Reverting Back to an Earlier Mac OS X Version

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by BradHatter, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. BradHatter, Nov 24, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014

    BradHatter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2014
    I recently had some problems with an SSD because Scannerz would keep picking up bad blocks. They would disappear eventually but in the long run as the system did it's clean up, but they were becoming rampant. I ended up having to return the SSD to the manufacturer now it seems OK.
    ( for reference).

    In any case, when I was having problems a friend came over with his Power PC based Aluminum PowerBook running Leopard. This is what ticked me off:

    • The system booted in 30 seconds with an old HD, and my system with Yosemite and an SSD was booting in nearly a minute
    • Everything loaded faster. He could click on Mail and Safari almost simultaneously and the were up and running when all I get with Yosemite is a spinning beach ball and about a minute wait
    • I just think the classic look is better looking. I can't put my finger on it, but when I look at Yosemite I think I'm looking at an OS for kiddies

    My question is this:

    How far can I regress OS wise without actually having some type of compatibility problems. I know I can't go back to Leopard because my system doesn't even support it. I can go back to Snow Leopard though.

    If I were to move this far back with an OS, would Safari work right? SL's getting old and I know that my friends version of Leopard has a Safari that won't properly open some pages.

    If I revert, and not revert back to Mavericks but waaaaayyyy back to something like Snow Leopard, what problems might I encounter.

    I'll be honest. I just don't use any of the features Apple added in a lot of their OS releases. I could functionally live wiith Leopard.
  2. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    Apple Security updates only go back several major releases now. I think Snow Leopard updates are probably done Lion is getting at least some sec updates.

    That said, there's likely some safety in running a system with low adoption numbers. Return on an OS has got to be worth the malware writer's time.

    Fastest boot in my house is a ~2001 iMac G3/400 DV SE (Slot Loading) running OS 10.5 Leopard.
  3. asriznet macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2013
    Which model of mac do you have?

    Have you tried to install a CLEAN copy of OS X Yosemite to confirm that the issue does not happen there as well? you can just install on a spare portable HDD that you have however it's better to do it on the built in storage(SSD) to isolate the SSD hardware fault.

    Base on your description, it sounds more like a hardware fault or the data that you have on the current system - a clean OS should usually resolve the issue.

    This is what I would do....

    1. do a full time machine backup
    2. erase and install OS X Yosemite on your SSD
    3. confirm again that system boots up fine, my SSD + HDD fusion drive brings me to my desktop in about 5 seconds
    4. run migration assistant to migrate your data from your time machine backup
    5. Now the tricky part is NOT to migrate everything back because that will most likely bring the problem again. I will just select "Applications + home folder" to migrate and uncheck the rest.
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    This sounds more related to the bad SSD than Yosemite. Any system that can run Yosemite and with an SSD would not have this issues, particularly the beachballs and a minute to lacuna apps.

    Also, depending on how you migrated/installed, you may have had old utilities or drivers on there causing a conflict with Yosemite.

    I won't try and sell you on Yosemite if you don't like the appearance, but don't discount it due to performance issues. I think we could get your fixed up in that department if you wanted to take another shot at Yosemite on the new SSD.
  5. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
    I don't think so. He said or implies his SSD is new since I assume it's been replaced. If you go to the App Store and read the reviews there are a lot of people having problems with Yosemite, and not just it's looks. The original problem he reported is typical when one of the memory chips in the SSD is marginal and replacing it is what the manufacturer should do.

    To the OP: No, you're not the only one that thinks Yosemite looks childish:

    and that's the second most viewed post in the Yosemite section.
  6. BradHatter thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2014
    I'm not interested in turning this into a Yosemite is good/Yosemite is bad thread. What I want to know is which OS has the best performance. Here are examples of what I'm looking for:

    1. Using the same hardware, which OS will boot the fastest?
    2. Which OS will use the least drive space?
    3. Which OS will use the least memory?
    4. If I were to run the same application on each OS, will one OS show superior performance to another?
    5. Will the age of the OS cause some compatibility problems. For example will a "new" web page be able to be read with an "old" browser, like Safari in Leopard.
    6. Which OS will have the fewest bugs?
    7. Are there lingering, as in not fixed and not going to be fixed bugs?

    Has anyone, anywhere ever done such a comparison? I saw a 2006 iMac boot a Lion volume in less than 30 seconds using an OEM HD, which can't even be fast anymore. The best I can do with an SSD on my system, when the SSD is working of course:eek: if boot Mavericks in about 40 seconds. I assume it would be twice that with a real HD, and it appears it will be even worse with Yosemite.

