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  • Downgrade original Yosemite on 2014 Retina MacBook Pro?

     John Rofrano updated 4 years, 11 months ago 3 Members · 10 Posts
  • Michael Locke

    February 21, 2015 at 1:55 am

    Just received a 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pro to replace my 2010 13″ machine. On the old one I’m running 10.8.5 Mt. Lion, and CS6 and even my old FCS3 work great. Tried Mavericks on the 13″, and Adobe Encore would NOT run. I have a disc (optical,yes) of Mnt. Lion, so return was easy. Also made a bootable SD card Of Mavericks (original release), for my trouble.
    The $2400 question is: do I have any hope of downgrading an original equipment version? I’ve read (in horror) there’s no chance of running a previous OSX, as it would not have drivers (at least) for the newer hardware. I notice it has the same model # as the late 2013 (11,3), so I’m hoping at least Mavericks is possible with a clean sweep, or some target mode method. No anyone who’s pulled it off? Am I dreaming? Please help, as my work bought the machine I told them to. Ignorance is not bliss…

    Thanks for reading,

  • John Rofrano

    February 22, 2015 at 5:48 am

    The only problem, as you pointed out, is not having hardware support in an older version of OS X. You can answer this for yourself very easily. Plug an external USB 3.0 drive into the MacBook Air and install whatever version of OS X you’d like on that drive. You can even use the Migration Assistant to migrate your programs and files from the internal drive to this external one. Then boot with it by holding down the Option key while booting and see if it all works. If it does, use Disk Utility to restore your internal drive from the external one and you’ve successfully downgraded. If it doesn’t work, no harm done, just use your MacBook Air as it is.

    This is what I love about the Mac… you can boot multiple versions OS X from multiple partitions/drives. I usually run Yosemite on my Mac Pro but I also have a Snow Leopard drive for those times when I need to use software that’s not supported by Yosemite.


  • Michael Locke

    February 22, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Did run into this while hunting the internet…

    Indeed, in disk utility it shows my flash drive has a partition with a “Core Storage Logical Volume Group”. Not looking forward to terminal work on a brand new machine…

  • John Rofrano

    February 23, 2015 at 1:18 am

    Do you have a Fusion drive? Core Storage is usually used for Fusion drives to bridge a Logical Volume across two Physical Volumes or with FileFault encryption.

    Right now, if you just want to answer your question about using an older version of OS X, I would format an external drive as HFS+, install 10.8.5 Mountain Lion on it and see if it finds drivers for all of your hardware. if it doesn’t, you’re done anyway.

    I wouldn’t mess with your internal hard drive until you have proved to yourself that you can use 10.8.5 without problems on an external one.


  • Michael Locke

    February 23, 2015 at 3:43 am

    No, 512GB Flash drive. Regardless, thats the partition. I hear you on the test model, will test and go from there. Much thanks, great community…

  • John Rofrano

    February 23, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Interesting. I have a 15-inch Mid-2012 MacBook Pro and it had a HFS+ partition. The is a non-Retina model because I wanted to be able to upgrade the hard drive, which I, did to a 1TB SSD.

    Good luck. Let us know how you make out.


  • Shaun Batt

    September 21, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Dear John, your comments interested me…”This is what I love about the Mac… you can boot multiple versions OS X from multiple partitions/drives. I usually run Yosemite on my Mac Pro but I also have a Snow Leopard drive for those times when I need to use software that’s not supported by Yosemite…

    I am running mavericks and plan to go to yosemite and I have some software that ran well on snow leopard. Well I was told that I cant do that any more and I cant partition my drive either – as I used to. My machine is MBP Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013…however it seems to me, by your statement above, that this can be done. Would it be possible to explain the process please?

    Thanks in advance, Shaun

  • John Rofrano

    September 22, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Shaun, This is not as convenient to do on the new MacBook Pro’s because they no longer have a DVD bay to add a second disk but you can do it with any external disk. You just have to carry the external disk with you when you need it.

    What you can do is buy a portable external hard drive like the 1TB G-DRIVE mobile USB . Then you can use software like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! to clone your internal drive to the external hard drive. Whenever if you want to boot off of the external drive, plug it in before you turn on your Mac and press the Option ⌥ key when you turn your Mac on and hear the boot chime. This will bring up a menu to allow you to choose which drive you want to boot from. Just select the external drive and that’s all there is to it. You are now free to upgrade your internal drive knowing that you have an external drive that can always get you back to Mavericks when you need to.

    Booting will be slower from the external drive and I just gave the G-Drive USB 3.0 as an example. You could buy a much faster Thunderbolt drive and that should boot a lot quicker than USB 3.0 does. I’m using this technique on my Mac Pro so both my Yosemite drive and my Snow Leopard drive are internal SATA drives so they perform equally as fast.

    Let me know if you have any questions.


  • Michael Locke

    September 30, 2015 at 4:43 am

    Hello again John, full circle on this thread. For the record, I never attempted to downgrade my 2014 15″ MBP, leaving it as a current machine to run future software and upgrade from there as needed.
    What I did was buy an Apple refurbished 2012 13″ MBP (9.2: one of the last you can tear apart, as you know), but it came with Yosemite! So I cloned an exact model from work running 10.7.5 to an SSD, now inside the “new” machine. FCS3 runs great on it (asst. edited a feature with FCP7 on Lion w/PluralEyes), and I have a Mt. Lion disk (optical!) to move forward from there as needed (Blackmagic, etc.).
    My advice would be to secure a machine of the time to run the older OS X, if you don’t already own one: that window is closing (certainly for original Final Cut). The 2012’s ran Lion, had ethernet,Thunderbolt (1st),Firewire 800, and USB 3 connections, with a factory optical drive (replaceable with an extra drive to edit to). Quite a bridge machine.
    This only matters if you cut your teeth with Final Cut Pro 7, and still want to open projects you started with. If not, let the old 32-bit go, and embrace the cloud (w/a copy of CS6 stashed)…

    p.s. Thanks for your efforts in responding to this page, timely and spot on.

  • John Rofrano

    September 30, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    [Michael Locke] “What I did was buy an Apple refurbished 2012 13″ MBP (9.2: one of the last you can tear apart, as you know)”

    Yea, people said I was crazy but I had a choice between the Mid-2012 MBP and a new Retina MBP and when I heard that nothing was upgradable on the Retina’s, I took the 2012 MBP because I can upgrade the memory, swap the hard drive for an SSD, use the DVD bay for an extra drive, etc. which you can do on the new Retina MBP’s.

    Glad you got it sorted out.


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