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You need to find a computer running an older version of macOS and download the installer file from there. You can find the older macOS and OS X versions under the Purchased tab of the Mac App Store. You’ll be able to download these versions of macOS and OS X from here: OS X El Capitan. Citrix Workspace App Earlier Versions of Workspace app for Mac Subscribe to RSS notifications of new downloads. Workspace app for Mac. Citrix Workspace app 2005 for Mac. Citrix Workspace app 2002 for Mac. Citrix Workspace app 2001 for Mac.
Running the latest software is not always the best decision. There are plenty of reasons you might want to downgrade or run an older version of macOS on your computer.
You may find that after the latest update your computer runs slower, your apps don’t function, or that the programs you need to run are not yet compatible with the upgrade. Maybe as a developer, you want to create a test environment to ensure your software runs properly in all available versions of OS X - check out the infographic below. Or you may simply like the look of the old version better (no judgement) and not want to upgrade until absolutely necessary.
Keep your apps while downgrading
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Get Setapp, a collection of Mac apps that strengthen your macOS. Whenever you decide to downgrade, your apps will travel with you.
How to Install Old OS X on Your Mac
Although you might think that going back to the old macOS is not possible by looking at the App Store Updates tab, it’s actually quite easy to do. In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to download and install an old OS X on your Mac.
Prepare your Mac first
Make sure you are ready to downgrade your operating system by checking in with what version of OS X you already have and ensuring you have enough hard drive room to download the older version. Clicking the apple in the top left corner of your desktop and selecting About This Mac will allow you to see what OS X version you are currently running. Tabbing over to Storage will let you know how much disk space you have available. You’ll need around around eight gigabytes free depending on which macOS you downgrade to.
Even if you do have enough space, it’s a good idea to clean your computer before installing the desired operating system. You can, of course, do so manually by deleting unused files and uninstalling old software to free up disk space. Depending on how tidy you are, this might take quite a bit of time.
To make things easy, use a specialized app like CleanMyMac, which will quickly free up space by detecting unused apps and large files, and offering to completely delete them, with all their hidden corresponding files, in one quick click.
Optimizing your Mac with CleanMyMac is effortless:
- Launch CleanMyMac
- Select the Smart Scan tab and click Scan
- Review Details to see the list of suggested optimizations
- Click Clean
To uninstall certain apps, find the Uninstaller tab and select the apps you haven’t been using for a while.
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The only solution that will free up disk space, uninstall 32-bit apps, and solve tons of problems to prepare your Mac for a new macOS.
The final preparation step is to make sure you back up all your important files to cloud storage or an external drive. A proper backup app like Get Backup Pro can save you a lot of headache here.
To create a new backup with Get Backup Pro:
- Connect your external hard drive
- Click the plus icon in the bottom left corner
- Type in the name for your backup
- Choose your external drive as a destination
- Adjust all the settings according to your preference and click OK
- Tap the play button once you ready to perform the backup
Grab an old macOS with Setapp
Downgrading to previous operating systems on Mac gets easier. To put it shortly, Setapp has your back here.
Download the OS X you want
Once you have space on your computer, figure out what version of OS X you would like to install. You can see all previous versions of OS X your Mac has installed by opening up the App Store and clicking the icon in Applications. Tab to the Purchase page of the menu and scroll down to find the line for previous operating systems. Clicking the install button of the macOS you want will begin downloading the file.
What if I can’t find the version I want in the app store?
If your goal is to download a version of macOS that you have not already used, or, that was not available as an update from the App Store after you bought your Mac, you may need to purchase it. The earliest versions, OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion are available on the Apple Store’s website and arrive to you via email for download. OS X Snow Leopard ships as a boxed version and requires a disk drive to install.
It could be helpful to know where you sit on the timeline of macOS X updates. Below is a chronological list of all the updates beginning with the most recent update, High Sierra, released in 2017:
- OS X High Sierra 10.13
- OS X Sierra 10.12
- OS X ElCapitan 10.11
- OS X Yosemite 10.10
- OS X Mavericks 10.9
- OS X Mountain Lion 10.8
- OS X Lion 10.7, released in 2011
Visiting the Apple Support’s Downloads page makes it easy to search for any version of macOS you might need, and most are available for free. Downloads for previous versions of OS X are linked below and include:
Alternative sources for downloading macOS
If you can’t find the version you want from Apple, ask a friend who is running the macOS you’re looking for to make a copy of the installer file for you. Downloading a .dmg file from a torrent site may seem a quick solution, but it means risking your security. Alternatively, you could hit up your nearest Apple Store. They will likely have image files of all the different versions of the software and help you install it right there as well.
Install the macOS
If you download the file from the App Store, the installer will start immediately. Follow the prompts and be prepared to restart your computer. If you acquire the installer from another source, just downloading the file will not install the OS X right away on your Mac, you’ll need to find the file in your Downloads or Applications folder, then open and run the installer from the downloaded file.
