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I had to send in my old Mac (10.11) for screen repair, and worked on a replacement MacBook with 10.14. Now, I'd like to transfer my data back from the replacement's Time Machine to the old Mac. I don't want Mojave because the very real downsides of breaking some pieces of software I rely on don't outweigh the cosmetic benefits.

Now, Migration Assistant tells me I cannot use my backup on the old Mac!

Is there a way to transfer only the data and leave the macOS untouched? User data and OS should really be separate.

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    Do you just need the content of ~/Documents or other stuff as well? – nohillside May 6 at 12:43
  • Not just docs, otherwise I would drag and drop. I also need the applications plus all the settings. Don't understand though why Time Machine forces the new version on me. There should be an easy line to separate between OS and software installed after. – SeanJ May 7 at 12:47
  • Time Machine doesn't know which files belong to the base OS and which have been installed/created by the user. There might also be a problem with applications requiring functionality not available in earlier versions of macOS. – nohillside May 7 at 12:57
  • Maybe you can set up a VM on your MacBook and restore your TM backup into the VM. – nohillside May 7 at 12:57

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