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How to Create Bootable USB for Mac

How to make bootable usb for mac

Creating a bootable USB drive for your Mac is a crucial skill that every Mac user should have in their arsenal. Whether you need to install a new operating system, rescue a failing Mac, or simply want to keep a backup handy, having a bootable USB drive can save the day. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of creating a bootable USB for your Mac.

Step 1: Prepare the USB Drive

The first step is to choose a compatible USB drive and format it correctly. Make sure you have a USB drive with a storage capacity of at least 8GB or more to accommodate the operating system files. Connect the USB drive to your Mac and open Disk Utility. Select the USB drive from the left sidebar and go to the “Erase” tab. Choose “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” as the format and give it a suitable name.

Step 2: Download the macOS Installer

Once your USB drive is ready, you will need to download the macOS installer. Open the App Store and search for the specific macOS version you want to install. Click on the “Download” button and wait for the installer to finish downloading. This may take some time depending on your internet connection speed.

Step 3: Create a Bootable USB Drive

Now that you have the macOS installer, you are ready to create the bootable USB drive. Open Terminal, which can be found in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder. In Terminal, type the following command:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ [macOS version].app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/[USB drive name] –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ [macOS version].app

Replace “[macOS version]” with the name of the macOS version you downloaded and “[USB drive name]” with the name you gave to your USB drive. Press Enter and enter your administrator password when prompted. The process may take a while, so be patient.

Step 4: Use the Bootable USB Drive

Once the bootable USB drive is created, you can now use it for various purposes. To install the operating system, start or restart your Mac while holding down the Option key. This will bring up the boot menu, where you can select the USB drive as the startup disk. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation. You can also use the bootable USB drive to troubleshoot your Mac or recover data from a failing system.

Creating a bootable USB drive for your Mac may seem daunting at first, but with this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to do it with ease. Having a bootable USB drive can be a lifesaver in critical situations, ensuring that you have a backup plan when you need it the most.

Step 1: Choose the Right USB Drive

When creating a bootable USB for your Mac, it is crucial to start with the right USB drive. Choosing the correct USB drive will ensure that the process runs smoothly and that your Mac recognizes the bootable drive.

First and foremost, make sure that the USB drive you select has enough storage capacity to accommodate the macOS installation files. Typically, you will need a USB drive with at least 16 GB of storage, although it is recommended to use a drive with larger capacity to avoid any potential issues or limitations.

Additionally, pay attention to the USB drive’s compatibility with your Mac model. Some older Mac models may require a specific type of USB drive or have limitations on the maximum capacity they can recognize. It is recommended to check your Mac’s specifications or consult the Apple website to ensure compatibility.

Furthermore, consider the USB drive’s transfer speed. A USB 3.0 drive will provide faster data transfer rates compared to a USB 2.0 drive, resulting in a shorter creation time for the bootable USB. While using a USB 2.0 drive is feasible, it may take longer to complete the process.

Lastly, it is important to use a USB drive that you are willing to format and erase, as the creation process will delete all existing data on the drive. Therefore, choose a USB drive that does not contain any important files or documents to prevent accidental data loss.

By taking these factors into consideration and selecting the appropriate USB drive, you will be ready to proceed with creating a bootable USB for your Mac.

Step 2: Format the USB Drive

Before creating a bootable USB drive, you need to format the drive to ensure compatibility with the Mac operating system. Follow the steps below to format the USB drive correctly:

1. Connect the USB Drive

1. Connect the USB Drive

Insert the USB drive into an available USB port on your Mac computer. Make sure that the USB drive does not contain any important files, as formatting will erase all data on the drive.

2. Open Disk Utility

Click on the “Finder” icon in the dock, then go to “Applications” > “Utilities” and open “Disk Utility”.

3. Select the USB Drive

3. Select the USB Drive

In the Disk Utility window, locate your USB drive in the left sidebar under the “External” heading. Click on it to select the drive.

