[Solved] How to Downgrade macOS High Sierra 10.13 to 10.12 without Data Loss

By Abby Poole to macOS Tips, Apple Resources | Last Updated on Dec 7, 2018

Summary: If you have lots of problems with macOS High Sierra 10.13 update and attempt to degrade back to macOS Sierra. This guide will show you 5 essential steps for getting started with macOS High Sierra 10.13 downgrade so that you can move back to macOS 10.12 without data loss.

macOS High Sierra 10.13 to be released this Fall is Apple's next major OS update for Macs, designed to improve and redefine macOS Sierra, wtih more features, e.g. HEVC support for more storage of photos, new autoplay blocking features in Safari, Intelligent Tracking Prevention, more Mail storage, a new file system, etc, but doesn't necessarily means smooth operation. Problems with macOS High Sierra 10.13 such as password security problem, App incompatibility error, the battery life, performance problems, WiFI issues, installation problems, app damage, slow operation, overheating and iTunes not working upset many Mac OS fans and drive them in haste to downgrade macOS High Sierra 10.13 to macOS Sierra or previous Mac OS X.

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Part 1: Suggestions before You Degrade macOS High Sierra 10.13 to macOS Sierra

1. Don't boot Mac into Recovery mode and revert to macOS Sierra. This is only feasible to reinstall the system currently available on Mac like macOS 10.13.
2. Don't launch macOS Sierra installer within macOS High Sierra 10.13. This is because the latest version of macOS is always preferable.
3. Erase macOS High Sierra 10.13 complete before reinstalling macOS Sierra 10.12.
4. Don't make a backup using Time Machine, as it is only achievable when you are about to update to macOS High Sierra rather than downgrade latest macOS.
5. Make sure to connect to Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

If you are regretted to upgrade to the latest macOS Mojave or beta versions, the above tips are also applicative for downgrading macOS Mojave to macOS High Sierra. Certainly, you're suggested make a backup of your macOS at the initial, so that you're able to recover your data on macOS High Sierra. And before the Mojave is finally available, do not upgrade to macOS 10.14 on your main device. Moreover, you can also follow the steps below to downgrade macOS Mojave to 10.13.

Part 2: How to Downgrade Macs from macOS High Sierra 10.13 to 10.12 | No Data Loss

Step 1: Back up Your Mac

Any upgrade or downgrade of macOS may put you in the danger of losing important files, documents or programs, if nothing has been done. This makes essential to back up all files you recently added to macOS High Sierra 10.13, in case of any data loss your macOS High Sierra 10.13 downgrading. Totally, there are 5 types of backup Mac users can be use.

Option 1: Have a local backup and. copy and paste the files directly into your external hard drive HDD. Possible a good 1TB drive costs you $45.

Option 2: Store your file via cloud-based service, e.g. iCloud, DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive. This way is inexpensive to secure your Mac data but takes a long time.

Option 3: Back up macOS High Sierra 10.13 data by transferring to iPhone or iPad. This is helpful especially when you want to backup the contents you need most, exclusive of those old trushy stuff. And Mac users are grumbling about iTunes' lengthy syncing and constant data erasing, here we introduces the good alternative to iTune such as MacX MediaTrans to backup and transfer data between iPhone iPad and Mac. The tool is available for transferring all types of data, including those iTunes won't support, to/from iOS devices.

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Step 2: Make a Bootable Installer Drive

Prior to remove macOS High Sierra 10.13 from your Mac, it's a must to make a macOS Sierra installation drive. For the steps to proceed to have a bootable drive for macOS Sierra in order to have a successful downgrade from macOS High Sierra 10.13 to macOS 10.12 Sierra.

