How To Downgrade From OS X Lion to Snow Leopard

When you upgrade your Snow Leopard to Lion, you were probably expecting to find an experience that was better, not worse. Gestures that made your computing experience more seamless and not more fragmented. Apparently, this is not the case for some of you. There were a lot of hardware issue and software incompatibility. It get so bad that some of you wanted to downgrade to Snow Leopard. Here’s how you can do it.

How to Downgrade

Before you attempt to downgrade your OS, here are three possible scenarios. First is you have a backup of your Snow Leopard (via time machine). Second is you have no backup, but you have the Snow Leopard installer DVD. Third is you own a Macbook Air or a new Mac Mini.

Users with a Backup

If you are hardworking enough to always backup your system, then you are lucky. For those who have a Time Machine backup with the older OS on it, there is an option in the Lion’s Recovery HD that allows you to restore from an existing backup. All that you have to do is run your restore from that backup and your operating system will be send back to Snow Leopard without any problems at all.


Users with no backup, but have Snow Leopard installer Disk

If you do not have a backup, but you have the Snow Leopard Installer disk, the only way for you to downgrade is to re-install. Before you do that, remember to first backup your system, user data and all other important files to an external hard disk. DO NOT USE YOUR TIME MACHINE TO BACKUP YOUR SYSTEM. The reason is because after the downgrade and you restore from the Time Machine backup, it will un-done your downgrade and restore back to Lion again. If you don’t want to invest in hardware, you could probably use a cloud storage service for a few hours.

1. Begin by holding “Command + R” while you reboot. This will bring you to the Recovery HD.

2. Double click on the “Disk Utility” option from the “Utilities” menu.

3. Click on the “Erase” tab and then on “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” and finally on the word “Erase”.

Now, you can install your disk and restart the system.

Macbook Air or New Mac Mini Owners

For proud owner of Macbook Air or the new Mac Mini that comes with the Lion installed, I am sorry, you are stuck with OSX Lion. Unlike Lion, Snow Leopard is not offered as a download on the App Store.

Enjoy your downgrading.

Katie Gatto

Katie Gatto is a technology writer with seven years of experience, and a native Mac user. She has previously written for Apple related site such as Appletell and Mac Apper.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox