Going back to High Sierra

Dr. McKay

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2010
653
44
Belgium, Europe
I'm considering going back to High Sierra on both my Macbook Pro (2015 model, original OS Sierra) and my iMac (2017 model, original OS High Sierra).

I'm currently running Catalina on the Macbook Pro, and Mojave on the iMac. Can I just do a clean install on both machines of High Sierra and just put my backup back from iCloud without issues ? What about Photos ?
 

Soba

macrumors 6502
May 28, 2003
261
285
Rochester, NY
I'm considering going back to High Sierra on both my Macbook Pro (2015 model, original OS Sierra) and my iMac (2017 model, original OS High Sierra).

I'm currently running Catalina on the Macbook Pro, and Mojave on the iMac. Can I just do a clean install on both machines of High Sierra and just put my backup back from iCloud without issues ? What about Photos ?
I am speculating a bit because I have not done this in a long time, but rolling back to prior versions often has a lot of "gotchas" and can be nightmarish.

You might be able to pull down your photos if the Photos app has stored them in iCloud. Other than this, not much is backed up to iCloud, so I'm not sure what backups you are referring to aside from your keychain, mail configuration, and a few other small things.

In your situation, assuming that you have a Time Machine backup, restoring from such a backup is not practical; you cannot easily transfer information from a complete backup of a later macOS version to an earlier version. It's possible to do this by manually finding and moving files from your backup, but this is a major undertaking and it's very difficult to find everything.

Unless you have a very pressing and specific need, I don't recommend that you go back. High Sierra is only supported with security updates for about another 8 months. When macOS 10.16 is released (presumably in September), support for High Sierra will be officially dropped.

Mojave is a good system to be on at this point. It is supported until around September of 2021. Catalina is very problematic, but since you're already using it on one of your systems, I suggest muddling through with it and just waiting for it to improve. Make sure you run software update on your Catalina Mac to keep it up to date.
 
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Dr. McKay

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2010
653
44
Belgium, Europe
With backups I mean everything in my home folder (Pictures, Music...) that's backed up to iCloud (I have a 2Tb subscription) and I also have Google backup & sync which backs up the same folder.
For Photos, I'm not sure, as the version in High Sierra is an older one so it might not be compatible with my Mojave or Catalina library (I vaguely remember Catalina mentioning something about updating my Photos library after install).
Also, I still use iTunes to sync my iPod classic, don't know if that would be a problem after having used it with Mojave...

I could go back to Mojave, that's true, but in my experience, I felt that High Sierra felt more responsive overall. Could be my imagination but I found it to be more stable as well (I've had applications just quit without error messages on both Mojave and Catalina, something I never experienced on High Sierra).
At work, we've got around 40 Macs still on Sierra, but we are behind the company firewall. Still, don't think I should be too worried about security. Or should I ?
At home, I'm behind a router for all my wired and wireless computing stuff, so I'm not connected directly to my provider's cable modem.

The reason why I would go back is first of all because of the stability (IMHO) and also because I might phase out Apple products in the future. I'll probably cancel my iCloud subscription and use Google as my primary backup, getting an Office 365 subscription instead of iCloud and use OneDrive as my secondary backup. As a matter of test, to see if I can live without Apple.
I'll still need MacOS, since I regularly work from home, and I cannot do that without Mac OS. So I'll be fine with High Sierra, for some time to come since the company Macs won't be upgraded for years.

As for my iPhone, I'll most likely be trading it in for a Blackberry Key2, after having tried one a couple of weeks ago. Made me realize how much I miss a phone with real buttons : my first touch screen phone was the iPhone 4S and after all these years, I still cannot type one word without errors on a virtual keyboard...

But I'll have to see first if it's not too much hassle to downgrade first...
 
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Soba

macrumors 6502
May 28, 2003
261
285
Rochester, NY
With backups I mean everything in my home folder (Pictures, Music...) that's backed up to iCloud (I have a 2Tb subscription) and I also have Google backup & sync which backs up the same folder.
For Photos, I'm not sure, as the version in High Sierra is an older one so it might not be compatible with my Mojave or Catalina library (I vaguely remember Catalina mentioning something about updating my Photos library after install).
Also, I still use iTunes to sync my iPod classic, don't know if that would be a problem after having used it with Mojave...

