Creating a bootable installer on a Mac

Tips and Hacks for Bootable Installer Creation on Mac

As a Mac user, you might find yourself in situations where having a bootable installer is important. Basically, having a bootable installer provides a convenient and efficient solution to manage the usual OS-related issues. To make this work easy for you, let’s explore the reasons why you might need a bootable installer. We’ll also go deep into how to obtain macOS installer files, using Terminal to create the USB installer, and the steps to boot your Mac using the bootable USB drive you create.

Why do you need a bootable installer?

A bootable installer is a macOS installation tool that is on a USB drive rather than your Mac’s internal storage. It is important in various scenarios.

Ways to fix USB-C port on MacBook

Although we’ll be covering the ways to use Terminal to create a USB installer and boot your Mac using the created installer, let’s cover some basic info first. The first thing to know is why we need a bootable installer. Understanding this will help you to decide if you actually need to follow these steps or not.

  • Clean Installations: A fresh installation of macOS might be needed for various reasons – it might have gone corrupt or maybe you completely want to wipe off a previous version like Monterey or Ventura. When you want to do a fresh installation of macOS, a bootable installer will simplify the process.
  • Troubleshooting: In case your Mac faces some technical issues, a bootable installer will enable you to access recovery tools and with it, help you fix problems.
  • System Upgrades: Upgrading your macOS version is a common need. For example, the recently launched Sonoma. Or maybe because BigSur will no longer be supported in 2024. So, a bootable installer makes this process easy and ensures a smooth transition.
  • Multiple Installations: If you have multiple Macs (in the office or maybe 2 or 3 at home), a single bootable installer can be useful in installing macOS on all of them.

How to get macOS installer files?

Before you create a bootable installer, it is important to get the macOS installer files. For this, visit the Mac App Store. Look for the macOS version you want. Click “Download” to get the installer. The other way is to download it via terminal. You can use Terminal to download the installer. For example, for macOS Ventura, run this command:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ –volume /Volumes/Untitled

Replace “Ventura” with the version you want on your system – Monterey or Sonoma.

Use terminal to create the USB installer

Once you have the macOS installer files, using Terminal to create a bootable USB installer is a great option. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Insert and format the USB drive: Open Disk Utility. Select your USB drive. Choose Erase, and format it as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  • Open terminal: Launch Terminal. It is the command-line interface (CLI) on your Mac.
  • Run terminal command: Enter the following command, replacing “MyVolume” with your USB drive’s name:

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

  • Wait for completion: At this point, terminal will ask for confirmation. Punch in “Y” to confirm and press Enter. The process takes some time. Once it’s complete, you’ll see a message on your screen saying that the process has been completed successfully.

Creating a bootable installer on a Mac

How to boot the Mac using the created bootable USB drive?

With your bootable USB installer, you can easily boot your Mac. Insert the USB drive into its port and follow these simple steps:

  • Restart Mac: Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your Mac. Now, press Restart, and hold down the Option key.
  • Select Bootable Drive: When the startup disk selection screen appears, select the USB drive with the macOS installer.
  • Install or Troubleshoot: Depending on what your plan is, you can either proceed with the macOS installation or use recovery tools for troubleshooting.


Creating a bootable installer on a Mac means a lot of convenience for you. Switching to a new version like Sonoma or simply rolling back to Ventura or Monterey or troubleshooting OS-specific issues. The ability to have macOS installation files on a portable USB drive gives you the flexibility to DIY, especially in critical technical situations. By following the above-mentioned steps, you can easily get macOS installer files. You can then use Terminal to craft a bootable USB installer and subsequently boot your Mac from the USB drive.

Salman Zafar

Your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.