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Due to battery backups not working properly in Yosemite, I need to downgrade a machine to Mavericks. Unfortunately, this is a brand new Mac Mini and it shipped with OS X 10.10.0 installed.

I read various questions here, as well as some articles from other websites, and created a Mavericks 10.9.5 installer on a USB stick. I can boot from this USB stick on an iMac we have here, but the Mac Mini will not allow me to.

Is it even possible to run Mavericks on this machine--Macmini7,1?

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It's a great big "Maybe".

The installer will likely decline, but it will really depend on the hardware and drivers the hardware needs.

Here's what you do:

Get an external drive. USB > 8Gb will work. Plug this drive into a Mavericks-compatible machine and install Mavericks on the external.

Now plug it into the new Mini. Reboot holding the Option key, wait for the boot picker to appear. Choose the external with Mavericks.

If you get a kernel panic, the new Mini will not run Mavericks.

If it boots to the desktop, you're good. Get some cloning software like Carbon Copy Cloner, erase the Mini's internal drive and clone Mavericks from the external drive to the Mini.

  • When I try to boot into the Mavericks installer on my 2015 Macbook Air, I immediately get a prohibited symbol. Is there any way I can get past this? I'm quite sure the installer isn't kernel panicking, the symbol appears too quickly for that, and besides I'd expect a different message. – Wowfunhappy Nov 1 '18 at 16:03
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No, not possible. It can be possible when the a mac was delivered before with Mavericks. But the 7,1 was delivered with Yosemite from the beginning.

  • Lex is likely correct, but I'm one of those types that don't believe it till I have tried myself. So if you have the time and inclination give Paul's approach a shot... – Steve Chambers Nov 29 '14 at 17:00
  • You've never been able to install an older OS than the machine was shipped with. – Tetsujin Nov 29 '14 at 20:31
  • @Tetsujin yes, you can. Done it myself. If the machine was released many months after the OS then it's usually not possible. – paul Nov 30 '14 at 15:26
  • It seems that it isn't possible in this case. I tried several methods of installing Mavericks. Ultimately, I wiped the Mac Mini's internal drive and cloned over a base installation of Mavericks from an external and the Mini would not boot. – jburik1176 Dec 2 '14 at 23:20
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If you absolutely must run it and provided Mavericks has drivers for new Haswell Iris graphics you might look here for solution.

That would be piker's alpha boot loader which is usually used to run Mavericks on 2006/7 Mac Pros but since it can fake SMBIOS values where system get information about Mac hardware to OS X it might work to fool Mavericks into thinking it is one of the supported model.

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