I could go back to Mojave, that's true, but in my experience, I felt that High Sierra felt more responsive overall. Could be my imagination but I found it to be more stable as well (I've had applications just quit without error messages on both Mojave and Catalina, something I never experienced on High Sierra).
At work, we've got around 40 Macs still on Sierra, but we are behind the company firewall. Still, don't think I should be too worried about security. Or should I ?
At home, I'm behind a router for all my wired and wireless computing stuff, so I'm not connected directly to my provider's cable modem.

The reason why I would go back is first of all because of the stability (IMHO) and also because I might phase out Apple products in the future. I'll probably cancel my iCloud subscription and use Google as my primary backup, getting an Office 365 subscription instead of iCloud and use OneDrive as my secondary backup. As a matter of test, to see if I can live without Apple.
I'll still need MacOS, since I regularly work from home, and I cannot do that without Mac OS. So I'll be fine with High Sierra, for some time to come since the company Macs won't be upgraded for years.

As for my iPhone, I'll most likely be trading it in for a Blackberry Key2, after having tried one a couple of weeks ago. Made me realize how much I miss a phone with real buttons : my first touch screen phone was the iPhone 4S and after all these years, I still cannot type one word without errors on a virtual keyboard...

But I'll have to see first if it's not too much hassle to downgrade first...
You seem to have a good handle on your files, but if you'd like to try going back, I recommend that you do a complete backup of your Macs using Time Machine (you can use one drive to back up both Macs, as long as it's large enough) or another method such as SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner. This will make it trivial to return to Mojave/Catalina if going back ends up being too big a hassle or any of your files have been overlooked with your existing backup mechanism.

Security updates are important on any system that is networked, whether behind a firewall or not. Most security problems are exploited by user-initiated actions, not unsolicited attacks on a connected system. Unless your system is totally isolated from the Internet, it's best to stay up to date or you're asking for trouble.

I'm a little surprised at your company's stance. Sierra should no longer be used on a company network unless there are significant steps being taken to isolate those Macs from exploits.
 

Dr. McKay

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 20, 2010
653
44
Belgium, Europe
Thanks for the advice about Carbon Copy Cloner, although I already have a TM backup of my iMac. Don't have a backup of my MB Pro since that just holds duplicate files of my iMac (through iCloud sync).
At my company, we have about 40 Macs, used for graphic design (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign). We're still on CS6, long story.
We've already got CC licences but can't use them yet since our new DAM and PIM database isn't operational yet. We've had a few setbacks during testing and the result is that we're now looking for a new supplier/developer. We've just lost about 2 years worth of time and we're now looking for a replacement ASAP.

Anyway, I'll try downgrading my MB Pro first, shouldn't be a problem. Keep you posted...
 

Wowfunhappy

macrumors newbie
Mar 12, 2019
21
10
I could go back to Mojave, that's true, but in my experience, I felt that High Sierra felt more responsive overall. Could be my imagination but I found it to be more stable as well (I've had applications just quit without error messages on both Mojave and Catalina, something I never experienced on High Sierra).
Not just you, I've absolutely found the same thing. High Sierra is broadly more stable, too, with less crashes and weird bugs.
 

Isamilis

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2012
677
121
Not just you, I've absolutely found the same thing. High Sierra is broadly more stable, too, with less crashes and weird bugs.
Hmm... I also have same experience. More stable yes. However if using disk encryption it took much slower compared to encrypted Mojave.
 

maverick28

macrumors 6502
Mar 14, 2014
281
223
Downgrading to High Sierra is entirely possible and with iCloud you shouldn't experience any issues except you will be asked to sign in again and update your preferences which is a routine procedure. Likewise, using photos with earlier Photos shouldn't invoke compatibility problems either. Where you can hit the wall is trying to use iWork apps to open docs created with the current iWork, the same with software like FCPX with different system requirements for HS and Mojave/Catalina. I don't know how they're supposed to handle this situation, perhaps will offer to create compatible duplicates.