I've recently installed Lion on my macbook, and did not back up any of my files. I did a Time Machine backup under Lion, and wish to go back to snow leopard.

What can I import from my time machine backup that will not crash snow leopard ? I think all the "i" apps (iCal, iTunes, etc) won't work, but what about system preferences and such ? Will that work or will it crash my system ?

2 Answers 2


This isn't something that Apple tests well (or perhaps at all) - so you might have some crashes, but in general these are minor or confined to one app.

If you do the downgrade, just be systematic about watching for crashes, keep all the backups. You can always trash the preferences if you have odd feelings or just trash them all after the restore to start "clean" with Snow Leopard defaults but all of your Lion data.

It would be much better to export the data from Lion and restore from your last Snow Leopard backup, but your time may be spent there for no need or you could be "committing" your time later to debugging things.

It really depends on how much changes you made and the details of what changed file by file, preference by preference. Some will not notice a thing, you'll want a little luck on your side if you try it, but perhaps not even need it.

Let us know how it goes!

  • I just tested a full importation of my Lion time machine backup after the 10.6 install. It went well, but when I updated to 10.6.8, all hell broke loose and I couldn't boot unless I was in safe mode.
    – Greg
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 16:10
  • It might be better to install 10.6.x - make a test account to save UID 501, a second test account to run updates and then delete user 501 and let migration assistant bring back things one by one. Users, then Apps, then lastly settings... (esp if you can't/don't want to debug/disable things by hand/inspection in safe mode)
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 16:20
  • Migration assistant does not work when I try to use it after patching to 10.6.8. It will only work when there is no user on the computer after an install, even if the Time machine backup is from another version of OS X. I'm going to try to reinstall 10.6 and just import the user settings, I think they don't change much between Lion and Snow Leopard :)
    – Greg
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 16:38
  • Then just clean out the "update/temp user" and start fresh? apple.stackexchange.com/questions/12996/…
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 16:45
  • That's what I'm going to end up doing, starting fresh looks like it's the best way to do it. Thanks a lot to all of you :)
    – Greg
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 16:59

its works, you can install 10.6.x, use the migrate assistent, and in the worst of the cases, reinstall de 10.6.x after finish the migration assistent.

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