Downgrading OS (how far back?)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by kriista1234, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. kriista1234 macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    I have a circa 2011 Mac Mini that is suuuper slow since (stupidly) upgrading to Sierra (10.12). I've been meaning to roll that back for a while, but am finally now getting around to doing that.

    My idea is to roll back as far as I can while still having iCloud work across my machines, but then I realized that I've probably 'upgraded' my Photos and iTunes libraries along the way.

    I suppose it's not a problem for iTunes as I can just update iTunes until it recognizes my current library, but I don't remember at what point it changed from iPhoto to Photos, and if the libraries are compatible (I imagine they are not).

    I was thinking of going back to 10.8, so I have iCloud and iMessages, but I'm not sure what to do about Photos/iPhoto.

    Anyone have any experience with this kind of downgrading?
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    It might just be better to bite the bullet and fit an SSD to improve performance. That way you can run future updates with all the security and OS features. With an SSD and a RAM upgrade to 8GB or higher (2x4GB 1333MHz SODIMM), it'll run better than new.
  3. kriista1234 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    I've got 9gb ram in it now (2x4gb plus 1gb? i dont even remember). When I first got it it was on 10.9 or so and it ran ok, with 10.12 really slowing it down big time.

    Since it's an older machine I don't know if it's (financially) worth it to put a 500gb SSD in there (its my main home/media computer, so smaller than that would suck).
  4. CoastalOR macrumors 68020


    Jan 19, 2015
    Oregon, USA
    iPhoto was replaced with Photos in Yosemite (I think 10.10.3 or 10.10.4).
  5. kriista1234 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    I guess at worst case I can just downgrade to 10.10. It was the jump from 10.11 to 10.12 that specifically really bad.
  6. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    As you might know, you'll only be able to downgrade as far back as the OS that the computer shipped with. Also, previous OS X versions are not available on the App Store unless you previously downloaded them. (I think - just from reading, not personal experience.)
  7. kriista1234 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    It would have shipped with Lion era, which I'd roll all the way back to if it wasn't for iMessage being handy, so 10.8 would be my target.

    I don't have an installer for it, but I'd just try to download it and make a bootable USB stick.
  8. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Do you have 10.8 (Mountain Lion) in the Purchased tab of your App Store?
    If it in that list, it would be named OS X Mountain Lion, and you can download by clicking the Download button.
    It will download to your Applications folder. When complete, you will get a message that your system is too old for the installer to run. So you just Quit the installer, and use one of the methods that you can find to create a bootable USB installer.
    An 8GB flash drive is the ideal size for that.
  9. janitor3 macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I'm using a 2010 mac mini running Sierra, it's fast. All I did was put in 8GB Ram and a 450GB SSD.
    Machine will do me for a good few more years.
  10. bartvk macrumors 6502


    Dec 29, 2016
    The Netherlands
    2011 is quite recent, CPU wise. I dare say it's actually the most optimum age to put an SSD in there.

    Putting an old OS in there will introduce a host of other less apparent problems like security holes. Especially since it's your main machine, that new SSD will really mean it'll feel like a completely different machine.
  11. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    Since it's your primary machine, do the SSD. You have a 6-year-old hard drive, which is a prime candidate for failure. The cost of a 500GB or even 1TB SSD is very reasonable. Or if you don't want the hassle of the actual installation, get an external Thunderbolt SSD and make that your boot drive. You won't regret it.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Krista -

    Since you have a 2011 (which has thunderbolt but not USB3), the fastest, easiest, and SAFEST way to get "SSD speed" out of it is to buy a thunderbolt drive with an SSD and plug that into the thunderbolt port.

    You can then set it up to become your "external booter".

    This will yield very good speeds with the latest versions of the OS (El Capitan or Sierra), and you don't risk breaking something by opening the iMac and installing a drive inside.

    You can install the OS, apps, and user accounts onto the SSD.
    Keep LARGE libraries of music, photos, or movies on the internal hard drive.

    This involves a few extra setup steps but isn't hard to do.

    You will enjoy the faster speeds!

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