Use more than one version of macOS on a Mac

If you install a compatible macOS on a new volume of your built-in startup disk, your Mac can start up from either volume. It's an easy way to use a newer macOS while keeping a previously installed macOS for software that may require it.

Make a backup

Back up your Mac, especially if you plan to install a beta version of macOS. Beta software is software that's still in development, so some apps and services may not work as expected.

Add an APFS volume

  1. Make sure your Mac is using macOS High Sierra or later.
  2. Open Disc Utility, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
  3. In the sidebar, select your existing APFS volume, such as Macintosh HD.
  4. Choose Edit > Add APFS Volume from the menu bar, or click the add volume button (+) in the Disk Utility toolbar. These options are only available when an APFS-formatted volume is selected.
  5. Type any name for the new volume, then click Add.
  6. Close Disk Utility.

Find out more about adding, deleting or erasing APFS volumes

Install a compatible macOS on the new volume

If the macOS you want to install is compatible with your Mac, you can install it on the new volume.

  • To install the latest beta (pre-release) version of macOS, enrol your Mac in the Apple Beta Software Programme and follow the installation instructions on the programme website.
  • To install the latest release version of macOS, download it from the App Store.
  • To install a version earlier than the version currently installed, use a bootable installer of macOS High Sierra or later. 

When the installer opens and asks where the compatible macOS should be installed, click Show All Disks, then select the new volume before continuing.

Switch between macOS versions

To switch between installed macOS versions, just start up your Mac from the other volume. You can do that by changing your Mac startup disk.

When you first start up from a new volume, a setup assistant will help you create a new user account. User accounts are not shared between volumes, but you can share files between user accounts.

Keep macOS up to date on each volume

To get the latest updates for each version of macOS, check for software updates, then start up from the other volume and check for software updates again.


Delete a volume

If you want to delete a volume, including the macOS and all other data on that volume, follow these steps.

  1. Start up your Mac from a volume that you're not deleting.
  2. Open Disk Utility.
  3. From the sidebar in Disk Utility, select the volume you want to delete.
  4. Choose Edit > Delete APFS Volume from the menu bar, or click the delete volume button (–) in the Disk Utility toolbar. 
  5. Click Delete. If the volume is part of a volume group, delete the volume group when prompted.
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