Enlarge / Making a USB set up drive for macOS Catalina is as straightforward as ever, if it is one thing you want.

Andrew Cunningham

Apple hasn’t shipped working techniques on bodily media in a full decade, however there are nonetheless good causes to desire a dependable previous USB stick for macOS Catalina. Fortunately, it is not arduous to make one—both with a useful graphical person interface or some gentle Terminal use. This is what it is advisable to get began:

A Mac that you’ve administrator entry to. We have created a USB stick from each Mojave and Catalina, however your expertise with different variations could range.
A 16GB or bigger USB flash drive or a 16GB or bigger partition on another sort of exterior drive. A USB three.zero drive will make issues considerably sooner, however an older USB 2.zero drive will work in a pinch; 8GB drives labored for Mojave and older variations of macOS, however the Catalina installer is just a bit too giant to suit.
The macOS 10.15 Catalina installer from the Mac App Retailer (in Excessive Sierra or older macOS variations) or the Software program Replace desire pane in Mojave. The installer will delete itself once you set up the working system, however it may be re-downloaded if essential.
In order for you a GUI, check out Ben Slaney’s Set up Disk Creator from MacDaddy. There are different apps on the market that do that, however this one is fast and easy.

If you wish to use this USB installer with newer Macs as they’re launched, you will wish to periodically re-download new Mojave installers and make new set up drives. Apple rolls help for newer into new macOS level releases as they arrive out, so it will assist hold your set up drive as common and versatile as doable.

There’s additionally one new consideration for newer Macs with Apple’s T2 controller chip—as of this writing, that checklist consists of the iMac Professional, the 2018 Mac Mini, the 2018 MacBook Air, and 2018 and 2019 MacBook Execs, although Apple retains an up to date checklist right here. Amongst this chip’s many safety features is one which disallows booting from exterior drives by default. To re-enable this characteristic, maintain down Command-R whereas your Mac reboots to enter Restoration Mode and use the Startup Safety Utility to “enable booting from exterior media.” In the event you’re attempting to put in an older model of macOS, you might also have to go from Full Safety to Medium Safety to allow booting, however in the event you’re simply attempting to put in the present model of macOS, the Full Safety choice ought to be simply high-quality. And in the event you’re simply doing an improve set up slightly than a clear set up, you possibly can run the Catalina installer from the USB drive from inside your present set up of macOS, no superior tweaking required.

The simple method

As soon as you have obtained the entire essential supplies, join the USB drive to your Mac and launch the Set up Disk Creator. This app is mainly only a GUI wrapper for the terminal command, so it ought to be doable to make set up disks for variations of macOS going all the way in which again to Lion. In any case, it can work simply high-quality for our functions.

Set up Disk Creator will mechanically detect macOS installers in your drive and counsel one for you, displaying its icon together with its path. You’ll be able to navigate to a distinct installer if you’d like, and you may as well decide from all of the storage units and volumes at the moment linked to your Mac by the drop-down menu on the prime of the window. When you’re able to go, click on “Create Installer” and wait. A progress bar throughout the underside of the app will let you know how far you must go, and a pop-up notification will let you already know when the method is finished. This could solely take a couple of minutes on a USB three.zero flash drive in a contemporary Mac, although utilizing USB 2.zero will gradual issues down.

The one barely less-easy method

The Set up Disk Creator is only a wrapper for the terminal command to create macOS set up disks, so in the event you’re comfy formatting your USB drive your self and opening a Terminal window, it’s nearly as straightforward to do it this fashion. Assuming that you’ve the macOS Mojave installer in your Functions folder and you’ve got a Mac OS Prolonged (Journaled)-formatted USB drive (which is to say, HFS+ and never APFS) named “Untitled” mounted on the system, you possibly can create a Mojave set up drive utilizing the next command.

sudo /Functions/Set up macOS Catalina.app/Contents/Sources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled

The command will erase the disk and replica the set up information over. Give it a while, and your quantity will quickly be loaded up with not simply the macOS installer but in addition an exterior restoration partition which will come in useful in case your arduous drive dies and also you’re away from an Web connection. If you need to create an set up drive for a macOS model apart from Catalina, simply tweak the paths above to discuss with Mojave or Excessive Sierra as an alternative.

Whichever technique you utilize, it is best to be capable to boot out of your new USB drive both by altering the default Startup Disk in System Preferences or by holding down the Choice key at boot and choosing the drive. As soon as booted, you can set up or improve Catalina as you usually would. You may also use Safari, Disk Utility, or Time Machine from the restoration partition to revive backups or troubleshoot.


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