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The latest version of macOS, Big Sur, has come with some nifty enhancements and a nice redesign. However, there are always users who decide they would really like to revert to the previous macOS. Maybe you have recently downloaded and installed macOS Big Sur, but for some reason or another, you want to go back to Catalina. This article will go through the steps you need to take to get back to Catalina.

Downgrading to a previous macOS is definitely more work than upgrading. Before you make the final decision to return to Catalina, if you are experiencing problems with the latest upgrade, we suggest troubleshooting the issues you are having first:

Ok, so you’ve decided you really want to downgrade. In order to follow these instructions, make sure you either print them or bring them up on your phone before you begin. In order to complete this process, you will need an external drive. Before you begin the process, make sure you are comfortable with all of the steps required for the downgrade.

1. Backup Your Data

This isn’t just for safety in case something goes wrong. You will be erasing your hard drive and so all your files, data, photos etc. will be gone. You must have a copy saved somewhere else. Options include:

Use Time Machine to backup your Mac. Time Machine gives you a complete backup solution. If you recently installed Big Sur and haven’t done any work or changed anything you think you need to keep, you may use the backup you created before upgrading.

Save your important files in iCloud Drive or use other cloud based storage. It’s not nearly as quick or simple to save all your files this way.

Drag your files to a connected external drive using Finder.

Use one of many third party apps to backup files to an external drive.

See also: How To Upgrade & Downgrade or Cancel Your iCloud Storage Plan

2. Install macOS Catalina on a Bootable Drive

If you don’t have a backup of your machine from when you were using Catalina, you should save a copy of macOS Catalina onto a bootable drive. If your Mac shipped with Catalina installed, after erasing your hard disk, you may also choose to reinstall macOS from Recovery Mode.

See also: How To Use macOS Recovery

To summarize, after erasing your disk, there are three options for installing Catalina: Recover from a Time Machine backup (only if you have a backup from when you were running Catalina), install Catalina from a bootable drive, or reinstall macOS Catalina (only if Catalina was your original OS).

3. Erase your Hard Drive

Again, don’t do this until you have backed up your data.

    Enter your Apple ID, if requested.

    4. Reinstall macOS Catalina

    There are three options for reinstalling Catalina. Make sure you allow plenty of time for the process to complete. Make sure your Mac is connected to a power source and internet.

    4a. Recover from Time Machine Backup

    If you created a backup using Time Machine before you upgraded to Big Sur, then you can use that backup to restore your Mac to Catalina.

    4b. Install macOS Catalina from your Bootable Drive 4c. Downgrade to Original macOS

    You can downgrade to the macOS your computer shipped with. Make sure you are connected to the internet.

    5. Restore Data from Backup

    Now that Catalina is reinstalled on your Mac, you can transfer files that you backed up before downgrading.

    Recover Data from a Time Machine Backup

    If you made a Time Machine backup before downgrading, you can use Migration Assistant to transfer files from your backup.

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    The 6 Most Interesting New Features In Macos Big Sur

    Apple has officially left OS X behind as it welcomes macOS 11.0 Big Sur into the family. So here’s a look at some of the most exciting features coming to the desktop operating system.

    Apple officially announced macOS 11.0 Big Sur earlier today during its special event keynote, lifting the curtain on the newest version of the operating system. macOS Big Sur introduces quite a bit, including small and big changes. There’s the ability to customize the start screen in Safari, for instance. Meanwhile, the company is refreshing and improving the Dock, while bringing Control Center to the software as well.

    But let’s dig right in, shall we?

    It’s about the experience

    Apple is going big with its latest update to macOS, jumping up to macOS 11.0 Big Sur. And, of course, that means quite a few changes for the desktop operating system. That starts with the most recognizable part of the software, the Dock. Apple redesigned it in Big Sur so that it now floats, and is even more translucent. App icons are getting redesigned in many regards, too, but still recognizable.

    Speaking of translucency, the menu bar is getting tweaked, too. It’s taller as well, which Apple says a desktop background can now extend edge-to-edge. Words in the menu bar will lighten or darken depending on your desktop picture, and the pull-down menus are larger as well.

