How to downgrade OS X Yosemite to Mavericks without loosing your data

Why would you do such a thing?

Craig Federighi presenting OS X Yosemite
Image by Apple Inc.
If you are – like me – a power user of your Apple computer, you heavily rely on its steadiness. A few weeks ago Craig Federighi came along and proudly announced the public release of OS X Yosemite with awesome features like sms and phone relaying. Unfortunetaly there are still a lot of bugs in Yosemite. Beginning with poor wifi performance, graphic glitches and – worst of all – the whole system feels a lot slower than with Mavericks. Don’t get me wrong – I think Apple will get it right at some point but in my opinion they released Yosemite to early.

How to get rid of OS X Yosemite

The one thing we absolutely want to be sure of is to not loose any of your data. To achieve that we create a new partition we install mavericks on. After that you can boot into mavericks and copy your stuff into the new (yet old) system. The tricky part after that is to resize the mavericks partition to use the full disk space and delete the Yosemite partition. So please follow this guide:

  1. The first thing you wanna do is to make sure you have bootable OS X Mavericks Install Volume. You can create one by (closely) following the steps described in this great article by macworld. It’s best to use a USB flash device or a USB hard disk for this purpose.
  2. Open up the Disk Utility (CMD + Space -> Enter “Disk Utility” -> hit enter), select your primary hard drive, hop over to the partition tab and create a new partition by clicking the little plus button.
    Create a new OS X Mavericks partition Resize the partition
    Resize the new partition to about 120GB or more, to make sure all your stuff fits on it. Name it “Mavericks”. Hit “apply” and “ok”.
  3. Connect your bootable OS X Mavericks install drive to your mac. Reboot while holding down the option key (alt) and select the usb drive.
  4. Install Mac OS X Mavericks on the newly created partition “Mavericks”. This will take about 20 minutes, depending on your setup.
  5. Follow the initial setup screens in Mavericks and set up your base system. You can now copy all your files, documents and images from the other partition.
  6. Connect your bootable OS X Mavericks install drive again and boot into the installation as described in step 3. Pay attention now: DO NOT install Mavericks again. Instead:
    • Select the disk utility in the menubar on top of the screen.
    • Select your Mavericks partition and hit the “restore” tab.
    • Drag your old Yosemite Partition into the destination field.
    • Hit restore.
    • Get a coffee.
  7. (Optional) Upon completion boot up using the restored partition, just to make sure it works.
  8. Delete the small Mavericks Partition created in step 2 and resize the remaining partition to use the full disk space. Hit apply.
  9. Reboot and enjoy good ol’, fast Mavericks.

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