    Why the gross inefficiency??
  7. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sagittarius A*
    Anything less than Lion sadly is defunct and insecure. Snow Leopard's mail for example has issues with gmail and other clients now.

    Bearing in mind the earliest possible Mac OS to natively support TRIM was 10.6.8 if you want a fast lean Mac OS to use properly on the web your only choice is 10.7.5.

    Just this morning I fitted a Crucial MX100 512Gb into a 24" iMac 2006 and that booted 10.7.5 to desktop in around 25 seconds. Would have been even quicker if it was a mid 2007 version with SATA2 but nevertheless the client was very happy.
  8. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    Personally, I wouldn't want to go older than Mavericks. I'm starting to see more and more apps that require OS X 10.9 and Mavericks should get some security updates for at least two more years.
  9. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
    I do software development so I have a multi boot system that has Leopard through Yosemite on it. I also have, in case of that really, really odd emergency, multi boot PowerPC systems that have Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, and Leopard on them. Jaguar, Panther, and Tiger has not been booted in about 2 years. I assume almost no one at all is using them anymore. It's getting to the point that we never have support requests for Leopard, either.

    As far as boot speed goes, I'd say Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Lion all boot about the same, and it's reasonably quick. The worst is by far Yosemite, taking roughly 20% longer to boot than Mavericks. Mavericks takes about 20% longer to boot than Mountain Lion, and Mountain Lion takes a little longer to boot than Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Lion. Put simply, the newer the OS, the longer it takes to boot, but IMHO Yosemite takes an abnormally long time to boot.

    The OSes that use the least space will be Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion. Leopard has "fat" binaries in it that can support both PPC and Intel chips. A fat binary can be stripped so it's only for the hosting platform, and in that case Leopard would probably be the smallest, but a lot of people don't do that or they're unaware of it. Both Yosemite and Mavericks use IconServicesAgent, and initially the install may be small but as it creates icon profiles it can cut down on space by as much as 10GB. Additionally they have larger swap files. All of them may be eating up additional drive space if the sleep image file is enabled, which will eat up the exact same amount of memory as there is RAM in your system (it's a RAM snapshot.)

    Yosemite and Mavericks take by far the most memory, probably because of IconServicesAgent, which typically runs an overhead of tens to hundreds of megabytes. Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Lion all eat peanuts compared to Yosemite and Mavericks, with Mountain Lion being somewhere in the middle. You can run Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Lion comfortably on a system with 2GB of RAM. The same cannot be said for the newer OSes.

    Memory can be elusive. If you monitor memory consumption, Yosemite and Mavericks both seem to have a huge overhead after being booted, but their memory profile doesn't seem to change that radically as applications are added. Snow Leopard, Lion, and Leopard, for example, even though they may all be using well less than 1GB of RAM after being started, can eat up nearly the same amounts of memory if the same applications are all run on the same systems. I suspect that the newer OS versions are loading more of the shared libraries used in applications into memory at boot time than they were before, but that's speculation on my part.

    Performance is a tough call. I would say the for all OS versions except Yosemite, they will all likely run at comparable levels. Yosemite is supporting translucency everywhere and it seems to induce performance problems. It also appears to have limited support for old applications which may be running in some type of "legacy mode" making them much less efficient.

    The older the OS is the more likely you'll run into compatibility problems, particularly with Leopard and Snow Leopard. Some web pages use code Safari on Leopard won't understand. In some cases, stuff like flash players, plugins, etc, may not be supported at all. I've seen Snow Leopard have problems with video when using Safari, and they can often be circumvented using a different browser. I've seen none of these problems with Lion and newer OS releases.

    The OSes with the fewest bugs will likely be Mavericks and Snow Leopard, excusing the "age" problem I just described above. Snow Leopard seems to have been a refinement of Leopard, and Mavericks seems to have been a refinement of Mountain Lion. I think the buggiest OS is probably Yosemite (see the comments in the App Store for Yosemite for reference) Mountain Lion, which I still use somewhat, definitely has more bugs than Mavericks. I've personally never had any problems with Lion, but some people seem to think it had excessive bugs. I suppose it depends on what you do with the system.

