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Can I downgrade the 2020 13" MacBook Pro to run macOS Mojave? This is the Model Id=MacBookPro16,2 - with Quad-Core Intel Core i7 of 2.3 GHz; sold in Europe in July 2020, that comes with Catalina pre-installed.

Unfortunately, many of my legacy software (in 32-bit) cannot be made to run under 64-bit. Some of my hardware relies on 32-bit software.

Are there hardware components in the 2020 models, which are NOT supported in previous? If one can downgrade, would that work with a time-machine backup? or would one need a complete re-install after erasing and re-formatting the disks, from a Mojave.ova file?

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There is a startup check that prevents users from booting any version of macOS older than what was current at the time the machine was first released. As it so happens, just yesterday I wrote up a long answer on how to bypass this check: https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/402727/4027.

I encourage you to give it a read, but in short, you need to create a bootable installer, and add your computer's model and board ID to a file called "PlatformSupport.plist". This will allow your computer to try to boot the old OS, and either succeed or fail on its own merits.

So the question is, will Mojave actually function on your MacBook Pro?

The 2020 13" Macbook Pros come with two types of processors. The lower-end models with fewer thunderbolt ports have 8th-gen Intel Processors, whereas the higher-end models with more ports have 10th-gen Intel Processors.

Mojave does run on other Macs with 8th-gen processors, so I think there's a good chance that this first group of MacBook Pros could run Mojave. On paper, the hardware is compatible, and someone ought to try it!

Unfortunately, from what I can tell, I believe you have one of the higher-end models with a 10th-gen processor. I wouldn't expect that to work unless you can find or make a custom kernel—and even then I'd expect other hardware issues, similar to what I encountered.

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  • Hi, I much appreciate your answers. Having seen your info about the 8 vs 10th gen. processors, I'll have to find out; mine is a "MacBook Pro16.2" with Quad Core Intel i7, 2.3 GHz. If there is a chance, I'll be happy to try out your suggestion... I am checking your long post and do appreciate ! Oct 7, 2020 at 11:29
  • @ChristophGrab Without the exact processor model, I'm guessing at the generation based on the MBP configurations available on Apple's website. However, I did go through the configuration yesterday and it looked like you had one of the ones with 10th-gen processors, which is why I said as much in my answer. Oct 7, 2020 at 12:43
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No, you cannot downgrade the model of MacBook that you have to run macOS Mojave. The oldest supported version of macOS for your model of MacBoo is macOS Catalina 10.15.4.

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  • I have heard that some people have limited success running 'older than supported' versions of macOS on some Macs. We don't often do that here but you might find that info elsewhere. I have no idea if this will work with Mojave and your Mac, just a point of interest for further research. Oct 6, 2020 at 19:38
  • Hi, Thanks for the answers. Now, is it A) really a particular piece of hardware, that prevents the MB-2020 to run Mojave at all, or is B) the MacOS version Mojave "just not supported by APPLE, because Apple does NOT WANT it to be run", but Mojave would run in principle fine? I am not afraid of erasing the disk and reinstall all from scratch. Any information would help. Oct 6, 2020 at 20:15
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The general rule with macOS releases is that a machine cannot run a release older than the release that is current at the time the machine is first released. For example, your machine was released when Catalina (10.15) was the current macOS release - it won't run on an older macOS release.

That said, some have had varying levels of success running older, unsupported releases. There are a detailed set of instructions in this answer from /u/Wowfunhappy. You may have luck doing something similar but you will almost certainly have some technical challenges.

A far simpler approach is to install an older macOS release (eg, Mojave) in a virtual machine and use that to run your 32-bit applications. It certainly is possible with Parallels and may be possible with VMware Fusion and VirtualBox.

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  • Thanks . I installed a version of Mojave as guest in VirtualBox. yes, the OS runs; however the file-access of the host system (in my case the Catalina) is clumsy. BUT, unlike in earlier versions, where one could directly mount the host partitions or filesystems directly out of VirtualBox as share, this seems suppressed from the Catalina side; I did not manage to mount host FS. One can still transfer files between host and guest, basically via trivial "file-transfer", however that is not convenient way to work. I'll inquire further on that. Oct 7, 2020 at 11:24
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To add to what has been written already: don't think about whether the Mac can run the OS -- think about whether the software can support the Mac.

The OS is software that contains drivers for the hardware. New hardware needs new drivers. Old OSes don't contain drivers for hardware from their future.

Relying on software that is not currently developed is not a good place to be: you need to think now about how you can get up-to-date, and that might mean new hardware purchases. There are alternatives, like Virtual Machines running older OS versions: but these are temporary stop-gaps.

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