3 Ways to Downgrade macOS from Sonoma to Ventura Without Losing Data

Connie Wisley
September 26, 2023 Preview 3.5K Preview 1
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Being thrilled at the latest updated macOS 14 operating system --- Sonoma, you Mac users might go ahead of the rest to experience its fantastic features, but realize that this newly developed system also comes with bugs that make it irritating to use. These bugs are usually reported to be stuck apps, battery drain, slow response, system freezing and crashing, etc.

Feel regretful of the upgrade? Want to downgrade macOS Sonoma to the more stable Ventura while worrying about data loss? Just walk through this article to learn how to safely revert from macOS 14 Sonoma to macOS Ventura without losing data.

Preparations before Downgrade macOS Sonoma to Ventura

Prior to seeking solutions on degrading macOS Sonoma back to Ventura, some crucial preparatory work can’t be left out, which are listed as follows.

  • Take a backup of your system data.
    After macOS Sonoma downgraded to its previous build, all the system data will be erased forever. So, creating a backup of your current data is the key point to prevent losing data when degrading macOS system. It is recommended to utilize the built-in Time Machine feature, an external USB drive or an automatic cloud service to do the backup and manually restore data from the backups afterward.
  • Maintain a good Internet connection.
    Make sure that your Mac is connected to a stable and relatively fast Wi-Fi or Ethernet. This is to avoid interference in the downgrade process from Sonoma to Ventura.
  • Keep your Mac plugged into power.
    The Mac to be degraded should be kept powered in, so that uninstalling macOS Sonoma and reinstalling macOS Ventura can be done smoothly free from disturbing.


How to Downgrade macOS macOS to Ventura Without Losing Data?

After the preparations mentioned above have been made, this section will deliver 3 feasible methods of downgrading macOS Sonoma to Ventura with no data loss. Read on to pick the most suitable one for your case.

Method 1: Use Time Machine Backup to Downgrade macOS Sonoma

On condition that Ventura Time Machine backup has been enabled before upgrading to macOS Sonoma version, this method is achievable as the most straightforward one to rollback to Ventura. Otherwise, head for the rest 2 ways. Here’s the tutorial with Time Machine.

  1. Connect the Time Machine external drive to your Mac.
  2. From the Apple menu bar, click Restart.macos time machine 01
  3. Go to boot selection screen. This will vary depending on different Mac models.
  • For Apple Silicon-based Mac: Hold down the power button until startup screen shows. Then click Options > Continue.
  • For Intel Mac: Keep pressing Command + R until the Apple logo appears.
  1. Choose Restore From Time Machine Backup > click Continue button.macos time machine 02
  2. Select the disk containing the Time Machine backup > click Connect icon, then enter password.macos time machine 03
  3. Choose a recent macOS Ventura backup > click Continue. macos time machine 04
  4. Wait patiently till the downgrade finishes.downgrade timemachine04


Method 2: Downgrade macOS Sonoma to Ventura with Bootable Installer in Recovery Mode

Provided that Ventura Time Machine backup is unavailable, another approach with no worry of losing data is to create a bootable drive and install macOS Ventura in Recovery Mode. With multiple steps, it would be possibly more complicated than the first solution, but a higher success rate of downgrading is guaranteed. Let’s see how.

