Is it possible to downgrade from iTunes 11 to 10.7 using Mountain Lion?

I tried to replace it by simply installing the 10.7, but it says that i can't replace a newer version.

  • 3
    Since iTunes has an installer - you might need to download the older version of iTunes so that it can re-install the older helpers for Wi-Fi syncing and USB syncing of iOS devices. Your old library should be stored in the Previous iTunes Libraries folder - so just be sure to not add any content or playlists while you go through the steps to re-install the older program.
    – bmike
    Nov 29, 2012 at 19:17
  • 1
    Ah, there are separate helpers for syncing. That explains why that is broken. So it may actually be possible to make that work again, if you can figure out where they are and restore them.
    – asmeurer
    Nov 30, 2012 at 2:13
  • I just want to ask people to take any anger at iTunes somewhere else. The only thing that sucks or worse is one individual's perception or surprise when they didn't forsee change. In 3 weeks, that anger will seem silly at best, so please head over to the Ask Different Chat room to vent if you really need to. Thanks for the keeping this a great place to cover the facts rather than the opinions. If anyone really wants to rip iTunes 11 to shreds - we have a blog and editorial team to assist.
    – bmike
    Nov 30, 2012 at 16:11
  • 1
    @bmike someone asked what was wrong with iTunes 11, and I gave my reasons. Probably it came off as a little ranty as I was still quite peeved about it at the time. But I don't see what's wrong with explaining the reasons why someone would want to roll back to an earlier version of some software. Surly support type SE questions in general are aided by giving such reasons (at least they always seem to want that over at StackOverflow).
    – asmeurer
    Dec 2, 2012 at 2:19
  • The reasons why were overtaking the what and that was the primary reason I posted my comment. As a bonus, we've had several people express different reasons why so making this more generic fit all of those issues and let us close several duplicates. You are correct @asmeurer that when a question doesn't get any views or the solution isn't obvious - adding the why often improves it substantially. This question is more an exception to that rule IMO. Your answer is awesome BTW.
    – bmike
    Dec 2, 2012 at 2:55

6 Answers 6


12/8/12: I have updated my How To on my blog with a new method to go from iTunes 11 to 10.7 using Pacifist. It does not require any backup, just a copy of Pacifist, the iTunes 10.7.dmg & a little time. Click on the link below.


I've created a How To on my blog showing how to downgrade from iTunes 11 to iTunes 10.7. It also includes a link to download a copy of iTunes 10.7 if you need it.


I'll post it here too.

1) Open Terminal and run:

 sudo rm -rf /Applications/iTunes.app

This will delete the iTunes 11 application.

2) If your Music Library is in its default place, also in the terminal:

  open ~/Music/iTunes

3) Using Time Machine restore the following files:

  • Album Artwork <– Folder
  • iTunes Library
  • iTunes Library Extras.itdb
  • iTunes Library Genius.itdb
  • iTunes Library.xml
  • iTunes Library.itl
  • iTunes Music Library.xml
  • Previous iTunes Libraries <– Folder

No need to replace your iTunes Music Folder. You may not need to replace all these files but it can’t hurt.

4) Back in the terminal:

open /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks

Use Time Machine again to restore the following files:

  • AirTrafficHost.framework
  • CoreFP.framework
  • DeviceLink.framework
  • iTunesAccess.framework
  • MobileDevice.framework

5) Download iTunes 10.7


6) Install iTunes 10.7.

I rebooted for good measure, but it’s probably not necessary.

You may be prompted the first time you start up iTunes 10.7 for your password. Enter it. You should now be able to do all the things you need, including syncing your iDevices, without the nasty iTunes -42408 error many people have been getting before this method.

Enjoy iTunes 10.7!

