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Here’s How To Install macOS Via USB In Simple Steps


Check this alternative method to install macOS using a USB drive. It’s easier than you might have thought.

- Updated: 31st May 2022, 09:46 IST
  • 1
    Why choose USB to install macOS?
  • 2
    How to install macOS via a USB?
    • 1. Choosing a USB Flash Drive
    • 2. Formatting the USB flash drive
    • 3. Downloading the macOS installer
    • 4. Creating a Bootable USB using Terminal
    • 5. Creating a Bootable Disk using Software
    • 6. Booting your Mac from a USB Drive

You can use an external drive like USB to install or reinstall macOS on your computer. It is a great alternative for those times when your mac won’t operate normally or you want to install a particular OS across multiple machines. However, you need to create a bootable USB drive first to install macOS. Worry not, if you are confused at this point about how to install macOS via USB. Just read this article till the end and you will understand how simple it is.

Also Read: Bluestacks For Mac: Install & Download Bluestacks In Easy Steps

Why choose USB to install macOS?

Installing macOS via a USB means you have to create a bootable USB disk and that helps in installing and updating macOS on multiple systems without having to download an installer every time. This will save a lot of time as some of the macOS comes with an installer of huge sizes. Besides, a bootable disk can be used to perform a clean install.

Now, you might wonder what is a clean install? A clean install helps you get rid of all junk files and apps that might have accumulated over time. This leaves you with a faster running Mac.

How to install macOS via a USB?

USB drives are easy to use. Here, have a look at how to install macOS with a USB.

1. Choosing a USB Flash Drive

USB flash drives are cheaper, therefore you don’t have to spend much on them. But you need to make sure you are getting a branded Flash drive from a reputable store as you can’t experiment with the genuineness. Buying fake drives can end you up having false storage space and extremely slow transfer speeds.

Also, before buying the USB drive, you must check your Mac’s port, whether it is a USB-C type or any other.

2. Formatting the USB flash drive

A bootable installer for macOS can only be created on a Mac. But first, you need to make sure you have nothing else stored on the USB drive. To erase the files, go to Finder on your Mac. Then, click on Applications>Utilities and then open Disk Utility. There under the left panel, you would find your USB drive under the External folder. Click on it and then click on Erase button at the top. Then, select a name and make sure to keep the format as Mac OS Extended and finally click on Erase.

3. Downloading the macOS installer

Head to System Preferences and then click on Software Update to download the latest version of the macOS installer for installing on a USB. In the Software Update section, you will find the option to download the installer. When the installer gets downloaded, quit it without continuing the installation.

Also Read: Here’s How To Fix Battery Not Charging Issue On Your MacOS

4. Creating a Bootable USB using Terminal

The terminal is the easiest way to create a bootable USB drive. You just need to know the below command. However, replace the MyVolume part with the name of the drive that you kept in the Disk Utility step above. You must know that these commands might vary depending upon your macOS version. If you are having a macOS Monetary, use the command as it is. But if you have any other version, just replace the Monetary with the macOS version name.

Command: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ –volume /Volumes/MyVolume

Just Copy/Paste this command into the terminal and run it. Then, enter your password and confirm that you want to erase the USB drive by typing and hitting the Return key. The Terminal will then create your Bootable USB drive.

5. Creating a Bootable Disk using Software

You can also create a bootable USB drive using the Software method. There are many third-party applications that can help you with it. You can use the Install Disk Creator for creating a bootable macOS installer.

After the software gets downloaded, the app will automatically detect the macOS installer from the Downloads folder. Simply, click on Create Installer from the top volume dropdown list.

6. Booting your Mac from a USB Drive

Depending upon your Mac’s processor, you can choose the following methods to boot your Mac from a USB:

Intel Macs

Plug the bootable installer into the Mac and make sure it’s connected to the internet. Then, power on the system and immediately press and hold the Option (Alt) key when it starts booting.

M1 Apple Silicon Macs

To boot the M1 or Apple Silicon Macs, power on the system and keep the power button pressed down. You would then see an option to select your USB Drive as a startup disk. Now, select the volume containing the bootable Installer, then select Continue. Then, follow the instructions that come on the screen when the macOS Installer opens.

Also Read: How To Share Location On Google Maps Via Android/ iOS/ Mac/ PC

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