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Create a bootable installer for OS X Mavericks or Yosemite

With OS X Mavericks and Yosemite, you can create a bootable OS X installer which can be used to install the operating system while started from removable media, such as a USB flash drive.

Before you're able to create a bootable OS X installer, you'll need to do the following first:

  1. Download the OS X Installer app from the Mac App Store.
  2. Mount the volume you want to convert into a bootable installer. This could be removable media such as a USB flash drive, or a secondary internal partition.
  3. You can then use the createinstallmedia tool to convert the volume from step two into a bootable installer based off the installer app from step one. To learn how to use createinstallmedia, use the following command in Terminal:

    OS X Yosemite

    /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia

    OS X Mavericks

    /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia

     

Examples

For example, assuming you have a volume mounted at /Volumes/MyVolume and the OS X installer app is at /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app you could erase /Volumes/MyVolume and convert it into a bootable installer with this command:

OS X Yosemite

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app

OS X Mavericks

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app

 

Notes

 

  • You may need to adjust the path to the OS X installer app and/or your removable media device's name in the command.
  • createinstallmedia is an advanced option for system administrators and as such, requires some knowledge of the command line in order to be used properly. It is only intended to be used with the version of the OS X Installer app it came with.
Last Modified: Oct 27, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Oct 27, 2014
  • Article: HT5856
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