  • Is there a way to 'fix' the itunes library file if you dont have a backup?
    – OrangeBox
    Dec 6, 2012 at 7:00
  • 1
    @OrangeBox - Check the top of this post I've created a new HowTo not requiring a backup. I think this will help you out. :)
    – Joe Streno
    Dec 9, 2012 at 1:37
  • update from OSX Yosemite, Version 10.10.1, 2017
    – jalanb
    Oct 13, 2017 at 14:43

I was able to do it by doing the following:

  • You can retrieve it from a Time Machine backup, but you have to do it manually (if you try to use the Time Machine interface, it will tell you that you can't delete it because it is "required by Mac OS X"). Instead, browse the backup drive manually, and find a date before you upgraded to iTunes 11. You might have to drag that to the desktop first, rename it to "iTunes 10", and then move it to the Applications folder (I'm not sure if it will let you just move it to the Applications folder or not; I used the Terminal to do this).

  • Next, if you opened iTunes 11, you will have to downgrade your iTunes library data. Navigate to your iTunes library (probably at ~/Music/iTunes), and downgrade iTunes Library.itl, iTunes Library Extras.itl, and iTunes Library Genius.itl, using Time Machine. You'll probably want to save both files, in case anything goes awry. I renamed the iTunes 11 versions iTunes Libraray (iTunes 11).itl, and so on, and then removed the (Original) from the names that Time Machine added.

  • Next, if you want, you can delete the new iTunes. You'll have to do this with the Terminal, since the Finder won't let you modify it. I personally kept it around, but renamed it to help prevent accidentally opening it with Quicksilver (otherwise, it will "upgrade" your iTunes library files again, and they will become unusable with iTunes 10). I personally ran

sudo mv /Applications/iTunes.app/ /Applications/CrapTunes.app

in the Terminal. If you really want to delete it, run

sudo rm -rf /Applications/iTunes.app/.

I don't know if this will make it reappear in the App Store. If so, you'll have to be careful to not reinstall it there.

  • Finally, I had my iPad wirelessly connected to iTunes 11 when it was open, and it seems to have changed that somehow to not be recognizable to iTunes 10. It just tells me that the iPad needs to be reset. I don't know how to fix that. Fortunately, I use iCloud backups, so I never really needed to sync with iTunes anyway. But you'll want to enable "Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically" in the "Devices" section of the iTunes preferences, or else it will constantly bug you about this, especially if you have wireless syncing enabled. (even with that option, it still bugs me). You'll have to disable wireless syncing on all your iDevices. Or else figure out how to reinstall the old helpers (that might be the only issue).

UPDATE: Apparently you can't disable WiFi Sync except with iTunes. So you'll want to do this in iTunes 11 before you downgrade. There is no (apparent) way to do it on the iPad itself. And you can't do it in iTunes 10 if it thinks your device is broken (unless you restore the device first, which is a bad idea). I guess I should figure out how to make syncing work in iTunes 10, or else I will continue to be blasted with messages that my iPad is broken every ten minutes.

Also, I get some error about the store each time I open iTunes. It's annoying, but I haven't noticed anything that doesn't work. The store seems to work (I didn't try buying anything, but it loads anyway).

And more importantly, playing music works, and it isn't s**t broken like iTunes 11!

  • Does Apple SE support code blocks in answers (like StackOverflow)?
    – asmeurer
    Nov 30, 2012 at 2:12
  • You'll also probably want to avoid updating the remote app on your iPhone/iPad if you use that. I seriously doubt it works with iTunes 10 (and even if it does, it won't have the iTunes DJ support, as they killed that feature).
    – asmeurer
    Nov 30, 2012 at 2:22
  • 1
    It's worth noting that iTunes stores a copy of the previous library file in the ~/Music/iTunes/Previous iTunes Libraries folder when upgrading.
    – robmathers
    Nov 30, 2012 at 2:31
  • @robmathers Ah, I didn't notice that. Still, it's probably a good idea to downgrade those other two files as well (I noticed that they were modified after running iTunes 11).
    – asmeurer
    Nov 30, 2012 at 2:38
  • Yes, as long as the backups are recent enough, Time Machine is a decent way to do it. I'm pretty sure the other files are auto-generated though.
    – robmathers
    Nov 30, 2012 at 2:39

"Also, I get some error about the store each time I open iTunes. It's annoying, but I haven't noticed anything that doesn't work. The store seems to work (I didn't try buying anything, but it loads anyway)."

