Macbook with Sierra downgraded to El Capitan automatically

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by hanz079, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. hanz079 macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2017
    Hello guys.

    I am new to the forum although i have been a lurker for quite sometime.
    Last month, i got a Retina Macbook for my wife as a Xmas present. I remember clicking on the "about this mac" and it shows the macbook comes installed with MacOS Sierra.

    Today, i checked again and miraculously, it is now MacOS El Capitan.
    I clicked on software update and it is allowing me update to Sierra.

    What gives? Did the OS downgrade itself? Should i update to Sierra now? What if if happens again? Anyone encountered such problems?

    Thanks in advance.
    This is my 1st foray into Mac computers having been a lifelong windows user.
    So amy help is greatly appreciated.
  2. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Macs have no functionality that would downgrade the operating system automatically. It's not a trivial process as the disk needs to be erased and a user needs to click on lots of confirmation dialogs for the installation process. I would have to assume you simply misread the first time you looked at the computer.
  3. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    Yep, you're just mistaken about what you saw. Absolutely not possible.
  4. hanz079 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2017
    I have included a screenshot of my order invoice from Apple online.
    It states that it come preloaded with Sierra.
    I remembered it 100% the 1st time i checked it was Sierra.
    Unfortunately i have no picture as proof besides the invoice.

    And today, it has become like this...
    I have included a pic as well.

    I have asked some of my more well knowleageable friends that used Apple Computers longer than me and they are dumbfounded as well.

    They adviced me to post here...

    Hope that clears up some doubts...

    Attached Files:

  5. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    Who you gonna believe, me or your own lyin' eyes? :)

    Like I said, not possible. Invoice says Sierra, but obviously that didn't happen, or the whole machine got erased & reinstalled to El Capitan (which would wipe it back to out-of-the box condition, have to re-create a user, etc - and you certainly would have noticed that)
  6. Rok73 macrumors 65816


    Apr 21, 2015
    Planet Earth
    But only because it was listed in an order confirmation it still is possible that the MacBook was delivered with a preinstalled El Capitan. A Mac doesn't downgrade itself.

    Howver, just upgrade it. LOL
  7. hanz079 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2017
    If only i still have that photo i taken the 1st time i fired up the macbook and checked "about this mac"...
    Unfortunately i don't...
    Since most of u said it's impossible... I guess i better get my eyes checked then...
    Thanks for the replies
    --- Post Merged, Jan 6, 2017 ---
    One thing to ponder though.
    2 of my friends bought Mac computers last month.
    A Retina Macbook M7 and a Mbp 2013... Both comes preloaded with Sierra.
    Both of them bought thru brick and mortar shops while i bought mine from Apple online directly.
    I would suppose Apple ships their products with the latest software out of the box? Considering Sierra was released months back?
    Just find it weird.
    I still stick by what i saw and wait with a slim hope that someone might have encountered the same problem and able to troubleshoot it...
  8. cswifx Suspended


    Dec 15, 2016
    Did you boot from another partition that had Sierra installed? There's no way a downgrade is possible without a full wipe.
  9. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    It depends if it's something they had in inventory for a while.
  10. hanz079 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2017
    Not that I know... 256gb of storage and I am clueless about partitioning at this point.
  11. sidewinder macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2008
    Northern California
    Either you are pulling our legs, someone with access to you system is playing a joke on you, or your machine shipped with El Capitan. You can choose to ignore what everyone here is telling you but that is pointless. El Capitan didn't automagically install itself on your system. That is a fact.
  12. hanz079 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2017
    I can assure you that I am not pulling your legs...
    I know there may be some reservations on a wndows user here but a good friend of mine spent alot of time showing me the ropes on macOS UI and teaching me slowly why i need to switch to Apple computers.
    And i finally did...
    But anyhow... This is not a big deal for me personally. I will probably upgrade the OS to Sierra on my own and hope there won't be any similar occurences...
  13. sidewinder macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2008
    Northern California
    Again, El Capitan didn't automagically install itself on your system. That is a fact.
  14. fisherking macrumors 603


    Jul 16, 2010
    ny somewhere
    you must have gotten a pop up window to install sierra at the start, the mac cannot downgrade itself...
  15. Hyun macrumors newbie


    May 16, 2017
    This happened to me too. He is not lying. I upgraded to Mac OS Sierra but it revert back to El Capitan. I have not upgraded since fearing it would revert back since downloading Mac OS Sierra is in Gigas. I live in a country where the internet speed suck.
  16. aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015
    As others have pointed out, this is not possible. The only thing that is maaaaaaybeeeeee possible (and this is a long stretch of the imagination) is that there was no downgrade but, for some reason, the About this Mac is displaying a different version by mistake. I think when I installed 1st beta of Sierra, the About This Mac dialog displayed El Capitan by mistake, even though it was Sierra Developer Beta 1.

