takes place, don’t put your Mac to sleep or close the lid. Throughout the process, you will see your Mac restart several times, the progress bar will appear and disappear, or even the screen may go blank for some time.

Don’t worry, as it’s part of the process, and wait until it’s completed. In the end, you will see a login screen which you usually see. It means you have successfully completed the process.

Reinstall macOS Ventura with a Bootable installer

Depending on your Mac, the steps to install macOS Ventura through a Bootable installer will differ. It is because the T2 chip in some Intel Macs will prevent the installation from external drives.

On Intel Mac

  1. Reboot your Mac while holding the Option key.
  2. When the boot selection screen appears, release the key and hold down Command + R to enter recovery.
  3. Once in recovery, click Utilities → select startup security utility.
  4. Enter your Mac password.
  5. Here, select Allow booting.

You have now disabled external boot protection on your Intel Mac.

Now, it’s time to install macOS Ventura on your Mac through the Bootable installer. For that:

  1. Reboot your Mac while holding Option until you land on the boot selection screen.
  2. Boot to USB installer for Ventura.
  3. Allow verification of the external disk.
  4. After that, click Disk utility → continue.
  5. Under internal, click Macintosh HD (hard drive) → click Erase.
  6. Now, click Erase Volume Group.
  7. Wait for the process to complete, and then click Done.
  8. Click Disk Utility → select Quit Disk Utility.
  9. Install macOS Ventura and click continue.
  10. Agree to the windows and select Macintosh HD → click Continue.

That’s it! Wait until the process is completed, and after the downgrading process, you will be greeted with the usual setup screen of macOS Ventura.

On Apple Silicon Mac

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Press and hold the Power button until you see loading startup options.
  3. Click the USB installer → Continue.
  4. Now, click Install macOS Ventura and select Quit install macOS.
  5. After that, click Disk Utility → continue.
  6. Under internal, click Macintosh HD (hard drive) and click Erase.
  7. Then, click Erase again to confirm.
  8. Wait for the process to complete and click Done.
  9. Next, click Disk utility → select Quit Disk Utility.  
  10. Activate the Mac → click Exit to Recovery.
  11. Agree to the windows and select Macintosh HD → click Continue.
  12. Select the Startup Disk → click Restart.

Wait until the process is completed. After that, you will see the macOS setup screen!


Can you downgrade a Mac that shipped with Big Monterey?

No. It is not possible to downgrade your Mac to a macOS version that was shipped. If you have updated your Mac to a newer version of macOS, it is possible to downgrade.

Welcome back!

While experiencing a new thing before others is indeed thrilling, it comes at a price. With macOS 14 Sonoma, while enjoying the features, the bugs ruin the experience. Until the stable build is released, it’s better to stay with stable macOS 13 Ventura. While you were using macOS Sonoma, which feature did you like in it? Let me know in the comments below!

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Author Profile

Bhaskar is a tech guru who turned wordsmith. Hiding his B.Tech degree in a closet, he ditched the corporate path to simplify tech for everyone. For the past 5 years, he's been dishing out how-tos, reviews, and sharp insights. But there's more! He's a witty interview champ and has been sharing his wisdom for 3 years. Furthermore, he has honed his editing skills for 1.5 years and is now delving into marketing to assist newcomers. When not jamming his fingers on those mechanical keyboards, you may find him on strings or engaging in sports. And by evening, his quotes will be appearing on your Instagram feeds.

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