Can I Downgrade from El Capitan (factory installed) to Lion (disc)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Mac_aroni, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. Mac_aroni macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2016
    I'm looking to replace a macbook pro 2012 with a new one so that I can continue to run some old software that is compatible with Lion but nothing newer from Apple. Although it's old hardware, most of the new macbook pro 2012 are being shipped with Mavericks or El Capitan.

    Theoretically, I should be able to install Lion since it used to be factory installed ( ). But theory and reality are two different things. ;) If I format the drive and boot to a Lion disc, will it let me install it? Will everything work correctly?

    I won't be able to test it until I buy the computer. And I'd only want this model if I can still run Lion on it. Thank you for your help.
  2. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Once a version OS X installed it is not poosible to use older versions of OS X unless you do the virtualization route!
  3. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    1. A Mac generally won't run on a system older than that which it shipped with.
    2. You generally can't use installer disks that came with one Mac to install a system on another Mac unless it is the exact same model.

    So, you should be able to install Lion on your 2012 MacBook Pro as long as the Lion installer disk is either one that came with that particular Mac, or is a full retail install disk.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 4, 2016 ---
    Do you have a spare external disk that you could use as a test? If so, format it as Apple Extended Format (Journalled). Click on the partition tab, then Options and make sure the partition map is set to GUID.

    Then install Lion on the external. Reboot holding down the Option key and select the external disk as the boot disk and see if it will boot. (It will boot very slowly over USB). It if will boot, then it should work from your internal disk.
  4. Tommo66 macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2014
    If you are asking can you run Lion on a NEW Macbook Pro then unfortunately the answer is no. New Macs only allow the current version of the OS to be installed. Virtualisation is the only option to go older, but I have never tried it so can't say for certain it would work.
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    The answer is yes. If you buy this specific model (from your link) that is still being sold as new by Apple, you will be able to install Lion on it. You just need to get your hands on the full Lion installer disk, since the new Mac won't have one. You could just clone your existing Mac to the new one also.

    I think you are getting conflicting answers here because some posters don't realize that even though you would be buying a "new" Mac, it is an old model that runs Lion.

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