Hardware

How to create a USB installer for macOS High Sierra

Follow these steps to create a bootable USB installer drive for macOS High Sierra to deploy Apple's latest OS on supported computers.

On June 5, 2017, Apple announced macOS High Sierra at its annual WWDC event. Version 10.13 of the popular operating system was made available as a beta to developers later that same day. Apple made the download available to public beta testers as part of the Apple Beta Software Program. The requirements for macOS High Sierra are identical to those of macOS Sierra.

Apple takes great care to ensure that personal users can use their computers with little to no fuss, and this applies to the OS install/upgrade cycle. The OS updates for enterprise users are usually managed by IT staff, and downloading the update per computer isn't the best approach—that's why IT pros may want to create a bootable USB installer drive. Similarly, for end users that have multiple computers to upgrade, the USB installation method cuts the time down per install significantly, especially for users with limited internet access or metered connections.

Note: Given macOS High Sierra's current beta status, the installation process is subject to change between now and the release of the final code; however, that's unlikely to happen, so the steps detailed here should be valid for the final release as well.

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Image: Jesus Vigo/TechRepublic


Requirements for creating a bootable drive

  • 8 GB USB flash drive (or SD card)
  • Install MacOS High Sierra.app (the installer downloaded from the Mac App Store)
  • Apple computer with Mac App Store (OS X 10.7.5 or later)
  • User account with administrative privileges

SEE: How to download macOS High Sierra and which Macs are compatible (TechRepublic)

How to create a bootable USB installer for macOS High Sierra

1. Insert the USB flash drive into a USB port. Note the drive's volume name when mounted in the Finder.

2. Launch the Terminal and enter the following command to format and extract the macOS High Sierra files to your USB drive (Figure A). Beware: The process deletes all of the data on the drive.

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/USB_DRIVE_VOLUME_NAME --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High Sierra.app --nointeraction

Figure A

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The command begins by erasing the contents of the drive, formatting with the proper file system and partition type, and finally copying the installation files to the volume (Figure B).

Figure B

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The process should only take a few minutes, depending on your computer's specifications. Once the process completes successfully, an on-screen confirmation will be displayed as confirmation that the drive is ready for use (Figure C).

Figure C

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Using the newly created USB installer, users are able to upgrade to macOS High Sierra directly from an existing installation of macOS or OS X; otherwise, a clean install may be performed by inserting the drive to an available USB port and powering on the computer while pressing down the Option key. This invokes the boot selection menu from where users can boot to the USB drive and follow the prompts to install macOS High Sierra on the Mac.

Also see

About Jesus Vigo

Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 19 years of experience and multiple certifications from seve...

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