Fix 'You cannot upgrade this version of macOS because a new version is installed' error on Mojave

Posted by Katrina to Mac Data Recovery on December 14th, 2018

After upgrading to macOS Mojave 10.14, my MacBook Pro won’t boot at all. I have run First Aid in Recovery Mode, but it failed on the startup disk. Then I chose to reinstall macOS directly, but it didn’t allow me to do that and gave me this error message: “You cannot upgrade this version of macOS because a new version is installed”. Anyone can help me?

Some users report that their MacBooks, iMacs and other Macs will not start after macOS update to macOS Mojave and hangs on a gray screen with an Apple Logo. Just like what happened as above, if Mac won’t reinstall Mojave in Recovery Mode and receive the error message: “You cannot upgrade this version of macOS because a new version is installed”. This passage will explain why this error happens and how to fix it.

Why does 'You cannot upgrade this version of macOS because a new version is installed' error occur?

This is because when you install an operating system, your Mac computer will store an installation image in Recovery Mode which you can use to run diagnostics and re-installations. The boot image in Recovery Mode keeps unchanged after OS update. So when upgrading to a newer OS, the installation image in Recovery Mode is always lower than the OS we are using.

However, Mac will refuse to repair or reinstall the newer OS with the older installation image in Recovery Mode and give the error message: "You cannot upgrade this version of macOS because a new version is installed".

Before fixing: Recover data from unbootable Mac computer

Under this circumstance, the only fix is to erase the system disk and reinstall macOS in Recovery Mode. If you didn’t back up important data, it’s highly recommended to recover data from unbootable Mac computer before fixing "You cannot upgrade this version of macOS because a new version is installed" error.

When you upgrade to macOS Mojave, the system disk will automatically convert HFS+ to APFS, so you need a professional APFS data recovery program to recover lost data back. iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is one of a few APFS data Recovery tools that enable you to recover data from unbootable APFS volume, recover data from corrupted APFS boot drives, recover data from unmountable APFS boot volumes, etc. It is able to boot your Mac without running OS and help you to recover lost data as much as possible

Besides, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery works well in different APFS data loss scenarios, which is able to recover data from APFS encrypted volumes, recover data from formatted APFS drives, recover data from unmountable APFS drives, recover data from inaccessible APFS drives, recover data from corrupted APFS drives, recover data from deleted/lost APFS partitions, etc. It also supports data recovery from HFS+, HFSX, FAT32, exFAT hard drive, SSD, fusion drive, USB, external hard drive, SD card, memory card, pen drive, CF card, etc.

Solution 1: If you have only one Mac computer

If you have only one Mac computer, please refer to how to run iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery bootable media through iBoysoft Server and recover lost data.

Solution 2: If you have two Mac computers

Step 1: Download iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery on another Mac computer.

Step 2: Install and launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Step 3: Click iBoysoft Data Recovery on menu bar and then select "Create Boot Drive".

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 4: Insert a USB drive into your Mac computer.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 5: Follow the wizard to create a bootable recovery drive.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 6: After that, please insert iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery bootable USB drive into unbootable Mac computer, and then press the Power button and Option key (⌥) to start the unbootable Mac computer.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 7: Select iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery from boot option.

Step 8: Follow the wizard to scan data from the APFS system volumes.

Step 9: Choose the files you want to get back, and then click Recover button.

Fix 'You cannot upgrade this version of macOS because a new version is installed' error

If you have backed up data or don't care about data on the Mac computer, you can follow the steps as below.

Step 1: Boot to Recovery OS by restarting Mac and pressing & holding down Command + R keys at startup.

Step 2: Launch Disk Utility from Utilities.

Step 3: Select the APFS system volume and click "Erase" on the top.

Step 4: Provide a name and a format to format the drive.

Step 5: Wait until the process finished.

Step 6: Go back to Utilities, choose Reinstall macOS and follow the guidance until the re-installation completes.

Still have questions?