Downgrade Catalina to Mojave
If you’ve installed macOS Catalina and run into problems with some of your apps, or you’ve just decided that you don’t like it as much as Mojave, the good news is that you can downgrade back to the previous version of macOS. The bad news is that it’s a lengthy process with several steps. Read on to find out how to do it.
1. Back up your Mac
You should have backed up your Mac before you upgraded to Catalina, as you should before you perform any major upgrade or make any significant change to your Mac. However, the files you’ve been working on since you upgraded won’t be up to date on that backup. So, you should copy those files to an external disk, or a cloud storage service like Dropbox or iCloud Drive so you can retrieve them easily when you downgrade. We’re going to completely erase your Mac’s startup disk, so it’s important to copy anything you need now.
Step 1: Go to Mac App Store and search macOS Catalina. Then hit on 'Get' to download page. Step 2: Doing this will open System Preferences followed by the section of Software Update, where you will find MacOS Catalina ready to download. Hit the option saying 'Upgrade Now' and download MacOS Catalina on your Mac. However, for installing macOS Catalina on Mac you will also need the supporting files for it which is download macOS Catalina DMG file. Download macOS Mojave High Sierra DMG File – (Direct Links) With time passing, Apple makes more and more update to macOS Catalina. The macOS Catalina 10.15.4 is now out to every macOS Catalina supported devices.
Before you backup, however, you should take steps to remove the junk and clutter from your Mac. There’s no point in backing up all the clutter along with the files you really need. To do that, I recommend CleanMyMac X. It’s the easiest way to clear out the clutter on your Mac. Here are just a few things it can do:
- Delete years worth of system junk
- Find hidden apps and folders
- Neutralize Mac-specific malware, like key loggers
- Manage hung apps and heavy CPU consumers
- Update all your software to the latest-supported versions
As you can see, CleanMyMac X does a lot more than just clear out junk files before you backup your Mac. It’s well-worth keeping it on your Mac and using regularly to keep your Mac running smoothly.
2. Save your passwords
When you downgrade mac OS Catalina, you’ll delete everything from your hard drive, including licence keys and settings. So, in addition to making sure you copy all the files that have changed since you last backed up, you should make a note of those. If you use a password manager that syncs with other devices and allows you to store licence codes and encrypted notes, you could use that. If not, any app that allows you to sync encrypted notes will do. Or you can use Apple’s Notes app. It’s also a good idea to take screen grabs of settings to make it easier to restore them later. Remember to copy the grabs to a cloud storage service or an external disk.
3. Create a bootable installer of macOS Mojave
Note, you can skip this step if your Mac shipped with macOS Mojave or if you made a backup with Time Machine before you upgraded to Catalina.
- If you’re reading this before macOS Catalina ships, you can go to the App Store and search for Mojave, then download it. If it tries to install when it’s finished downloading, quite the installer.
- If you’re reading this after Catalina ships, you can download Mojave here, but only on a Mac that’s not already running Mojave. When you click that link, Software Update will launch and start to download Mojave. When it’s finished, quit Software Update.
- Grab a USB stick with 16GB capacity or an external hard drive or SSD and plug it in to your Mac.
- Launch Disk Utilities and Erase the Drive or USB stick, formatting it as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and selecting GUID partition map if a selection is available.
- The easiest way to create a bootable installer is to use DiskMaker X. However, you can also do it in Terminal like this:
- Launch Terminal from Applications - Utilities
sudo /Applications/Install macOS Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitledwhere ‘Untitled’ is the name of your USB stick or external hard drive
- Press Return and wait for the word Done to appear in Terminal.
Whichever method you used, you should now have a bootable macOS Mojave installer. Keep it safe.
4. Uninstall macOS Catalina
- Make sure your Mac is connected to the internet.
- Click on the Apple menu and choose Restart.
- Hold down Command+R to boot into Recovery mode.
- Choose Disk Utility in the macOS Utilities window
- Select your startup disk
- Choose Erase
- Quit Disk Utility
How to downgrade Catalina to Mojave if your Mac shipped with Mojave
- Once you’ve erased your startup disk and quit Disk Utility as described above, choose Reinstall macOS from macOS Utilities.
- Press Continue.
How to rollback from Catalina using a Time Machine backup
If you backed up your Mac with Time Machine before you installed Catalina, you don’t need to create a bootable installer – you can just reinstall Mojave from your Time Machine backup. Make sure it’s plugged in if it’s an external disk. If it’s a network disk, make sure you’re connected to the network.
- Once you’ve erased your start up disk as described above, choose Restore from Time Machine backup in the macOS Utilities window.
- If your backup is on an external disk, select it. If it’s on a network disk, select it and choose Connect to Remote Disk.
- Type in your username and password for the remote disk if necessary.
- Select the data and time of the backup you want to restore from.
- Follow the onscreen instructions.
Steam Catalina Update
5. Install Mojave using a bootable installer
If you have a Mac that didn’t ship with Mojave and you don’t use Time Machine to backup, you’ll need to reinstall Mojave from the bootable installer we created earlier.
- Plug in the installer disk.
