New MBP purchase shipped with High Sierra. I'd like to downgrade to Sierra but am running into the issue that you can't install a version of the OS lower than what was shipped. The explanation I found is that the drivers don't exist, but I know for a fact that the drivers exist since there is another MBP at my company shipped just a few months prior with the same specs, running Sierra. Is there any way to force this laptop to boot into a bootable Sierra install USB drive so I can perform the downgrade? I can't even get this laptop to boot from a live Linux USB, I just get a giant "No" icon. It seems li

I've tried to sidestep it a few ways, none of which have worked. I'm now thinking of trying to clone the hard drive from the other MBP I have that's running Sierra onto the new one. I wish I knew how Apple was able to perform this restriction. I imagine it's just a piece of information somewhere with a version check, if I could find that file maybe I could lower the minimum version?

I'm not willing to put High Sierra on my network yet, it doesn't play nice with profile management or Munki. I also really don't like the idea that I've purchased hardware which doesn't allow me to install the software I actually want. I know Apple is "Big Brother-ish", but this obnoxious. For what they charge for hardware, I should be able to do whatever I want to this machine.

My rant aside, does anyone have any insight on a method to get around this restriction?


In regards to the duplicate flag, I had read all of the referenced articles before posting, but asked this anyway because I wanted to know if it was possible to circumvent the protection. As I said, I find it very difficult to accept that I've purchased a piece of hardware which I won't let me use it the way I want to use it.

  • 3
    If it won't install from USB with a completely wiped drive, or cloned from an earlier machine, then forget it. There's no way of knowing what may be different between the two machines at core-level, but the general rule has been true since System 2, so you're not going to get around it just because you don't like it.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 2, 2018 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


According to the website everymac.com, all 2017 MacBook Pro models were pre-installed with macOS 10.12.5 (Sierra). Just because your Mac came with High Sierra does not mean the firmware will not allow you to download and install Sierra.

  1. Try this test:

    Restart your Mac and hold down the Shift+Option+ ⌘(Command)+R. This will allow you boot to macOS Recovery over the internet. Eventually, you should get the image shown below.


    Select, "Reinstall macOS", then select the "Continue" button.

  2. If your Mac can install Sierra, then the image below will be displayed.


    Otherwise, the image below will be displayed.


  3. On the menu bar, select either "Install macOS Sierra" or "Install macOS High Sierra", then select "Quit install macOS"

  4. Choose "Restart" from the Apple () menu.

If the above steps indicate your Mac supports a Sierra install, you can download Sierra from the Apple website How to download macOS Sierra. If you try to install Sierra, you will probably get the popup window shown below.


If this case, you can use a USB flash drive to install Sierra. The instructions for creating a USB flash drive installer are given at How to create a bootable installer for macOS.

Note: You can not install to a High Sierra volume without first erasing the volume with the Disk Utility. If you have APFS volumes, you will probably want to erase the entire drive with the Disk Utility or by entering the following commands in a Terminal application window.

diskutil  unmountDisk  disk 0
diskutil  partitionDisk  disk0  1  GPT  JHFS+  "Macintosh HD"  R
  • First line of the OP's question seems to contradict your supposition that it can be downgraded.
    – Allan
    Jan 2, 2018 at 22:53
  • @Allan: In 2015 I purchased a new 2013 iMac which came with the current operating system. This operating system did not exist in 2013, therefore at some point the Mac must have left the box, been upgraded, and returned to the box. Jan 2, 2018 at 23:10
  • Your unboxing experience is not in question nor does it negate the OP's second sentence in the question. The second paragraph expands on attempting to side step it.
    – Allan
    Jan 2, 2018 at 23:14
  • @Allan: I disagree. There is no reason I can think of not to try my solution. Trying the solution will do not harm the computer. I choose to believe the operating system shipped with a Mac is not necessary the operating system that existed when the firmware was first installed. Jan 2, 2018 at 23:27
  • @Allan: Do you propose I should delete my answer? If not, then what changes would you propose I make to my answer? Jan 2, 2018 at 23:31

The well-accepted answer now and since there have been Macs (I believe...) is that whatever OS ships with it is the earliest version of the OS that will go on it.

So if it ships with macOS 10.6.8 then there is no way you will ever get anything lower than 10.6.8 on it (not 10.6.7, not anything).

So to answer your question specifically, if it came with High Sierra (whatever version) that is the lowest version of macOS it will ever run.

There may be hacks around that (and that answer won't be here), but I am not aware of any and I have been supporting Macs since 1990, professionally since 1992.

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