    Apple redesigned Sheets in macOS Big Sur, removing the bezels and borders and putting more of a focus on the content. The Sheets will automatically scale in the background and dim when needed. Apple is also tweaking the system sounds that macOS Big Sur has, based on the original sounds, but refined and improved so they are more pleasing to the ear but also immediately recognizable.

    Finally, new symbols. Users will find these new options across the system, including controls, sidebars, menus, and toolbars. This should offer up some needed consistency across the system.

    Adding Control Center

    That’s right, Control Center is coming to macOS. The feature has been present in iOS for quite some time, but Apple is making some changes as it makes the leap to the desktop. It looks familiar, making things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirDrop, Do Not Disturb, and other system utilities easier to access.

    Streamlining Notification Center

    The company is tweaking Notification Center, streamlining it to offer up all the information one might expect, but also including the new widgets experience. It’s a single view, showing off notifications from apps like Messages, Photos, Safari, Home, and other apps and services, while also showing full-featured widgets. Notifications are grouped by app, can be expanded, and many of the options are interactive.

    The widgets will come in three different sizes, so users will be able to choose the right option for their needs. And developers can create widgets for their third-party apps.

    Safari’s improvements

    Ever wanted to put a picture on Safari’s start page? Or customize it more than simply adding a few links? Well now you can with Safari in macOS Big Sur. The new start page is customizable to include options for adding a custom background image, and the ability to choose which sections show up at all, with options like Siri Suggestions, Favorites, iCloud Tabs, Privacy Report, and Reading List.

    Safari in macOS Big Sur will show favicons in tabs, making it quick and easy to see which websites are open even when you have a ton of tabs. And Apple has redesigned the tabs toolbar as well, making better use of space so you can see more tabs at once. Hovering over a tab will give you a preview of the website.

    Apple’s new translation feature, a prominent new feature in iOS 14, is present in beta in Safari for macOS Big Sur as well. It will make it possible to translate entire web pages quickly, which is possible thanks to a new translation button.

    Extensions in Safari are getting revamped in a big way, with editorial spotlights and a new dedicated section within the App Store so potential customers can find them more easily.

    Better Messages experience

    Messages is getting the revamp experience as well. It’s a Catalyst app to begin with, and Apple is bringing many of the changes it introduced with iOS 14 to the desktop experience. That starts with pinning conversations at the top of the messages list, so you can quickly and easily keep tabs on the most important conversations you’re having at any time. That includes the new group conversations as well, and pinned conversations will sync across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

    The new Messages app is also getting threaded, inline replies. This makes it possible to reply directly to a message within a group conversation, and the app will automatically start a new thread under the original reply. This should make it easier to keep tabs on all the conversations within a busy group chat. Mentions will also help with this, too, as users will be able to type another person’s name, which will be highlighted within the chat. You can customize notifications to only be notified when you are mentioned as well.

    Creating and editing Memoji within the Messages app on macOS Big Sur is possible, and searching for trending images and GIFs is also a new feature.

    An all-new Maps

    Apple is redesigning the Maps experience for macOS with the Big Sur release. It’s basically on par with the iOS 14 version of the app and service, meaning you’ll find new features like Guides (pictured below), which will give you a quick and easy way to find all the best places to eat and visit in cities all across the globe. The information is gathered from trusted brands, and it is updated on a regular basis. Users will be able to create their own guides as well.

    The new Maps will show congestion zones in cities like Paris and London and others, and Maps will also show license plate restrictions in areas like China.

    One more thing… Wrap up

    There is quite a bit to like in macOS Big Sur, and plenty of additional new features coming to the desktop operating system. These are just a little more than a handful that are worth surfacing. But now that Big Sur is out there in the wild, in the hands of developers (and, next month, public beta testers), we’ll know even more about what’s coming down the pipe before macOS 11.0 Big Sur launches to the public sometime this fall.

    Are you looking forward to this update?

    How To Use “Approve With Apple Watch” On Macos Catalina

    The Apple Watch has come a long way since it was released over six years ago, with the latest Apple Watch 5 and watchOS 6 integrating into your tech setup like never before. A new feature introduced in the latest macOS Catalina allows for the Apple Watch to perform authentication actions on their Mac.

