Use the 'createinstallmedia' command in Terminal

The installation window should appear afterwards. Click the " Install macOS whatever version you have downloaded " menu at the top left of the screen, and select " Quit Install macOS whatever version you have. Your USB drive will be completely erased in the following steps. Make any backups of your data beforehand. You can either use Spotlight or navigate to "Utilities" inside of Applications within Finder and double click Terminal.

In Terminal , type one of the following commands, depending on your version of macOS. The name of the version of macOS, is the one you want to install on the key and downloaded. Type everything else exactly as you see it or better yet, copy and paste it from here. Other versions including High Sierra and Mojave : see the next step. If you did not download the file from the App Store, you must modify the file path after "applicationpath".

Before you begin

After correctly entering the command with the name of your USB drive, press the [return] key. Check the name and path of your USB key. If it looks correct, press the [Y] key, then press [return]. When Terminal indicates the process is "Done," the creation of your bootable drive has succeeded. Cancel: I did not complete this guide. These translators are helping us fix the world!

Download macOS

Want to contribute? Badges: I'm thinking of using this method to revert back to an older os due to my mac slowing down with Sierra. Will I be able to install just Yosemite or el capitan? Jon says:. December 26, at pm. Thomas says:. November 10, at am.

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Emergency Mac OS Boot Device Using a USB Flash Drive

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Creating a bootable USB flash drive on a Apple Mac OS X system

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Here's how to format USB on Mac

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By continuing to browse the site, closing this banner, scrolling this webpage, or clicking a link, you agree to these cookies. A flash drive is a simple, inexpensive, and portable emergency boot device that can handle OS X or the macOS.

Heck, it can even have both operating systems installed, letting you use the emergency USB flash drive to boot any of the Mac's you may have. Eliminating the need to pare down the OS to get it to fit on the USB flash drive significantly simplifies the installation process.


  1. How to format a USB drive on a Mac!
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Second, the cost of USB flash drives is falling. A 16 GB USB flash drive is large enough to install both a complete copy of the macOS and some of your favorite applications or recovery utilities, making it a budget-friendly emergency device that can boot your Mac and possibly repair or recover its data and get it running again. Selecting a USB flash drive to use for creating a bootable OS X or macOS device is actually relatively straightforward, but here are some concerns to consider and a few suggestions to make the selection process easier.

This is also true of macOS, the later versions of the Mac operating system. Speed is a mixed bag for USB flash drives. Focus on read speeds rather than write speeds when you shop for a USB flash drive. Apple is the primary source for this type of adapter, but as USB-C gains popularity, you will be able to find third party suppliers at reasonable prices for the adapters. Most USB flash drives are formatted for use with Windows. The process for formatting your flash drive is very similar to what is outlined above.

We prepared the USB flash drive by partitioning and formatting it and then enabling ownership. The flash drive will now appear to the OS X installer as just another hard drive that is ready for installation of OS X. Having said that, we recommend that you customize the software packages that OS X will install. Before you begin the installation, a few notes about the process. As we mentioned earlier, USB flash drives are much slower at writing data.