I tried macOS Sierra and now I want to go back to El Capitan. I have backups from both OS versions on the drive but Time Machine is saying that I can't restore from that drive.

How do I restore my settings from Time Machine to El Capitan?


I just had to boot the computer with the drive attached and holding the alt/option key. I picked the Time Machine drive to restore from and it actually let me choose an older backup to restore from. It conveniently labeled the OS versions as well. It wiped my drive and restored everything.


In order to revert from macOS Sierra back to El Capitan you would need to wipe your startup drive because the Mac doesn't allow installing an OS older than the current version installed. After doing so, you can restore from a Time Machine backup made before upgrading to Sierra without a problem.

More in-depth guide here.

  • This assumes I don't have a Sierra backup. Since I do it says that I can't restore because the backup is newer – joels Jul 14 '16 at 19:42

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