    This feature, known as “Approve with Apple Watch,” provides two solutions. It lets you view the passwords on your Mac (specifically in Safari) whenever you need to type in your password. Secondly, it offers a unique way to approve app installations and other password-protected acts, such as unlocking settings in System Preferences, modifying root files, unlocking a secure Notes file, etc.

    To use Approve with Apple Watch, you’ll need the following:

    Apple Watch running watchOS 6 or later

    Mac running macOS Catalina or later

    Auto-Unlock feature enabled

    Two-Factor Authentication enabled on your iCloud account.

    First, to enable the Auto-Unlock feature:

    1. Turn on your Apple Watch and wear it on your wrist. If the watch is not on your wrist, you won’t be able to enable Auto-Lock, as your Mac will not be able to register the device.

    2. You’ll also need to have a passcode set on your Apple Watch. If you don’t have one set already, simply open up the Settings app from your Apple Watch app screen and tap on Passcode to set one.

    3. On your Mac, open up “System Preferences.”

    5. Enable the option to “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.” This will require you to enter in your administrator ID and password.

    Once this is done, you’ll need to enable Two-Factor authentication on your iCloud account. There are multiple ways to do this: by visiting your Apple ID website, using the iPhone/iPad Settings app, etc. We’ll be enabling it directly from macOS’s System Preferences app. To do so, follow the below instructions:

    1. In System Preferences, access your iCloud account.

    2. From the left pane, select “Passwords and Security.”

    3. Enable the option for Two-Factor authentication.

    Once this is done, Auto-Unlock should work automatically on your Apple Watch / Mac. Follow the below example to see how it works:

    1. In Safari, if you open a website with a password field, Safari will show you a key icon next to the password (provided you have saved passwords in Safari before).

    This works similarly in the System Preferences app. If you need to unlock a specific setting to make changes, simply use the “Approve with Apple Watch” feature to unlock it directly from your Apple Watch rather than typing in your password on your Mac.

    As described above, Approve with Apple Watch can save you time in entering in your password.

    Did you find this guide useful? Let us know in the Comments section below.

    Shujaa Imran

    Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier’s resident Mac tutorial writer. He’s currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube

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    How To Downgrade Ios 8 Beta To Ios 7

    Have you decided that running an iOS 8 beta on your iPhone or iPad isn’t such a great idea after all? Understandable, considering the beta releases are fairly buggy, mainly for developer testing, and not intended for prime time usage quite yet, so let’s walk through how to downgrade iOS 8 back to iOS 7.

    We’ll cover two different methods to go from iOS 8 beta back to iOS 7.1.1. Both will work just fine and you can use whichever you want, though the first method we’ll call the easy way, is typically best for most users. Nonetheless if the first easy approach fails due to an error, we offer a second route that goes through putting the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into recovery mode and will certainly work.

    Requirements to Downgrade from iOS 8

    You will need the latest version of iTunes to be able to perform a downgrade from iOS 8 beta back to a stable iOS build, a Mac or PC to run iTunes on, an internet connection, and a USB cable to connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with.

    You will need the latest version of iTunes to be able to perform a downgrade from iOS 8 beta back to a stable iOS build, a Mac or PC to run iTunes on, an internet connection, and a USB cable to connect the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with.

    You will also need to be comfortable with losing whatever is on the device since running iOS 8, this is because an iOS 8 backup cannot be restored to an iOS 7 device. However, you will be able to restore a previously made iOS 7 backup to the device once it’s back on iOS 7 however. This is why it’s so important to create regular backups of your data if you’re going to be beta testing any operating system. You did that, right?

    Method 1: Downgrade iOS 8 to iOS 7.1.1 the Easy Way with IPSW

    The simplest way to downgrade from iOS 8 beta is to use an iOS 7 IPSW file, then simply ‘update’ to that iOS 7 release. This is the same way users manually update iOS with firmware files and it works to downgrade iOS as well.