  1. Go to Mac App Store, search for macOS Ventura, click Get button to download it onto your Mac first.
  2. Once the download completed, the macOS Ventura installer will get into your Applications folder.downgrade macos01
  3. Plug an USB drive to your Mac, it will be used to create a bootable macOS installer.
  4. Find Disk Utility on your Mac using spotlight feature, and open the app to erase the USB drive for clean installation.
  5. Go for the drive on the left sidebar under External > select Erase from the top toolbar.downgrade macos02
  6. A dialog box will pop up. Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format. Also change the USB drive name to a simpler one for further use. Here we use USB. Then click Erase button.downgrade macos03
  7. When the message Erase process is complete comes out, you can click Done to continue. Now the USB drive has been prepared.downgrade macos04
  8. Launch Terminal on the Mac using Spotlight, copy and paste the command “sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Ventura.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/USB” in the Terminal. You should replace USB with your drive name if you have another one.downgrade macos05
  9. Enter password and type Y to copy the macOS to your disk.downgrade macos05
  10. Turn off your Mac first, then boot the Mac into Recovery mode.
    For Apple Silicon M1 Mac: immediately hold the Power button until you see the installer drive on screen with volumes.
    For Intel-based Mac: immediately hold down the Option (Alt)+R key to detect your installer drive. 
  11. Choose Install macOS Ventura > click Continue.downgrade macos07
  12. Select Install macOS Ventura > click Conitue to start downgrading your macOS from Sonoma to Ventura. If you want to erase the startup disk first, you can click on Install macOS Ventura > Quit Install macOS, select Disk Utility to erase the drive first, then finish the installation.downgrade macos08
  13. Follow the prompts given by the system to install macOS Ventura on your Mac.


Method 3: Downgrade macOS Sonoma to Ventura by Factory Reset

Suppose that the factory-shipped macOS version was Ventura, Mac factory reset is the easiest way to move back towards macOS Ventura from Sonoma. If the Mac is restored to factory settings, its operating system is restored to the raw macOS build as well. Meanwhile all the settings, media and data on this Mac will be wiped off completely. Therefore, do remember to back up your data before downgrading. As below is the step-by-step guide of factory reset.

  1. Click on the Apple icon at the top left corner of your Mac screen > select System Preferences.macos factory reset 01
  2. Click the exact text again on the menu bar > choose Erase All Content and Settings > enter your Mac user password to confirm.macos factory reset 02
  3. Click on Continue button > enter your Apple ID password to sign out of your Apple ID.macos factory reset 03
  4. Choose the red words Erase All Content & Setting to start factory resetting.macos factory reset 04
  5. Wait till the following interface appears. At this point your macOS system has been degraded back to Ventura successfully.macos factory reset 05


What if You Lost Data after macOS Downgrade?

It is repeatedly stressed that useful data are supposed to be backed up before macOS downgrade for fear of losing them. However, data loss after downgrade still happens, which may result from improper human actions or other unexpected situations occurred at any moment during the downgrading. 

So what can we do if losing data after macOS downgrade? A specialized third-party data recovery software must be your top priority.

Among plethora of data recovery tools on the Internet, Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac deserves to be a nice choice. This software is capable of restoring files lost due to a variety of reasons, such as system upgrade / downgrade / reinstallation, unintentional format, malware attack, power surge and so on. With clear interface and straightforward operation, users could deal with any heavy-duty data retrieval with no need of professional knowledge on data recovery, in addition, it can repair damaged video files that saved on your Mac, external hard drive or sd card.

Here’s the guide on how to recover lost data after macOS downgrade with no hassle.

  1. Free download and install Cisdem Data Recovery on Mac.
    Free Download macOS 10.9 or later
  2. Go to Disk Data Recovery > select the Mac drive used to store your lost data > click “Search for lost files” button.cisdem data recovery 01
  3. After both quick scan and deep scan, recoverable items will be displayed at the left sidebar. Choose Path or Type to preview the found files. You can use the filter tools or search bar to quickly locate specific files.cisdem data recovery 02
  4. Pick out your wanted files > click “Recover” button to restore them.cisdem data recovery 03

Final Words

To downgrade macOS 14 Sonoma to Ventura, Time Machine backup, bootable installer in macOS Recovery mode and Mac factory reset, can be used according to different occasions. Backup initially is the key to do the downgrade without losing data.

If files are missing after macOS downgrade unfortunately, just try the helpful software --- Cisdem Data Recovery to rescue them back.

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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  • Leon

    Thanks for such helpful tips! I have downgraded my Mac operating system successfully by following the last method introduced in this blog.

    1 years ago Reply

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