I can’t download an old version of Mac OS X
A downgrade is different than an upgrade. When you try to downgrade macOS, the installer may not launch right away depending on which versions of macOS you are moving between. If your installer does not launch, or you get an error message that reads: “This copy of the ‘Install OS X’ application is too old to be opened on this version of OS X,” you’ll need to use a bootable USB or external drive to work around this problem.
Get a bootable drive with OS X
Creating a bootable USB or a bootable drive is not complicated. You’ll need an external drive with enough space to hold your desired OS X on it and a basic familiarity with Terminal, Apple’s command line interface.
If you’re uncomfortable using Terminal to execute basic commands, use an app like Disk Drill to help create a boot drive. Whether you use Terminal or Disk Drill, our guide on creating a bootable installer will walk you through all the necessary steps.
Remove the old OS X
Once your drive is prepared with your bootable version of OS X, erase the unwanted version. After you restart your computer, press and hold Command + R. When you enter the macOS Utilities screen, navigate to Disk Utility, click continue, and find your Startup Disk. Tab to the Erase page and name the file you want erased (e.g. macOS High Sierra). Then select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) from the dropdown menu. Hit Erase and quit out of Disk Utility. This will return you to the OS X Utilities selector.
Install the bootable version of OS X
If you used Disk Drill for creating your bootable drive, a window will prompt your actions for using the install disk you made. But if you created your own using Terminal, use OS X Utilities Selector and find Reinstall OS X. Find and select your install disk with your bootable version of your preferred macOS, and click continue through to the license agreement. Once you agree, you should be prompted by the installer. Once the installation is completed, your computer should restart. If it does not restart itself, make sure you restart it normally. The downgrade should be complete!
As you can see, downgrading your OS X is not as dreadful as you might think, especially if you use helper apps like CleanMyMac, Get Backup Pro, and Disk Drill — all of which are available for a free trial on Setapp. So downgrade away!
macOS evolution inforgaphic
OS X 10.0
March 24, 2001
“When you saw it, you wanted to lick it,” said Steve Jobs about Aqua – the brand new UI born with the release of Cheetah. Preview, Mail, QuickTime, and TextEdit make debut at this point.
September 25, 2001
No big functionality updates, the focus is shifted to performance instead. From improved file management to CD and DVD burning, Puma just makes it work better.
OS X 10.2
August 23, 2002
A large grey Apple logo appears for the first time, replacing Happy Mac at startup. Optimized search functionality of Finder and the first release of Accessibility API – Universal Access. App arrivals: iChat and Address Book.
October 24, 2003
Panther release introduces Exposé, a feature for seamless management of open applications. Safari officially becomes the default web browser.
OS X 10.4
April 29, 2005
A rich harvest for Mac, Tiger marks the launch of 200+ new features. Spotlight search and Dashboard are the top stars, with Apple TV, Automator, and VoiceOver joining the crowd.
October 26, 2007
Long-awaited and Mac-changing. Leopard gives a spectacular leap, introducing Time Machine, Boot Camp, QuickLook, and full support for 64-bit software.
OS X 10.6
August 28, 2009
While Leopard did a great job, Snow Leopard arrives to refine it even more. Mainly, it comes with apps rewritten in 64 bit and OpenCL. The 2009 OS X release is also known for Mac App Store launch.
July 20, 2011
iCloud arrives. Apart from that, lots of iOS advancements find reflection in OS X Lion, covering Launchpad, multi-touch gestures, and more.
OS X 10.8
July 25, 2012
Mountain Lion adds new integrations and further iOS perks like Reminders, Notes, and Messages. It gets easier to track app updates via the Notification Center.
October 22, 2013
Maps, iBooks, and Tags debut in the first inanimate OS X – Mavericks. To enable secure password encryption and storage, iCloud Keychain in introduced.
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OS X 10.10
October 16, 2014
A completely new sleek design is what Yosemite is remembered for. Continuity and Handoff integrated into the new OS strengthen bonds between iOS and OS X devices.
September 30, 2015
El Capitan features Split Views – dual-window functionality for arranging and managing app windows. Plus, OS X 10.11 comes with improved Safari, Mail, and Spotlight.
September 20, 2016
With Sierra, OS X dies and macOS is born. The renamed system introduces even more iOS perks like Siri and unlocking Mac with Apple Watch.
September 25, 2017
Major improvements go unnoticed for a user, but the overall performance skyrockets, due to embracing Apple File System and a new video standard, HEVC.
September 24, 2018
Visual refinements introduced via Dark Mode and Dynamic Desktop take central stage in Mojave. The new apps migrating from iOS include Stocks, News, Home, and Voice Memos.
Do you find macOS Mojave a bit too much and therefore want to downgrade? Is your Mac a bit slow or are you having problems with your apps? Or are you having some issues with your current macOS? Reinstalling macOS is often the last resort for fixing software issues on Mac.
This article will show the step-by-step process of how to clean install macOS on your Mac. Whether you need to download and clean install High Sierra, Sierra, El Capitan, Yosemite, or an earlier version of OS X, this guide got you covered. We’ll start by showing you how to clean install macOS Mojave, the latest version of macOS, before moving on the more complicated business of installing an earlier version of macOS or OS X.
