How to Create a bootable installer for macOS

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Create a bootable installer for macOS sonoma
bootable installer for macOS

To install the Mac operating system, you can use an external bootable installer for macOS or a secondary volume as the startup disk. These are more complex steps meant for system administrators and other knowledgeable people who can type commands into Terminal.

Although you may install macOS on several machines without downloading the installer each time, or if you are unable to install a suitable macOS via the Finder or macOS Recovery, a bootable installer can be helpful.

What you need to create a bootable installer

  • A Mac OS Extended formatted USB flash drive or equivalent auxiliary disk with a minimum of 14GB of available storage
  • An entire Mac OS installation

You must be running the most recent version of OS X El Capitan, macOS Sierra, or macOS High Sierra on your Mac in order to download a full installation. The macOS that you are downloading must also work with your Mac. Administrators in charge of enterprises: get updates from Apple, not from a server housed locally.

Download a macOS installer using the App Store or your browser

Use Terminal to create the bootable installer

bootable installer for macOS

  1. Connect the flash disk via USB to your Mac.
  2. Launch Terminal by opening its folder in your Applications folder’s Utilities folder.
  3. To input a command, type or paste one of the following codes into Terminal and hit Return. Every command presumes that the installer is located in your Applications folder and that the volume you’re using, such as a USB flash drive, is called MyVolume. Replace MyVolume in the command with the name of your volume if it has a different name.
  4. Enter your administrator password when asked. As you type, Terminal displays no characters. Next, hit Return.
  5. Press Return after typing Y to confirm that you wish to remove the volume when requested. The progress of erasing the volume is displayed by Terminal.
  6. You can receive an alert stating that terminal needs to access files on a removable drive after the volume is deleted. To enable the copy to continue, click OK.
  7. The disk will have the same name as the installer you downloaded, For Install macOS Sonoma, after Terminal indicates that it is finished, Now that Terminal is closed, you can remove the volume.

Commands

Enter one of the following commands in Terminal as per the preceding instructions, depending on the version of macOS you downloaded.

  • Do not forget to enter the name of your volume in lieu of MyVolume in the command.
  • Add –the application path to your command and then the relevant installation path if your Mac is running macOS Sierra or older. This should look like the El Capitan command below.

Sonoma

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sonoma.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

Ventura

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Ventura.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

Monterey

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Monterey.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

Big Sur

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

Catalina

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

Mojave

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

High Sierra

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

El Capitan

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app

Use the bootable installer

After determining if you’re using a Mac with Apple silicon, take the necessary action. Recall that the macOS on the bootable installer needs to work with the Mac that you are using to start it up. Should that be the case, the Mac may boot up to a circle with a line through it.

Mac with Apple silicon

  1. Connect the bootable installer to a Mac that is compatible with the installation version of macOS and has an internet connection. An internet connection is necessary for a bootable installation to obtain firmware and other model-specific data, but it does not download macOS from the internet.
  2. Hold down the power button while turning on the Mac until the startup choices window appears, displaying your bootable volumes.
  3. Click Proceed after selecting the volume that holds the bootable installer.
  4. Once the macOS installer launches, adhere to the installation guidelines displayed on the screen.

Any other Mac

  1. Connect the bootable installer to a Mac that is compatible with the installation version of macOS and has an internet connection. An internet connection is necessary for a bootable installation to obtain firmware and other model-specific data, but it does not download macOS from the internet.
  2. Press and hold the Option (Alt) key as soon as your Mac turns on.
  3. When you see your bootable volumes shown on a dark screen, release the Option key.
  4. Choose the disk that has the installer that can be booted up. Next, either hit Return or the onscreen arrow.
  5. Make sure that Startup Security Utility is configured to permit booting from external or removable media if you are unable to start your Mac from the bootable installer and that it has the Apple T2 Security Chip.
  6. Select your preferred language when asked.
  7. From the Utilities window, choose Install macOS (or Install OS X), then click Proceed and adhere to the onscreen directions.

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