Step 2.1: Find an external drive with at least 8GB of storage, preferably formatted with GUID Partition Table.
Step 2.2: Download macOS 10.12 Sierra installer from the App Store.
Step 2.3: Click on Download. Quite the installer during the auto-launch because you are unpermitted to install it on top of macOS High Sierra 10.13.
Step 2.4: Create the installer with createinstallmedia tool, Disk Utility or Terminal. Here we just share last one. Open Terminal and paste this into Terminal window:

Step 2.5: Enter admin password if asked.
30 minutes later, you will finish making an macOS Sierra installer into a bootable drive, ready to get rid of and downgrade macOS High Sierra 10.13.

iOS 10 Data backup

Step 3: Erase macOS High Sierra 10.13

Once you have your bootable drive of macOS Sierra 10.12, you can completely remove macOS High Sierra 10.13 from your Mac with the following steps.

Step 3.1: Click on the Apple icon -> select Restart from the dropdown menu.
Step 3.2: Keep holding the keys Command+R till your Mac reboots.
Step 3.3: Click on Disk Utility and tap Continue when the OS X Utility window appears.
Step 3.4: Choose your Mac's hard drive and Tap on Erase at the top of the window.
Step 3.5: name the file to be erased and choose Mac OS Extended format.
Step 3.6: Click Erase to wipe macOS High Sierra 10.13.

Once you erase macOS High Sierra 10.13 from your Macbook Air/Pro, iMac or other Mac computer, you can quite Disk Utility.

iOS 10 Data backup

Step 4: Reinstall macOS Sierra back on your Mac

Follow the steps below to reinstall macOS Sierra from your bootable installer after your Mac remove macOS 10.13.

Step 4.1: Click on Reinstall OS X in the OS X Utilities sector.
Step 4.2: Click on Continue to follow the installation process.
Step 4.3: Please abide by the terms and conditions while reinstalling macOS Sierra on your Mac. The installation is like a standard Mac update. Then reboot your Mac.

Note: Besides macOS 10.12 installation, you can also downgrade macOS High Sierra 10.13 to an older version of OS X, such as El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, etc, depending on how old your Mac is. Just go to the Mac App Store to upgrade to the version. This is conducted within the Internet Recovery Mode.

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Step 5: Retrieve your files from High Sierra backup

Now you can restore all your files from the backup as is mentioned in step 1 to finish the downgrade of macOS 10.13 without any data loss. Below we also list the steps to restore your data from Time Machine after your revert back to Sierra from macOS High Sierra 10.13.

Step 5.1: Click on Apple and select Restart from the dropdown menu.
Step 5.2: Hold down the keys Command+R till your Mac restarts.
Step 5.3: Choose Restore from Time Machine Backup in the OS X Utilities section.
Step 5.4: Tap on Continue and select Backup Source to choose the files where you have saved.
Step 5.5: Select the most recent macOS 10.13 backup and continue.

Then all the macOS High Sierra 10.13 downgrade process are done. You will never worry about the problems when macOS High Sierra 10.13 is not working for you.

iOS 10 Data backup

Part 3: Troubleshooting to macOS High Sierra Update Problems

1. Restart your Macbook when macOS High Sierra installer fails to complete, and try again to download the installer.
2. Remove the Server.app from teh Applications folder, reboot and install macOS High Sierra, if it will not install on Mac.
3. Turn WiFi off and turn it back on after 30 seconds, when you have problem connecting to your personal hotspot on the iPhone. and restart the device or change to Airplane mode.
4. Inall the latest macOS High Sierra updated version to fix the battery issue. Restart the Mac > turn down the screen brightness and update all apps to get better battery life.
5. Check if the apps work with macOS High Sierra, if so, update them.
6. Turn off the Bluetooth and back on or restart Ma.
7. Restart your Mac and update apps to solve the performace problem with macOS High Sierra.
If nothing else fixes the macOS High Sierra problems, we suggest you following the above steps to downgrade macOS High Sierra or wait for release this Fall.

Related: macOS Sierra update issue, how to speed up Mac, Best Mac apps, How to free up space on Mac, macOS Sierra vs El Capitan

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