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Done with the El Capitan public beta? Here's how to revert your Mac back to Yosemite

Roman Loyola | July 16, 2015
Beta be gone! Time to turn back to a stabler setup.

Back up your El Capitan data

If you created any files while using El Capitan, now's a good time to save them. (The public beta has been out for about a week, so maybe you have just a few files.) Copy the files to an external drive (different from the Yosemite installer drive) or to a cloud storage service like Dropbox.

Say adios to El Capitan

Created a Yosemite boot drive? Check. Saved your files on your El Capitan Mac? Check. Now it's time to erase the El Capitan volume--yes, you have to erase it, you can't simply install Yosemite over it. If you try to, you'll get a message like the one in the screenshot to the above right. You're going to use Disk Utility on the Yosemite installer drive you created.

  • Attach the Yosemite installer drive to your Mac, and at startup, hold down the Option key.
  • You should eventually see a drive icon labeled Install OS X Yosemite. Click on the arrow below it.
  • An OS X Utilities window will appear. Select Disk Utility and click Continue.
  • Once the disk Utility app launches, select the Mac's hard drive in the left column (it's the first one listed).
  • Click the Erase tab, and in the windows that appears, name your hard drive, select one of the OS X Extended formats.
  • Click the Erase button to wipe out everything on the hard drive.

Reinstall Yosemite

Once Disk Utility is done reformatting, quit the app. This will take you back to the OS X Utilities window. Now, select Install OS X, click Continue, and proceed through the installation process.

Restore your files

Connect up your Time Machine drive and run Migration Assistant (located in /Applications/Utilities). This will walk you through the procedure of restoring your files from a Time Machine backup. If you copied files from El Capitan to a drive or in the cloud, you can bring them into Yosemite.

 

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