    Download the iOS 7.1.1 IPSW firmware file from here appropriate for your device, put it somewhere easy to find like the Desktop

    Launch iTunes on the computer

    Connect the iPhone / iPad running iOS 8 to the computer with the USB cable

    Select the device from iTunes if it hasn’t been already, and go to the Summary tab so you can find the “Update” and “Restore” buttons

    Now select the IPSW file you downloaded in step 1

    Confirm that iTunes is allowed to update the iPhone / iPad to iOS 7.1.1 and verify the update with Apple by choosing the “Update” button

    Let the process complete, this may take a while and the screen of your iOS device will go blank followed by a progress bar, when finished you’ll be back to the familiar setup screen as if the device was brand new

    Now that the iPhone or iPad is back on iOS 7 you can choose to restore the device from a prior backup made from iOS 7 to either iTunes or iCloud, otherwise just set up and use the device as new.

    Method 2: Downgrading iOS 8 with Recovery Mode & Restore

    If you can’t get the easy downgrade method to work for whatever reason, you can also pop the device into recovery mode and then restore the device through iTunes. Generally speaking this approach shouldn’t be necessary unless the iOS device is nearly bricked, but it’s good to cover anyway.

    Turn the iPhone / iPad OFF by holding down the Power button and swiping to turn the device off when requested

    Launch iTunes and attach the USB cable to the computer – don’t plug it into the iPhone / iPad quite yet

    Hold down the Home button on the iOS device and connect it to the USB cable and the computer, continue to hold down the home button until iTunes alerts you that a device in Recovery Mode has been detected

    Choose “Restore” (note the update button is greyed out as the device is in recovery mode)

    Confirm that you want to restore the iPhone / iPad when iTunes asks

    Let the Restoration process continue, when completed the device will boot automatically back into the latest version of iOS 7 (7.1.1)

    This sets up the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as a brand new device running the latest version of iOS 7. Once finished, you can either continue to use the device as new, or restore from a previously made iOS 7 backup from iTunes or iCloud as described here. Note that restoring from a backup only works if you actually made a backup prior to installing iOS 8.

    Activation Error? Firmware Incompatible? Use Recovery Mode

    If you see an activation error or a firmware incompatibility error, it’s probably because the wrong IPSW file was downloaded or because there’s an issue connecting to Apple’s servers. The simplest resolution is to use the Recovery Mode approach described above, this will cause iTunes to connect to Apple’s servers directly and download the appropriate IPSW version for the connected device. If you try Recovery Mode and still receive activation errors or other errors in iTunes, you should probably look at your hosts file…

    Getting Error 3194 in iTunes? Check Hosts


    How To Get System Diagnostic Files On Macos

    Sometimes when your Mac is doing things you can’t explain, such as in the presence of a bug in macOS, you have no other choice than to report the bug to Apple.

    Many times, the support staff are going to ask you to provide Apple’s engineers with what’s known as a sysdiagnose, which is a special screenshot of your system information and performance at that very moment in time. This information is very useful for bug reporting and troubleshooting as it allows Apple to try and reproduce issues so they can fix them.

    In this piece, we’ll explain what a sysdiagnose is, what it contains, and how to grab one so you can file a proper bug report to Apple when you have issues with your Mac.

    What is a sysdiagnose?

    Apple often requests a sysdiagnose whenever you report a bug via Apple’s bug reporter because they need to know everything that was having an effect on your system at the time of the bug so they can reproduce the issue. Without being able to reproduce the issue, Apple engineers will very seldom know what you’re talking about or have any clue as to what could be causing that specific issue.

    A sysdiagnose is essentially a screenshot of your Mac’s state at a particular period in time. It’s not an image file like a traditional screenshot is though; it’s actually a harvest of information, such as what apps were running at the time of the incident, computer resource usage, and much more. As Apple notes on their developer website, the following information is included in a sysdiagnose:

    What sysdiagnose Collects:

    • If a specific process is supplied as an argument: data about the virtual memory regions allocated in the process

    How to grab a sysdiagnose on your Mac

    A sysdiagnose is very simple to grab on any Mac. You’ll want to grab a sysdiagnose either while a problem is occurring or immediately after a problem occurs for the best results. To do so, you’ll follow these steps:

    1) As the problem is occurring, or after it occurs, press the Shift ⇧ + Control + Option + Command ⌘ + Period . keys all at once.