What You Will Need
To reinstall macOS, you need a removable flash drive with at least 15GB of free storage to make a bootable USB on Mac. This is where you’ll save the installer file for your preferred version of macOS. Make sure that there is no important data on the drive because we’re going to erase it for this purpose.
Another thing you need to take care of before reinstalling your macOS is your backup. In case something goes wrong, at least you saved your important data. When backing up your files, clean out your junk first by using an app such as Tweakbit MacRepair. It deletes all the unnecessary files so you don’t have to carry them over to your freshly installed macOS.
To create a backup of your data using Time Machine, follow these steps:
- Connect an external hard disk to your Mac using a USB cable, FireWire or Thunderbolt cable.
- Click the Apple icon located in the top left corner of your screen.
- Choose System Preferences > Time Machine.
- Turn on Time Machine by moving the slider to On.
- Click Select Backup Disk and choose the external drive you want to use for your backup.
- The external drive will be formatted, and the backup process will start in a few minutes.
Downloading and reinstalling your macOS is a simple process, but take note that every time you make important changes to your Mac, you risk problems that may cause you to lose your data. So before you do anything else, make sure your data is secured. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Once you have your USB drive and backup taken care of, then you’re ready to clean install your new macOS.
Step 1: Format the USB drive.
You need to re-download the installer file for your chosen macOS and save it on your USB flash drive. So the first thing you need to do is format the drive as a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) volume with a GUID Partition Table. Make sure there are no important files or data on the drive because everything will be erased.
To format your drive, follow these steps:
- Head to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility.
- Choose your USB drive and click Erase.
- Rename your USB Drive to Untitled.
- Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format type. For Macs running High Sierra or Mojave, choose APFS from the options.
- Select GUID Partition Map under the Scheme options.
- Click Erase. This may take a couple of minutes, depending on how big your flash storage is.
- Click Done.
Step 2: Re-download your chosen macOS installer file.
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If you’re re-installing Mojave, all you need to do is search for it at the Mac App Store. Just click Download or Get, depending on the Mac App Store version you are using. If you get a warning message saying that this version of macOS is already installed on your computer and asking whether you want to continue, just hit Continue. Type in your Apple ID and password to proceed. The installer is a big file, so downloading it might take some time. macOS Mojave, for instance, is around 5.7GB.
Once the installer file has finished downloading, it will automatically launch. We don’t want it to run yet, so hit Command + Q to quit the installer.
Getting the installer file for older versions of macOS requires more work because Apple doesn’t offer downloads of old macOS versions on the Mac App Store, even if you search for them.
If you’re running macOS Mojave, you won’t be able to find older versions of macOS on your App Store no matter what you do. You need to find a computer running an older version of macOS and download the installer file from there. You can find the older macOS and OS X versions under the Purchased tab of the Mac App Store. You’ll be able to download these versions of macOS and OS X from here:
- OS X El Capitan
- OS X Yosemite
- OS X Mavericks
- OS X Mountain Lion
- OS X Lion
You’ll notice that Sierra and High Sierra are not included in this list, and that’s because Apple removed Sierra from the Purchased list when it introduced High Sierra in 2017. Fortunately, you can still download Sierra from this link as long as you’re using a non-Mojave Mac.
If you want to download High Sierra, you’ll have to download it from another computer that’s running an older version of macOS and copy it from there.
Step 3: Create a bootable USB on Mac.
The next step is to create a bootable USB disk that you will use to install a fresh copy of your macOS. You need to install macOS from USB, so you need to create a bootable drive, using the Terminal.
To make a bootable macOS install drive, follow these instructions:
- Launch Terminal by pressing Command + Space and typing Terminal in Spotlight. Or you can go to Finder > Go > Utilities > Terminal.
- Connect the formatted USB drive to your computer. Make sure the name of the drive is ‘Untitled’ for this to work. Rename the drive if necessary.
- Copy and paste this command into the Terminal:
sudo /Applications/Install macOS Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled — /Applications/Install macOS Mojave.app
- Hit Return.
- Type in your password.
- This process can take a while, so be patient. When you see the word Done, this means that the bootable drive has been created.
Step 4: Install macOS from USB.
Now that your installer is ready, it’s time to install a fresh copy of your chosen macOS, using your installer drive. Follow these steps to reinstall macOS from your USB drive:
Connect your bootable drive to your Mac, then turn on your Mac or restart while holding down the Alt or Option button. This will open up the Startup Manager.
Choose to install your macOS from the external drive.
Click Disk Utility, choose your Mac’s hard drive, then hit Erase.
Go back to Startup Manager and click Install macOS.
This process will install your chosen macOS on your computer. Take note that all apps and data will be deleted from your Mac, so make sure that you have a backup of your files. The installation might take some time, so just wait.
Once the installation is finished, you can restore your apps, files and settings from your backup. Or if you want everything to be as good as new, download your apps again manually. This is recommended if you were having issues with your apps in your previous macOS.