How to Make a Bootable USB Drive for Mac

1. Download and install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac

2. Select and scan the drive/volume where you lost files

3. Preview the files and click the Recover button...Click full guide

Table of Contents

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Create a Bootable Installer Go to application > utilities > terminal...Full steps

2. Install macOS with Bootable USB

determine which chip your computer...Full steps

When you need to update macOS, usually you need to click on Software Update on your computer, check the system update information, and then start the update. This method is the choice of most people, however, you can also make a bootable USB drive. With a bootable macOS USB, you can perform a clean install or reinstall the macOS when your Mac won't boot into Recovery Mode.

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What You Need for Making a Bootable USB Drive

Before starting to make a bootable USB drive, you need to prepare for it. Below are the tools you need to prepare.

1. A macOS compatible USB drive with at least 14GB of available storage space. And this drive should be formatted to Mac OS Extended.

2. Click the corresponding link to download the macOS installer. (Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, or El Capitan)

How to Create a Bootable Installer with macOS 

After downloading the macOS installer, connect the prepared USB flash drive to your Mac. Again, make sure it is empty and has at least 14GB of free space. The next steps are a bit more complicated, as the Mac Terminal's 'createinstallmedia' command will be used. Make sure the computer is fully charged or connected to the power cord, and do not turn off the computer in the meantime.

Go to Application > Utilities > Terminal. Below is the command line required to create a bootable USB drive, find the version of macOS you want to install and paste it into Terminal.

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

Big Sur:
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

High Sierra:
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

El Capitan:
sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\

Press Return to enter the command. Enter your administrator password in the prompted box and press Return again. Follow the on-screen wizard to confirm the following process. Type Y to confirm that you want to erase the USB flash drive, and then click OK to allow the creating process.

When the whole process is finished, the USB's name will be changed to the installer's name, such as Install macOS Monterey. Quit Terminal now and eject your USB drive.

Install macOS with Created Mac Bootable USB

To use the created bootable USB on Mac, the steps will be different on computers with different chips. There are two types of chips used in Mac computers: Apple silicon and Intel processors. First, determine which chip your computer is equipped with, and then follow the corresponding steps to use the bootable installer.

Mac computers with Apple silicon:

  • MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021)
  • MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021)
  • iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021)
  • Mac mini (M1, 2020)
  • MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020)

Apple silicon Intel processor
1. Plug the bootable USB into a Mac. Your Mac should be connected to the internet and compatible with the version of the macOS you're installing.
2. Turn on your Mac and continue to hold the power button until you see the startup options window, which shows your bootable volumes.
3. Select the USB drive containing the bootable installer, then click Continue.
4. When the macOS installer opens, follow the onscreen instructions.
1. Plug the bootable USB into a Mac. Also, the Mac should have an internet connection and be compatible with the installed macOS.
2. Press and hold the Option (Alt) key immediately after turning on or restarting your Mac.
3. Release the Option key when you see a dark screen showing your bootable USB drive.
4. Select the bootable USB drive. Then click the up arrow or press Return. 
5. If you can't start up from the bootable installer, make sure that the External Boot setting in Startup Security Utility is set to allow booting from external media.
6. Choose your language, if prompted.
7. Select Install macOS (or Install OS X) from the Utilities window, then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions.

The Bottom Line

With a bootable USB drive, you are able to install specific macOS according to your needs. The whole process is a bit complicated, but don't worry, follow the guide step by step.

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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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