Downgrade unsupported Mac to Snow Leapord

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jajajames, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. jajajames, Feb 14, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014

    jajajames macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    Hey guys,

    Seriously need you help! If someone can come out with a plan, I will love them forever especially as its valentines day <3

    Basically here is what I want!

    My Music Studio at home is running 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) Runs amazing, so much better than this new stuff and my MacBook Pro is minimum 10.7 as its late 2011.

    Basically I have tried to Carbon Clone Copy my Mac Pro (Studio Mac) to the internal HD on my MacBook Pro 2011. It won't let me boot as apparently you can not downgrade to earlier than you purchased but I know there is a way round this as I can boot 10.6.8 from an external drive just not an internal one.

    All I want is two identical systems running so when I am working around and about studios on my laptop I can bring it back into my main home studio on my Mac Pro and just continue the work flow without any pains! If anyone knows any way around this, like deleting certain files or whatever please just let me know!


    PS really want to use the carbon copy instead of having to install fresh!
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    The late 2011 MBP still can run Snow Leopard natively if you can get your hands on a retail copy of 10.6.8. I've also tested this on a mid-2011 iMac (it shipped with Lion).

    You could try to restore a 10.6.8 Time Machine image to your late-2011 MBP?
  3. jajajames thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    Hey man, thanks for the reply! Most appreciated Okay man, I have a retail copy of snow leopard at home it will just work as straight install? Or is there a work round?
  4. cal6n, Feb 14, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014

    cal6n macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2004
    Gloucester, UK
    What macbook Pro do you have? The following is valid for the 13" models with the HD3000 graphics. I know because I used this approach myself to skip Lion. It may not work for models with discrete graphics, but it probably will because the early and late 2011 models all use ATI 6XXX cards. I don't believe it will work with 2012 models, due to the HD4000 graphics being missing in Snow Leopard.

    With that out of the way, you can install Snow Leopard by using the original install media from the early 2011 Macbook Pro. These discs are sometimes available from eBay. The minimum version that will install natively is 10.6.6, I believe, so the retail version of Snow Leopard (10.6.3) won't do the job. I know, I've tried...

    However, depending on the model of your Mac Pro, you might be able to connect your Macbook Pro via Firewire Target mode and use a retail Snow Leopard install disc. For this to work, a standard Mac Pro graphics card earlier than the 5770/5870 (they need 10.6.4) must be installed. And no flashed PC cards, OK. If you were to try this, it's crucial that you leave your Macbook Pro in target disc mode after the install and update it to at least 10.6.6 before trying to boot it on its own.

    Either way, before installing Snow Leopard, you'll need to erase and format the entire hard drive using Disk Utility while booted from the installer in order to remove the recovery partition.

    As far as I know, these are the only two ways of ensuring a correctly installed, stable system. I really wouldn't advise mucking around with third-party stuff, cloning inappropriate systems where they're not wanted.

    *EDIT* If you must try to clone your Mac Pro system using CCC, you might get away with it, but it must be 10.6.6 or later and you'll need to erase and format the entire Macbook Pro drive first via Target Disk mode.


    Unfortunately, Apple never released a 10.6.8 retail disc. The latest is the 10.6.3 version.

    And I don't think restoring a Time Machine backup will work with Snow Leopard, as this requires you to boot from the DVD first. I believe the first version of Time Machine that was bootable was Lion. I could be wrong, though...
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Sounds like you have a work around, boot from an external disk. I was going t put that the earliest version you can run is the one that was originally installed on your Mac, but it seems you got this working in way. Typically this occurs because the older version of OSX does not have the preparer device drivers for the hardware
  6. jajajames thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    I think there must be a work around man as if it lets you boot from an external drive how would it not have the drivers to do it internally? Its just apples way of trying to control all us! Problem is I won't get the same speed working externally and I need all the power I can get on my Logic Sessions


    Worth a shot though!
  7. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2010
    Berlin formerly London
    I did exactly this just over a year ago for the same reason :)
    MBP late 2011 version 8,2 i7 quad 2.4 bought July 2012.

    Came with Lion pre-installed.

    Found a colleague who had a 10.6.7 ( minimum requirement ) install disk for
    a slightly older MBP 13inch.

    MBP would boot from the install disk, did a reformat and new install, then
    updated to 10.6.8

    Was not a problem once I had the DVD !!
    My commercial copy of SL was 10.6.4 IIRC and would not boot, just made a
    "peeping noise" when I tried.

    Couldn't import system settings though, had to start from scratch on that one.

    That was the only way I could make it happen, now I am on 10.8.5 anyway
    and it seems to be fine, Lion had too many issues so I look at ML as a fix
    of all that.

    Good luck :)
  8. jajajames thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    Thanks man, so do you have to reformat the internal disc for 10.6 to work in a model that came with Lion pre-installed?

    Or is it just install fresh from disc is all you have to do? NO way to copy anything over ?
  9. Marty62 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2010
    Berlin formerly London
    Internal needed reformat, had an old 10.5.8 drive from previous lappy so was able
    To import settings I think & mail / internet stuff.
    Wanted a fresh version so that's about all I did.
    I don't think you can clone your 3.5 inch drive for use in lappy BUT you can
    Do an import data on first run of the new lappy 10.6.xx
    Apps & data should be ok??
    Target disk mode via firewire IIRC
    You MUST get hold of a copy of 10.6.7 minimum to make the downgrade work !!
  10. jajajames thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2011
    Hey man that snow leapord disk comes with 10.6.3 though? Where would I get that?

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