So I’m downgrading the OS from Mojave to back to Lion..backed up hd with TimeMachine. I will erase the drive and install the older OS. My question is will I be able to restore my applications from my TM backup?

  • Does your TM backup have the apps that were installed on Lion? (A way back machine of sorts...) – bmike Nov 6 '19 at 0:56
  • No the only TM backup is under Mojave. The apps were originally installed under 10.5 Leopard – PaulGalli Nov 7 '19 at 1:20

I am afraid it may depend on if you use an external hard drive for Time Machine backup or not. Since most methods to downgrade macOS are related to erase the internal hard drive which contains your original macOS. So it would be great if you have backed up files with an external hard drive because you can Restore your Mac from a backup.

Another suggestion is that, if your Mac was installed with Lion when you bought it, you can reinstall to Lion by rebooting and holding Shift-Option-⌘-R As this support post said Reinstall the macOS that came with your Mac,without easing the disk, unless you want to to. Like it said: You probably don't need to erase, unless you're selling, trading in, or giving away your Mac, or you have an issue that requires you to erase.

  • Thank you for your answer. :) Unfortunately, short answers such as this don't really provide enough detail or context to help many users. If possible, it'd be good if you could add some more info to explain why it's relevant if their Time Machine backup is on an external drive or not, as well as the other considerations (as there's more to it than just that). Also, you may want to read How to Answer for tips on providing answers here. – Monomeeth Nov 6 '19 at 7:03
  • Yes external HD TM – PaulGalli Nov 7 '19 at 1:22
  • I’ve been able to follow the suggestions of “reinstall the MacOS that came with your Mac”. When I run disk utilities from the recovery window my hd appears as follows, 500.11GBAPPLE HDD H...disk0s2 and directly under that, disk 1.....MAC OS X Base System. However only the 1st one, 500.11 GB HDD H....Is verifiable & repairable. Also MAC OS X Base System is verifiable but not repairable. When I attempt to “Reinstall OS X” I get to the step to select a destination drive but no drives appear to be able to select one! Bummer...for me! – PaulGalli Nov 8 '19 at 18:04

You will be able to restore everything from the backup which was done on the same or an older version of macOS Lion (10.7.5 was the latest, so if you just downloaded it from the App Store, you will probably have this one).

From later backups you have to copy/paste everything manually.

Also for Apple apps like Safari, iTunes, etc. only the latest version that was provided for the OS version your are about to install will be available, eventhough you haven't updated it to that version at the time of the backup.

  • The only backup is the current one under Mojave. The apps were originally installed under 10.5 Leopard. – PaulGalli Nov 7 '19 at 1:25
  • You won't be able to use that backup to restore your system under the older OS, but you can, of course, copy/paste everything needed. With some apps that might work, with others not. Sorry, but this is a try and error operation since it has too much cases. – needlol Nov 7 '19 at 12:50

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