Downgrading to Mountain Lion on 2012 Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jw74, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. jw74 macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2009
    I need to downgrade to ML on a Mini that came with Mavericks.
    Has anyone done this successfully?
    I made a bootable ML USB flash drive.
    When I boot off if it, it won't let me install to the Mac HD.
    However, it seem like it will let me install ML on the second drive(I have the server Mini w/two HDDs).
    This is all a test right now, as I'm replacing both HDDs with an SSD for the boot drive and a 7200 HDD for data.
    I had planned on installing ML on the original HDD and clone it to the SSD and mount this externally to test it before I open up the Mini.
    Any ideas?
  2. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    You can't downgrade to an OS lower than the one it shipped with.
  3. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    It's a 2012, should go back to ML.
  4. jdphoto macrumors 6502


    Jan 13, 2014
    Did you format Mac HD in Disk Utility (the disk utility that is available when booting from the flash drive) before you tried the install?
  5. Bollockser macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2014
    You might have to reformat the hard drive first.
    And the 2012 Mini came with 10.8 originally.
  6. jbarley macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2006
    Vancouver Island
    Internet Recovery (alt+cmd+R) at power on might do the trick.
    It won't do any harm to try, and should install Mountain Lion seeing how 2012s originally shipped with ML.
  7. jw74 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2009
    I didn't. I had just made the bootable drive and was testing it. That might be it.
    I'm pretty sure I heard that it could be done because of the original OS. But I couldn't find any threads that were definitive.
    I guess I'll have to see when I'm ready to do put in the new drives.
  8. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    You can put 10.8.5 on the 2012 Mini without an issue, but you probably will need to make an installer disk and start up from that and run your installation. Note that if you use internet recovery at any point, you'll get Mavericks back.
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    First -- DISREGARD the advice given in post 2. If it's a 2012 Mini, there's no reason why it won't run Mountain Lion. I doubt anything inside was changed since its introduction that would prevent you from doing this.

    Having said that -- since you intend to replace the internal drives, I would suggest this course of action:
    1. You'll need a way to connect the "new drive" externally. It could be a USB3/SATA dock, or an external case, or a USB3 "dongle type" connector.
    2. Connect the drive and see if you can install OS 10.8 onto the new drive. It should install without problems.
    3. If the basic installation works, then it's time to thoroughly "prep" the drive BEFORE you put it into the Mini. This involves migrating accounts and data, updating the OS to 10.8.5, etc.
    4. Then do at least one (preferably several) "test boots" to see if the drive will boot and run the Mini as intended, and to assure yourself that it is set up as you wish.
    5. If things are ok, now it's time to "do the surgery" and swap the drives around.
  10. for this macrumors regular

    Nov 18, 2014
    I've done that with my new late 2012 mini which came with Mavericks pre-installed from the factory using 10.8.3 installer on an SD card. I don't remember but you may have to erase the drive before installing since it contains a newer OS than the installer. Or try resetting PRAM, it might help.
  11. jw74 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2009
    Sounds like a good plan. Thanks!
    I'm getting two usb 3.0 enclosures for the original Mini drives. So I'll have that going for me.
    Does it make any sense to install ML on the original drive first and clone that to the SSD via usb? Your way seems more direct.
    This computer is going to be used mainly for Pro Tools and other audio, so I won't really need to migrate anything. Pretty much a blank slate.
  12. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    Did they change the "OS it ships with policy" on the Internet recovery?

    Fortunately I've got some of those fresh, new, butt-slow Mini 5400rpm drives in a drawer somewhere, and they're all Mountain Lion.
  13. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Nothing has changed, but this thread is a bit confusing because the Mini went without an update for so long.

    Internet recovery will always install the OS version that came from the factory. But the 2012 Mini was sold in calendar year 2012 with Mountain Lion then later in calendar year 2013 with Mavericks, so depending on when you bought it the "factory" OS could be either.

    Normally because of driver issues you can't go back to an earlier version than what was shipped, but since the 2012 Mini spanned two years and two OS X versions, it is a bit of a edge case where you can go back.
  14. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Downgrading OSX has nothing to do with policy and everything to do with containing appropriate software drivers to run the physical hardware.

    The 2012 Mini was released when Mountain Lion was current. So Mountain Lion contains the appropriate drivers to run the 2012 Mini. Later in the year when Mavericks was released the 2012 Mini did not change its physical hardware. But Mavericks also contains the appropriate drivers for the 2012 Mini.
  15. MacInTO macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2005
    Canada, eh!
    Can you change the startup drive to the one with ML on it?
  16. jw74 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2009
    Yes, I can boot to the USB drive with ML on it.
    It boots to the OS X Utilities screen where I can restore, reinstall…
    The reinstall has the ML icon.
  17. Larry-K, Nov 18, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014

    Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    Yeah, when they take that long to update something, I wouldn't be surprised if Panther came up.
    When I finally get around to it, I guess I'll do an Internet Recovery just to see what I get.
  18. jw74 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2009
    It'll probably be ML, if that's what it shipped with.
    Mine was Mavericks; even when I did it off of the ML boot drive.
  19. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    I tried it on my two-week-old 2012. Internet Recovery wanted to install Yosemite. Now I'm using a Mavericks clone disk running in a dock. Its recovery partition is installing Mavericks on the second SSD.

    I'm going to see how a Time Machine restored Mavericks works out. I've sudden gotten tired of dealing with Yosemite.
  20. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    What problems are you having with Yosemite that Mavericks will solve?
  21. Apple06 macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2012
    From what I've read, if you updated to Yosemeti and did an Internet Restore it will put back Yosemeti. You will have to wipe your drive clean inorder to get your "factory" OS back via Internet Restore.
  22. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    I've had problems with iTunes. Closing on 10.10.0 generated an app shut down error message regardless of how it was closed. On 10.10.1 iTunes would not run for a day. After downloading and installing iTunes it resumed opening after a few system shut downs.

    Slower start up and shut down than the same system on Mavericks.

    I generally like the look of Yosemite but iTunes was really screwed over by the Microsoft-like "lets move stuff all around so it looks reimagined and new".

    I installed Mav on the second SSD. It is really a big PITA to get Office 2011 and a little PITA to get CS6 going again. I am probably just still mad at myself for getting all fanboy-like and upgrading to Yosemite in the first place. I had two perfectly running Mavericks installations running.
  23. Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    I worked on a friend's machine with Yosemite over the weekend , and it's pretty unimpressive looking.

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