    2) Your screen will appear to flash, just as it would if you were taking a screenshot on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. This is your Mac taking a ‘screenshot’ of your system at that point in time.

    3) Wait patiently as your Mac collects and compiles this information into your sysdiagnose archive file. This can take anywhere from 15 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the speed of your Mac.

    4) When complete, a new Finder window should launch with focus on the “tmp” folder. You should see your most recent sysdiagnose selected in the window.

    5) You can now drag this sysdiagnose file to your desktop, or anywhere else it can be more easily accessed so you can share it with Apple.

    Who to share a sysdiagnose with

    Typically, you would only have to supply this kind of information to Apple if they ask for it. I wouldn’t recommend sending this kind of information off to any third-party app developer or average Joe that you didn’t know very well because there’s a lot of sensitive information contained in these files that could put your privacy or security at risk.

    What kinds of information, you ask? – Oh, you know, just the general run-of-the-mill serial number information and identifiable personal computer information that could be used maliciously.


    Grabbing a sysdiagnose can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to help Apple in responding to one of your bug reports in a positive way. Without one, they won’t have much of a clue as to how to reproduce your issues, so it’s a really handy tool for this purpose.

    Related: Troubleshooting common software issues in macOS

    How To Kill A Process Using Terminal In Macos

    The Terminal app on the Mac can help identify which ancillary services and processes running in the background may be causing your Mac to slow down. The Terminal application helps the user get inside macOS via a command-line interface. While typing in the commands in Terminal ensure that spaces, characters, and capitalizations are accurate. 

    Note: For this guide, we’re using a MacBook running macOS Big Sur.

    Table of Contents

    How to Kill a Process Using the Mac Terminal Application

    The basic steps required to kill a process using Terminal:

    Backup your files and folders 

    Launch Terminal application

    View the list of running processes 

    Find the process you want to close

    Kill the process using a Terminal command

    1. Backup Your Files and Folders 

    It may be a good idea to backup your data, files, and folders using Time Machine, to avoid having to restore your Mac from a backup because of accidental deletion. Time Machine is easy to set up and use. 

    With Time Machine, you can also go back in time and see what a file looked like in the recent past. Check out the link above to read our article on setting up Time Machine. 

    2.  Launch the Terminal Application

    There are several options you can use to open Terminal on your Mac, which include using a keyboard shortcut, Launchpad, or opening Terminal from the Applications folder.

    You can also open Terminal through the Launchpad. Select Launchpad on the Dock, select the Other folder, and then select Terminal.

    A standard Terminal window will open showing the date and time you last logged in, and the command prompt where you’ll type the command you want to execute. You’ll also see the current (working) directory that defaults to your Home Folder. 

    3.  View the List of Currently Running Processes 

    If you want to quickly view all the active processes on your Mac, you can open the Activity Monitor and see each process sorted by its CPU usage. You can also see the same processes ranked by the amount of RAM used in the Memory tab. 

    Follow the steps below to view processes in Terminal.

    Type top in the Terminal window you just launched and you’ll see a list of processes currently running and the resources they’re consuming. 

    You can also type ps -ax to list the running processes along with their PIDs, elapsed time running, process name, and location.

    4.  Find the Process You Want to Close

    You can quickly identify a process from the process list based on the PID or the name in the CMD column. You can use the following methods to find the PID:

    The result you may see will look something like this:

    This example shows that Garageband has a PID of 547 and also the folder where Garageband was launched from. 

    5. Kill the Process Using a Terminal Command

    You can Force Quit the application by using the Command + Option + Esc key combination, but only individual apps are listed in the Force Quit Applications window instead of all the processes running on your Mac. 

    Alternatively, you can use the killall command to kill a process by its name and kill all the processes containing its name. For example, killall GarageBand will terminate all processes that have GarageBand in their name. 

    Note: Check the processes carefully before using the killall command. 

    Force Quit Unresponsive Applications

    Terminal is a quick way to force quit a process or program in macOS if the program fails to respond or unexpectedly hangs. Hopefully, the steps mentioned above resolve your issue. If the issue resurfaces, consider updating the application or finding an alternative application. 

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