The error you get is -42408. A friend got the same error when I tried to downgrade to 10.7. He did not receive my warning in time, and upgraded. You need to reinstall OS X and reinstall iTunes 10.7. The error you receive is a major problem because you cannot authorize the Mac through iTunes anymore. Try it and you get another error saying it can't be authorized. So iTunes 11 really jacks up the system and going back is impossible without an OS reinstall.

  • Well I never use the iTunes Store, except on my iPhone and iPad, so it's not a big deal to me. But this is good to know about.
    – asmeurer
    Nov 30, 2012 at 15:34
  • 1
    Have you tried just re-running the iTunes 10.7 installer rather than reinstalling the OS. My hunch is the OS reinstall (assuming Lion or Mountain Lion) would migrate all the newer USBMUXD rather than strip them from the system. Also, an older OS wipe and install should drop the older iTunes so perhaps that is the easiest path. I happen to like the current iTunes so I'm not actually planning to try either...
    – bmike
    Nov 30, 2012 at 16:06
  • But where to get ahold of the 10.7 installer?
    – asmeurer
    Nov 30, 2012 at 19:45
  • And anyway, there's no reason to believe that the 10.7 installer would replace everything from 11. If iTunes 11 includes some new files, they will be left alone, but it's still possible that they could screw with iTunes 10.
    – asmeurer
    Nov 30, 2012 at 19:49
  • I managed to find a link to a Mac iTunes 10.7 installer at karthikk.net/2012/12/…. The link is on an Apple server. support.apple.com/kb/DL1576 gives the SHA1, which matches. I'll report back on my answer if the installer works.
    – asmeurer
    Dec 2, 2012 at 2:01


You can see all the components upgraded/replaced by itunes.11 by opening this installer package with Pacifist.

To restore the itunes related components I removed iTunes 11 as root then restored itunes 10.7 by unpacking the included subpackages with replace / overwrite. Apply administrator privileges, you have to confirm each action to be sure. After all restore permissions, reboot, restore your library. If hit with the 42408 bug You should (probably) restore the DVDPlayback.framework too. You may have to delete some caches, preferences related to the iTunes-Store. Resign and assign again.


In general, you should have a backup before installing a new version as well as one immediately after installing the new version so you can simply restore your system from that backup if you find the new application is not to your liking or has bugs or breaks some other piece of software.

Yes, this is time consuming, but many updates also come with helper applications, frameworks so you can't just restore the older version of the program. Also, iTunes literally modifies the library and database and saves the old library in a special folder just in case you need that older file for when you restore the system to where it was before the update.

I'm sure someone will pick apart every file the iTunes installer actually changed and do the technical work to show how you can avoid using your backup, but I haven't done that work yet (or seen someone blog about how to do this). I am sure we'll get an answer here since I know a lot of people that are going to resist (for good reason) the changes to iTunes and choose to not use it temporarily or permanently.

Also - if you have AppleCare - you can just call Apple for help in rolling back this update. A visit to the genius bar is also worth doing if you either don't have a backup or are not comfortable with restoring your whole system.

  • I realize this isn't the answer most would like - but I felt that it might help some people that don't want to wade into terminal to delete things the system tries hard to not let users move or delete.
    – bmike
    Nov 30, 2012 at 16:16
  • Actually, seeing what an installer package modifies is very easy. I think Installer itself lets you do this. At any rate, you could use Pacifist.
    – asmeurer
    Nov 30, 2012 at 19:45

Probably the easiest way to get iTunes 10.7 back is to remove iTunes from Applications, download the old version, and then restore the library data from an autobackup

$ cd Music/iTunes
$ ls "Previous iTunes Libraries/"
$ cp "Previous iTunes Libraries/iTunes Library 2013-03-12.itl" "iTunes Library.itl"

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