    As for lingering bugs that won't be fixed, I suspect the answer is "yes," but only Apple knows for sure.
  10. OldGuyTom macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2013
    BSD has a pretty good write up there. When Yosemite came out I put it onto an external drive to test it, even though I didn't like what I'd seen in the beta versions. I figured I'd give it a try. I'm glad I only put it onto a temp partition.

    I figured that for me this might be Apple's last stand, so I started looking and examining the existing OS X versions to see which one I would stay with for a few years before moving on. I settled on Mavericks. Here are the reasons:

    1. Snow Leopard is just too old. There really are compatibility problems with the browsers not really supporting a lot of stuff, and third party companies are now beginning to phase out support on it. Apple I believe has dropped all support.

    2. Lion I just didn't like. There seems to be a number of things that I consider either bugs or oversights that were never addressed.

    3. Mountain Lion I liked but Safari is buggy. For me it crashed a lot. Some of Apple's old applications wouldn't work properly but they suddenly started working on Mavericks.

    4. Mavericks is still supported, and it's still the major version in use. I suspect it will stay that way based on all the Yosemite complaints and bugs, especially in the App Store. Mavericks seems to use more memory than the others, but not enough for me to see it as a problem.

    So, for the next few years, I'm locking myself into Mavericks. If Apple bags the teeny bopper look of Yosemite and puts together something a little more adult looking, then I'll reconsider.
  11. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Use Mavericks; and avoid shutting down or restarting

    The PowerPC Macs sub-forum is alive and well.

    I can't recall where (maybe beyond the MacRumors domain), but I read a reliable report that PowerPC Macs perform fabulously with solid state in lieu of rotational media. No surprise there.

    – that's reasonable:

    A single comparison of six versions of Mac OS X (Leopard to Yosemite inclusive) for those seven points: probably not. But there are some good answers above.

    Launch times for Chandler Desktop (a relatively obscure old app) might be better on an old PowerPC Mac Mini than on a current Mac Mini, but examples such as that are edge cases.

    All things considered, my recommendations to BradHatter are:
    • use Mavericks
    • for performance, avoid shut downs and restarts; prefer to sleep the Mac
    • for performance, avoid quitting apps; allow the OS to manage memory.
    Also, as you're interested in data integrity, maybe keep an eye on OpenZFS on OS X. It's a long time since I tested any version but I see that there's a release candidate with support for Spotlight.


    What is the difference between Intel and PPC?


    I sped through search results … without opening each individual result, I couldn't tell.
  12. leman, Dec 3, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2014

    leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Probably Yosemite.

    Yosemite or Mavericks. Sorry, this is wrong, I got confused. This goes to Snow Leopard.

    No idea. In part, because its difficult to quantify the memory used due to how OS X reports memory usage. At any rate, Mavericks and Yosemite are the most memory-efficient ones, although it does not mean that they will use the least memory (due to increased demands of services, apps, and the increased number of services)

    It really depends on what the app does. OS X frameworks are being continuously improved, so they can get faster with later versions of OS X.

    Definitely. In addition, some newer apps might be incompatible with old OSes because of the new programming libraries.

    All of them have bugs, so again, it depends on what you do and what is most important to you. In my experience, Yosemite is the least buggiest so far, but I know that many people have made different experience. I was lucky not to be affected of the WiFi issues I keep hearing about

    Tons. E.g. crappy, constantly crashing Safari on Leopard/Snow Leopard. WiFi connection drops on Mavericks.

    At any rate, you can go back to the OS X your computer was shipped with. Use the original install disks or the internet recovery (if you have a newer mac).
  13. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
    Yosemite is fast boot???????

    Are you by any chance the local "Yosemite sales rep????"

    I have split boot volumes for development and Yosemite is far and away the slowest boot around.
  14. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    News to me there is a boot "problem", my Yosemite boots same speed as previous Mavericks...
  15. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    No kidding... From my 2010 MBP with SSD, Yosemite with TRIM disable does boot, shut down, log in and out way faster than Mavericks and even Mountain Lion, although the record holder OS for all the above on my Mac is still Snow Leopard...
  16. SlCKB0Y, Dec 8, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014

    SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    sleepimage actually reduced in size from Mountain Lion to Mavericks (or maybe Lion to Mountain Lion - it's been too long).