4. Erase the Drive

Click on the “Erase” button at the top of the Disk Utility window. A pop-up window will appear.

5. Configure the Format

In the pop-up window, select the desired format for the USB drive. For Mac compatibility, choose “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”.

6. Name the Drive

Enter a name for the USB drive in the “Name” field. This will be the name that appears when you connect the USB drive to your Mac.

7. Erase the Drive

Click on the “Erase” button in the pop-up window. Disk Utility will format the USB drive, erasing all data and preparing it for use as a bootable drive.

8. Wait for the Process to Complete

Allow Disk Utility to complete the formatting process. The time it takes will depend on the size of the USB drive and the speed of your computer.

9. Verify the Formatting

Once the process is complete, Disk Utility will display a message confirming that the drive has been successfully formatted. You can now proceed to the next step of creating a bootable USB drive.

Formatting the USB drive correctly is essential to ensure the proper functioning of the bootable USB drive on your Mac. Follow the steps above carefully to format the drive and move on to the next step of creating a bootable USB for Mac.

Tip: If you encounter any errors during the formatting process, try using a different USB drive or restarting your Mac computer before attempting to format the drive again.

Step 3: Download the Mac Operating System

Step 3: Download the Mac Operating System

Before creating a bootable USB for Mac, you will need to download the Mac operating system. This can be done by accessing the Mac App Store on your Mac computer.

1. Open the Mac App Store

1. Open the Mac App Store

To open the Mac App Store, click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select “App Store” from the dropdown menu.

2. Search for the Mac Operating System

In the search bar located at the top-right corner of the Mac App Store, type in the name of the Mac operating system you want to download. For example, if you want to download macOS Mojave, type “macOS Mojave” in the search bar.

Once you have entered the name, press Enter or click on the magnifying glass icon to start the search.

3. Click on the Mac Operating System

3. Click on the Mac Operating System

From the search results, locate the Mac operating system you want to download and click on it.

4. Click on the “Download” Button

On the Mac operating system’s page, you will see a button that says “Download.” Click on this button to start the download process.

The download time will vary depending on the size of the operating system and your internet connection speed.

Once the download is complete, you will be ready to proceed to the next step in creating a bootable USB for Mac.

Step 4: Create the Bootable USB Using Terminal

Step 4: Create the Bootable USB Using Terminal

Once you have formatted your USB drive correctly, it’s time to create the bootable USB using Terminal.

1. Open Terminal

First, open the Terminal application on your Mac. You can find it in the Utilities folder, which is located within the Applications folder. Alternatively, you can use Spotlight to search for “Terminal” and open it from there.

2. Find the disk identifier

In the Terminal window, type the command diskutil list and press Enter. This will display a list of all connected disks and their identifiers.

Identify the disk corresponding to your USB drive. It will typically be listed as “external,” and the size of the disk can help you confirm that you have the correct one. Note the disk identifier (e.g., disk2).

3. Create the bootable USB

In the Terminal window, type the following command to create the bootable USB:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ --volume /Volumes/YourUSBDrive --nointeraction

Replace “YourUSBDrive” with the name of your USB drive, but do not remove the “/Volumes/” part. Make sure to include the forward slashes (“/”) as shown in the command.

Press Enter and then enter your administrator password when prompted. Terminal will start creating the bootable USB, and this process may take some time.

Once the process is complete, Terminal will display “Install media now available.” This indicates that your bootable USB has been successfully created.

Now you are ready to use the bootable USB to install macOS on your Mac or perform other tasks such as system recovery.

Can I create a bootable USB for Mac using a Windows computer?

No, you cannot create a bootable USB for Mac using a Windows computer. The process of creating a bootable USB for Mac requires specific tools and software that are only available on macOS.

What do I need to create a bootable USB for Mac?

To create a bootable USB for Mac, you will need a USB flash drive with at least 8GB of storage, a Mac computer running macOS, and a macOS installation file or disk image (.dmg) for the version of macOS you want to install.



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