- Go to the Apple menu and choose restart, then hold down the Option key.
- Mojave will start installing on your Mac.
- When it’s finished, your Mac will restart and the Setup Assistant will appear
- Follow the steps in the SetUp Assistant to set up Mojave
Restore your settings
If you have reinstalled Mojave from a bootable disk, rather than a Time Machine backup, you will need to reinstall applications and copy documents across from your backup. That’s where those notes and screen shots you made earlier come in handy!
Once you’ve restored your settings and reinstalled all the apps you need, your Mac is ready to use again, running Mojave instead of Catalina.
Tip: If you want to roll back to an earlier version of macOS than Mojave, you can. To reinstall the OS your Mac shipped with, use the method in ‘How to downgrade if your Mac shipped with Mojave’. If you want to roll back to a version of macOS newer than the one your Mac shipped with but older than Mojave, you can download Sierra and earlier versions from the Mac App Store. Then follow from Step 3 in ‘Create a bootable installer of Mojave’.
My Mac is still underperforming, what to do?
Steam Games Catalina
You thought that reverting to macOS Mojave would get your Mac back to norm. But if it didn’t and you still experiencing sudden freeze-ups and glitches, full disk cleanup is your answer. Probably there are too many conflicting system junk files on your drive that you need to plow through.
You don’t need a regular disk cleanup app — most of them are scam — but this tool, CleanMyMac X, is notarized by Apple, and can really do helpful optimizations on your Mac.
- Download the free edition here
- Go to Maintenance tab
Now you can perform some of the tasks suggested by the app, like running Maintenance Scripts. Also, check the System Junk tab and remove all the useless files it recommends you to delete.
As you can see, it is possible to uninstall Catalina if you decide you don’t want to continue using it. It’s essential, however, that you backup your Mac before you upgrade. And remember, before you backup, clear out the clutter with CleanMyMac X. That way you won’t use precious space on your backup drive copying over junk files.
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Attempting to download macOS Catalina from the Mac App Store you may find that a small version of the “Install macOS Catalina.app” file downloads to the “Applications” folder, rather than the complete 8.1 GB installer file.
The tiny (just tens of megabytes) incomplete installer requires an internet connection during usage to download the rest of the Catalina update files. Additionally, it does not allow to create a macOS Catalina USB installer drive for use on multiple computers.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to download the complete “Install macOS Catalina.app” file from Apple server using the “macOS Catalina Patcher” app instead of via the Mac App Store.
A similar mini-installer issue occurred previously with some users getting a tiny incomplete macOS High Sierra installer and macOS Mojave installer too and I covered a similar workaround here and here to download the complete installer file from Apple server.
About the app
In this workaround, we’re going to use the macOS Catalina Patcher app from the dosdude1.com. This app is intended for those with unsupported Macs and Hackintosh users, but any Mac user can use the app to be able to download the complete macOS Catalina installer file from Apple server. For our purposes in this particular walkthrough, we will use the app only to download the complete installer file.
Note! This method relies on a third party app from an unverified third party source. If you are not comfortable with using unvetted and unverified software, do not follow this process.
Downloading the complete “Install macOS Catalina.app” file from Apple server using the “macOS Catalina Patcher” app is a really easy process. Now, step by step guide.
Go to the official website of the “macOS Catalina Patcher” app here and download the app.
The download link is labeled as “Download Latest Version” on that page.
Launch the “macOS Catalina Patcher” app.
Note! By default, macOS preventing apps from unidentified developers or sources from being launched. So you most likely will get an alert message that says: “macOS Catalina Patcher.app can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer”. To allow just one specific app to run do the following:
Apple Mac Os Catalina Download
- Hold down the
Controlkey and click the app icon. From the contextual menu choose
- A popup will appear asking you to confirm this action. Click the
Click the “Continue” button, and then select “Download a Copy”.
Confirm that you want to download the “Install macOS Catalina.app” app to start the download to your hard drive.
Close the “macOS Catalina Patcher” app when the download is complete and locate the “Install macOS Catalina.app” file you downloaded.
Note! The download will be completed when you are prompted to choose an installation method. See the screenshot below.
That’s it, you’re done. Now you have the complete “Install macOS Catalina.app” file downloaded. So simple isn’t it?
You can confirm that you have the complete “Install macOS Catalina.app” file by getting info on the file. For this simply select the file and click the
Spacebar key (or right-click on the file and choose “Get Info”). The complete installer should be around 8.1 GB rather than the tiny (just tens of megabytes) incomplete installer that requires additional downloads.
Note! Remember, the “Install macOS Catalina.app” file deletes itself automatically after macOS Catalina has successfully installed. Therefore, you may want to make a backup by having previously copied it to external storage.
Let me know in the comments section if you know another way to download the complete “Install macOS Catalina.app” file rather than the tiny incomplete installer.
I hope this article has helped you learn how to downloaded the complete “Install macOS Catalina.app” file from Apple server. If this article helped you then please leave a comment
Thanks for reading!
Arthur is a designer and full stack software engineer. He is the founder of Space X-Chimp and the blog My Cyber Universe. His personal website can be found at arthurgareginyan.com.