How to Create Bootable USB on Mac (Using Terminal)
Bootable USB on Mac

How to Create Bootable USB on Mac โ€“ For All Supported Mac Versions

Whether it is a for a special reason that you want a bootable USB to install your favorite Mac version or you want to keep the macOS of your choice portable as a backup, creating a bootable USB Mac is going to help you a lot. The bootable USB Mac drive contains the macOS version installer of your choice in case of need.

(Note: Before you create the drive, make a backup of your data to save your important data.)

In this post, weโ€™ll help you know how to create bootable USB Mac on your own without installing an extra app or taking an expert help.

Use Terminal to Create Bootable USB on Mac

You can create a bootable USB flash installer with Terminal without needing an extra tool. All you need is a USB drive to connect to your Mac.

Step 1: First, you need to download the macOS version with which you want to create the installer.

If youโ€™re using Catalina, find and download the version from the App store. You can use this link. For Mojave, click this link. For earlier versions, open the App Store and find and install your version from there. In case you have already purchased this version before, you can find it in the Purchased section.

Step 2: Once downloaded, exit the App Store and follow the instructions from the installation window that appears. Click Install macOS [Version_Name] menu and select โ€œQuit Install macOS [Version_Name]โ€ from the dropdown menu

Step 3: Connect your USB drive to you Mac (Note: You need 8GB or larger drive for this purpose.)

Step 4: Enter a name for the drive so as not to confuse it with any other drive connected with your computer

Step 5: Open Terminal by going to Applications > Utilities. Alternatively, you can also find Terminal by entering its name in Spotlight and clicking the first result you see on the list

Step 6: When Terminal opens, enter the command (given below) that goes for the version that you want to install.

Important: In the place of /Volumes/MyVolume, type your USB drive name:

  • To Install Big Sur:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ –volumeย /Volumes/MyVolume

  • To Install Catalina:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ –volumeย /Volumes/MyVolume

  • To Install Mojave:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ –volumeย /Volumes/MyVolume

  • To Install High Sierra:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ –volumeย /Volumes/MyVolumeย –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\

  • To Install Sierra:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ –volumeย /Volumes/MyVolumeย –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\

  • To Install Mavericks:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ –volumeย /Volumes/MyVolumeย –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\

  • To Install Yosemite:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ –volumeย /Volumes/MyVolumeย –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\

  • To Install El Capitan:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ –volumeย /Volumes/MyVolumeย –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\


Step 7: Once typing this code in the Terminal screen (along with your USB drive name in the place of /Volumes/MyVolume), press the [return] key

Step 8: On being asked, type your Macโ€™s admin password

Step 9: Press the [return] key again

Step 10: Make sure the name and path of your connected USB is correct. Once verified, press theย [Y]ย key

Step 11: Press [return]

It will start creating the bootable USB drive process. Once the process completes, the window will show you the message, โ€œDoneโ€.

How to Install the Bootable USB on Mac

Now, when you want to install the version through your USB drive, first make sure the Mac is off. Follow these steps afterward:

  • Insert your bootable USB drive to the system
  • Start your Mac and on hearing the chime sound of Mac booting, press and hold the Option key

Release the key after Mac booting and your installation is good to go.

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