Recover Data after Downgrading macOS to Monterey – Here is the Ultimate Guide

Last Updated on March 9, 2023 by Yulia Ilina

Can you downgrade macOS? Yes, it is possible. If you have already backed up the previous versions with Time Machine or have an installer for macOS Monterey/Big Sur, you can simply downgrade macOS with the previous ones easily. Of course, you have to back up the files beforehand. But you cannot always make sure all files are preserved, especially for using a previous installer. Learn more about how to recover data after downgrading macOS to Monterey or previous versions.

Recover Data after Downgrading macOS

Part 1: How to Downgrade the macOS to Monterey without Losing Data

Method 1: How to Downgrade macOS with Time Machine

Time Machine is the built-in way to downgrade to previous macOS versions. Previously, you can go to the macOS Recovery mode to choose the Restore from Time Machine option to restore the previous version. But if you are using M1/M2 MacBooks, you cannot find the macOS Ventura Recovery mode. Here is the ultimate guide to help you out.

Step 1: Restart Your MacBook

Make sure you have already connected the external device or hard drive with the Time Machine backups to your MacBook. After that, click the Apple menu and choose the Restart button.

Step 2: Go to the Boot Selection Screen

Intel MacBook: Press and hold the Command + R keys. Once the Apple logo appears or the startup chime is available, you can release the keys to select the recovery option.

Internet Recovery Intel Mac

M1/M2 MacBook: Press the Power button until you get the startup screen. After that, you can choose the Options button before clicking the Continue button to download macOS.

M1 Recovery Mode

Step 3: Select the Disk Utility option and choose the Continue button on the macOS utility window. Choose the Macintosh HD located at the sidebar then press the Erase button.

Step 4: Choose the Format option as APFS and Scheme to GUID Partition Map. Click the Erase button to remove everything from the hard drive before downloading to previous macOS versions.

M1 Recovery Mode

Step 5: Connect the Time Machine backup drive to your Mac. Choose the Restore from Time Machine option in the macOS utility window then press the Continue button.

Reinstall macOS Ventura

Step 6: Choose the Time Machine backup drive and select the backup files, such as the latest backup. Click the Restore button and confirm with the Continue button to downgrade macOS to Monterey.

Method 2: How to Downgrade macOS with Bootable Installer

What should you do if you do not have a Time Machine backup? Of course, you can use a bootable installer to downgrade macOS 13 to an old macOS version. If you are using M1/M2 MacBook, it should be a straightforward way to downgrade to macOS High Sierra.

Step 1: Just follow a similar method to shut down your MacBook with the Power button. After that, press and hold the Power button again to get the loading startup screen. Make sure you have already connected the USB to your computer.

Step 2: Choose the USB installer, like the Install macOS High Sierra option before clicking the Continue button. When you select the bootable installer and confirm the network, your MacBook will begin copying the installation files from the flash drive.

Install macOS High Sierra

Step 3: Go to the macOS Utilities window, just select the Disk Utility button before clicking the Continue button. Select the hard drive for downloading macOS and click the Erase menu in the top right corner to clear up the files beforehand.

macOS Disk Utility

Step 4: Enter a name for your drive and leave the scheme as GUID Partition Map. As for the format, choose APFS or Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for the erased hard drive. Exit the Disk Utility by clicking on the red X button on the top left corner of the window.

macOS Recovery Erase Volume

Step 5: Select the Reinstall macOS option to download macOS to macOS High Sierra. Click the Agree button to accept the license agreement to install the selected version to your MacBook. When the whole process is completed, the MacBook will restart automatically.

Part 2: How to Recover Data after Downgrading macOS to Monterey

If there are some lost or deleted files during the downgrading macOS process, Mac Data Recovery is the versatile choice to get back most file formats from Mac hard drive, external hard drive, SD card, and more. It provides different modes to retrieve files completely and thoroughly with a higher success rate. You can also use the Filter feature to search for the recovered files with data and paths easily.

1. Retrieve photos, videos, documents, audio files, Emails, and others.

2. Restore deleted, lost, or unsaved files from the hard drive and Trash bin.

3. Get back the files from macOS downgrade, accidental deletion, etc.

4. Preview detailed information before purchasing a license or recovery.

Win Download Mac Download

Step 1: Download and install Mac Data Recovery on your MacBook. Launch the program on the Mac and click the Start button in the Mac Data Recovery menu to retrieve the lost or deleted files. When you need to retrieve the files from an external device, connect it to your MacBook.

Mac Data Recovery

Step 2: Select the data type or tick the Check all file types option, you can recover the desired files accordingly. Once you have done this, you can choose the Mac system hard drive in the Hard Disks Drives before clicking the Scan button to retrieve data after downgrading macOS.

Scan Mac

Step 3: Once the scanning process is done, the entire files and folders will be displayed in the categories. In case you can’t find the lost files, you can type the file and path name in the Search engine. Click the Recover button to start retrieving the selected files.

Deep Scan Mac Win Download Mac Download


There are different methods to downgrade macOS 13 to 12, especially when you need to restore it without losing data. Just learn more details about the process for 2 frequently used methods as well as the optimal method to retrieve data after downgrading macOS from the article.