These advanced steps are primarily for system administrators and others who are familiar with the command line. You don't need a bootable installer to upgrade macOS or reinstall macOS, but it can be useful when you want to install on multiple computers without downloading the installer each time.
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Find the appropriate download link in the upgrade instructions for each macOS version:
macOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, ormacOS High Sierra
Installers for each of these macOS versions download directly to your Applications folder as an app named Install macOS Catalina, Install macOS Mojave, or Install macOS High Sierra. If the installer opens after downloading, quit it without continuing installation. Important: To get the correct installer, download from a Mac that is using macOS Sierra 10.12.5 or later, or El Capitan 10.11.6. Enterprise administrators, please download from Apple, not a locally hosted software-update server.
OS X El Capitan
El Capitan downloads as a disk image. On a Mac that is compatible with El Capitan, open the disk image and run the installer within, named InstallMacOSX.pkg. It installs an app named Install OS X El Capitan into your Applications folder. You will create the bootable installer from this app, not from the disk image or .pkg installer.
Use the 'createinstallmedia' command in Terminal
- Connect the USB flash drive or other volume that you're using for the bootable installer. Make sure that it has at least 12GB of available storage and is formatted as Mac OS Extended.
- Open Terminal, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
- Type or paste one of the following commands in Terminal. These assume that the installer is still in your Applications folder, and MyVolume is the name of the USB flash drive or other volume you're using. If it has a different name, replace
MyVolumein these commands with the name of your volume.
- Press Return after typing the command.
- When prompted, type your administrator password and press Return again. Terminal doesn't show any characters as you type your password.
- When prompted, type
Yto confirm that you want to erase the volume, then press Return. Terminal shows the progress as the bootable installer is created.
- When Terminal says that it's done, the volume will have the same name as the installer you downloaded, such as Install macOS Catalina. You can now quit Terminal and eject the volume.
* If your Mac is using macOS Sierra or earlier, include the
--applicationpath argument, similar to the way this argument is used in the command for El Capitan.
Use the bootable installer
After creating the bootable installer, follow these steps to use it:
- Plug the bootable installer into a compatible Mac.
- Use Startup Manager or Startup Disk preferences to select the bootable installer as the startup disk, then start up from it. Your Mac will start up to macOS Recovery.
Learn about selecting a startup disk, including what to do if your Mac doesn't start up from it.
- Choose your language, if prompted.
- A bootable installer doesn't download macOS from the Internet, but it does require the Internet to get information specific to your Mac model, such as firmware updates. If you need to connect to a Wi-Fi network, use the Wi-Fi menu in the menu bar.
- Select Install macOS (or Install OS X) from the Utilities window, then click Continue and follow the onscreen instructions.
For more information about the
createinstallmedia command and the arguments that you can use with it, make sure that the macOS installer is in your Applications folder, then enter this path in Terminal:
Upgrading to Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion
You can upgrade to Mountain Lion from Lion or directly from Snow Leopard. Mountain Lion can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $19.99. To access the App Store you must have Snow Leopard 10.6.6 or later installed.
You can purchase Snow Leopard by contacting Customer Service: Contacting Apple for support and service - this includes international calling numbers. The price is $19.99 plus tax. You will receive physical media - DVD - by mail.
Third-party sources for Snow Leopard are:
After you install Snow Leopard you will have to download and install the Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1 to update Snow Leopard to 10.6.8 and give you access to the App Store.
You can purchase Lion by contacting Customer Service: Contacting Apple for support and service - this includes international calling numbers. The cost is $19.99 (as it was before) plus tax. It's a download.
Be sure your computer meets the minimum requirements:
Macs that can be upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion
1. iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
2. MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
3. MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
4. MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
5. Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
6. Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
7. Xserve (Early 2009)
Are my applications compatible?
See App Compatibility Table - RoaringApps - App compatibility and feature support for OS X & iOS.
Am I eligible for the free upgrade?
See Apple - Free OS X Mountain Lion upgrade Program.
For a complete How-To introduction from Apple see Apple - Upgrade your Mac to OS X Mountain Lion.
Model Eligibility for Snow Leopard and Lion.
Snow Leopard General requirements
1. Mac computer with an Intel processor
2. 1GB of memory
3. 5GB of available disk space
4. DVD drive for installation
5. Some features require a compatible Internet service provider; fees may apply.
6. Some features require Apple’s MobileMe service; fees and terms apply.
Lion System Requirements
1. Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor
2. 2GB of memory
3. OS X v10.6.6 or later (v10.6.8 recommended)
Apple Mac Os X Download
4. 7GB of available space
5. Some features require an Apple ID; terms apply.
Mac Os X 10.8
Oct 26, 2012 1:12 PM