    Previously sleepimage was the same size as the installed RAM. It was updated to be dynamic and the same size as the total used RAM. I guess this occurred because more Macs started getting smaller SSDs instead of mechanical drives whilst at the same time were getting more RAM.
  17. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    So you're maintaining that Safari beach-balling for a minute when launched is expected behaviour under Yosemite?
  18. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Mavericks /var/vm/sleepimage and compressed memory

    I found the reduction in size most noticeable following the upgrade to Mavericks.

    I assume that the compression that applies to stuff in real memory can also apply to stuff that's written to sleepimage
  19. simonsi, Dec 8, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014

    simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Kinda - the sleepimage only needs to be an image of the physical RAM, if that contains compressed data then the compressed data gets written in the image.

    So it does inherently take advantage of any compression.
  20. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
    No, that was in the OPs comments, and I didn't take it as a scientific measurement, just a general comment on Yosemite being slow.

    I would suggest reading the feedback comments in the App Store to see what types of problems people are having with Yosemite. Some people obviously have problems, while others don't.
  21. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    If I hadn't just gotten through a whole year of people moaning about how bad Mavericks was, and before that a year of how bad Mountain Lion was, and before that, Lion I would have more patience.

    Every new release of OS X is the worst release in the history of releases. People are most vocal about things that dissatisfy them and given that Yosemite probably has millions of installations by now, the actual proportion of unhappy people is likely to be minute... maybe just slightly more than usual because some people find the design changes a little jarring.

    My observations:

    1. I used Mavericks from DP2 and even at that point, it was rock solid. More solid than Mountain Lion on release for my hardware.

    2. Yosemite looks disproportionately worse on non-retina screens.

    3. I found it very jarring at first but it has actually grown on me - Mavericks now looks quite dated to me.

    4. A lot of the animations in Yosemite are way slower than they should be - I won't take this too seriously until we get to 10.10.3 and this still isn't fixed.
  22. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2012
    I'd actually have to agree with most of that. However, it seems to me that with the newer OS releases, they seem, for some reason, to be a little more hardware specific than they used to be. This trend, if it's a real trend, seemed to start at about the time ML came out. I've read about things like hard drives going to sleep and not waking up, hard drives ejecting, USB attachments not working right, but they always seem to be tied almost to specific models. For example, I've never seen or heard of any of those problems on an iMac, but I seem to be reading about a lot of them with some MacBook Pros. Those are just observations. it's not like I'm keeping reports and gathering statistical data.

    Appearance wise, large displays seem to amplify, even highlight the simplification of the UI design, possibly to a point that it's annoying to many. It's almost like they didn't test it on larger displays.

    Performance wise I wouldn't be terribly surprised if some of the libraries still have debug/trace code in them, which will slow them down. It's not really that unusual for developers to leave that stuff in during early releases.

    I would expect a slow down in graphics performance because the translucent graphics not only require gathering information from differing planes, but in addition it seems clear they're putting a smearing algorithm of some sort into the graphics to diffuse it. How hard that's hitting the CPU and GPU I don't know, but it's got to be hitting it.
  23. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014

    I like the translucency but I love the additional battery life from turning it off more.
  24. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    On my Late 2011 MBP (now sold) I (along with a number of other users here) were getting kernel panics up to once a day on Mountain Lion (and only Mountain Lion). This was on the release version and a clean install.

    I traced it to the HD3000 graphics driver in ML. It was fixed in 10.8.1 but I still thought such a show-stopper bug should have been found before release especially given that:

    1. Anyone who ran a 2011 MBP for longer than maybe 48 hours experienced it. Even the higher end ones with dGPU had the problem when switching to the HD3000.

    2. I reported it soon after it appeared fairly late in the DPs

    3. Apple really does have a limited amount of hardware they need to test on in comparison to other OS builders.


    Why oh why did they remove the option for us to independently remove translucency from the menubar? Grrr.

    I'd like to keep most of the translucency except in my menubar.
  25. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Yosemite boots in around 14 seconds from the startup sound for me. From the power button press, its somewhere around 26 seconds. I didn't record timings for Mavericks and Mountain Lion on the same machine, so i can't make direct comparisons. I do remember Mountain Lion to be much slower.


    This applies to every version of OS X as it has been using desktop composition from the start.

    The translucency effects definitely require some GPU processing. Nothing too bad, but clearly more then without those effects. However, as you only need to redraw changed portions of the screen, this is usually not an issue. It would become problematic if you have multiple layers of translucent material on top of each other, but that's why Apple disables translucency in non-focused windows per default.

    BTW, all these things are clearly described in Apple's documentation.

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