    So, assuming he's not making this up:
    - either the OP is just mistaken - memory can play tricks on us
    - Sierra was never installed but there was some bug that displayed that it was Sierra
    - Sierra is still installed but, for some reason, it says El Capitan instead

    But that the OS really downgraded itself - that does not seem possible to me. I googled a bit and there are people reporting the issue of OS X or macOS downgrade - but not one was confirmed as something that really happened. Downgrading is not so simple that it can happen without user intervention - and without wiping the disk and stuff. So, what I believe is that there was an issue with the factory installed OS, perhaps Sierra was never installed (the MacBook originally came with El Capitan and maybe they did some weird mass-upgrade that didn't really upgrade anything but reported it did - I don't know, making this up).

    So, no, it didn't downgrade but maybe there was a bug that displayed the wrong version of macOS.
    --- Post Merged, May 17, 2017 ---
    It won't downgrade. I have no idea what happened to you, what you did, what you saw, etc. I don't want to go into all the possible explanations, but I can tell you that if you install Sierra it will not downgrade to El Capitan.

    But if you really want to be sure and not waste bandwidth - download Sierra, but before you start the install, just copy the Sierra Installer to a different location as backup. If it does "downgrade" (even though that is, well, impossible and won't happen) - you don't have to download it again.

    But it won't downgrade.
  17. 8692574 Suspended


    Mar 18, 2006
    Not possible, really, there is no way a computer can downgrade itself!
  18. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    To test this, open Terminal and type "uname -a" and post the output.
  19. TonyK macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2009
    There is no OS that I know of that could downgrade itself. As others have written, if it did downgrade itself, then applications and settings would have been lost in any use case I can imagine as it would be a wipe and re-install condition.
  20. BLUEDOG314 macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2015
    I won't repeat what others have said, but if you'd like to investigate more to put your mind at rest navigate to /var/log and double click on install.log. It will open in console and from there you can search for things like 10.11, 10.11.6 etc. You should have no mention of Sierra or 10.12. I suppose there is a very small chance that PART of an update for Sierra, say like a piece of a version of iTunes used in like 10.9-10.12 could make mention to Sierra but thats all I can think of. I am running 10.12.5 on a 2016 Macbook, and there are references to Snow Leopard in my install log even though my computer shipped with El Capitan and could never run Snow Leopard.
  21. mikecwest macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2013
    I will repeat what others said. It is NOT possible for it to downgrade by itself. It also will NOT upgrade to a major new OS (like El Capitan to Sierra, or Sierra to WhateverComesNext) on it's own.

    Not only that, it IS possible to re-install without a "complete wipe," you just have to remove the "right files"....leaving your documents, downloads, etc..... should be OK.
  22. Ned80 macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2018
    I saw post from 2017 on this forum when you were trying to explain how your MacBook pro downgraded from Sierra to El Capitan by itself. Fun fact it was so many ppl who said that it is not possible.
    Well unfortunately, I just had same issue. As Windows user I don't know a lot about Mac, but 30 min. Ago I just saw how Mac of my wife get restarted BY ITSELF (it is wired to TV) and reboot with El Capitan. Before that everything was working normally and operating system was Sierra. Machine was bought in USA in official Apple store Danbury, Connecticut year and a half ago. If you read this pls tell me what is the next step, how did you fix the problem. Btw all files are here, nothing changed except desktop cover photo which now El Capitan generic layout?!!! it is so freaking weird. Thank you.
  23. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Pretty simple, I think.
    You have another partition (or an external drive) with El Capitan installed.
    You would be able to tell by the size of the drive, and that your apps are the default Apple apps.
    As has been stated here multiple times - the system will not downgrade by itself. There's too many steps that require your input and attention, before the system can be downgraded.
    Your wife's Mac booted to another partition or a different drive. That's the likely scenario.
    You will see your Sierra system in System Preferences/Startup Disk pref pane. Just choose your normal Sierra (probably 10.12.6 version) in that pane, then restart. You will be back to your normal system then.
  24. Ned80 macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2018
    Thank You for respond. I went on Sys pref. Startup disc and it is only one partition with damn el capitan. This is unbelievable. I will go tomorrow to that store to fix it. We never changed system from Sierra or update it to High S. In description of product stand OS Sierra. Ridiculous

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