How to make a USB flash drive installer for macOS

This will walk you through how to install macOS on a USB drive in three steps. The flash drive must be at least 8GB+ in size in order to fit the macOS installer on it. To make a flash drive installer you need a Mac or a Windows/Linux machine running Mac OS in a virtual machine.

STEP 1: Downloading macOS

  1. Open App Store
  2. Click Store then Login from the menu bar at the top
  3. Login with your Apple ID
  4. Download either High Sierra or Sierra or El Capitan

NOTE: You can also download macOS from Downloads If you download macOS from somewhere other than the mac app store move the .dmg file to the /Applications Folder

STEP 2: Formatting the USB Drive

In order to have a usable flash drive it must be formatted in a scheme that allows for an EFI Partition.
Once running macOS on your mac or virtual machine follow these steps:

  1. Insert Flash Drive
  2. Open Disk Utility
  3. Select the Flash Drive on the left column
  4. Click Erase
  5. Set the following settings:
    • Name: Hackintosher
    • Format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
    • Scheme: GUID Partition Map
  6. Click Erase
  7. Click Done upon finish

It’s necessary to format as a GUID Partition Map, because a hidden partition called EFI is also created that will be used to store the hackintosh enabling folder and respective files.

STEP 3: Creating the Installer

  1. Open Terminal through spotlight or launchpad
  2. Copy the entire text below depending on what your installing.
    High Sierra Install:

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

    Sierra Install:

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

    El Capitan Install:

    sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app  --volume /Volumes/Hackintosher/
  3. Paste the text into Terminal
  4. Press Enter
  5. Type in your Password
  6. Press Y when it prompts an erase
  7. Press Enter

Do not remove the flash drive until this process completes. Copying the installer files to the usb disk can take 20 to 60 minutes to complete, when it’s done it will look like the image below.

The flash drive should have also been automatically been renamed.


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48 Comments on "How to make a USB flash drive installer for macOS"

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rlwebbjr
Guest
rlwebbjr

What do you do when after pasting the code into terminal, the reply comes back:
sudo: /Applications/Install macOS High Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia: command not found.

currently running El Capitan on Hackintosh Pro

Marcus
Guest
Marcus

What do you do when after pasting the code into terminal, the reply comes back:

/Applications/Install macOS High Sierra.app does not appear to be a valid OS installer application.

currently running Sierra on Hackintosh (Imac)

Thanks Marcus

Marcus
Guest
Marcus

I fixed the problem, i had the 19mb installer file. So i downloaded it with another Macbook again and i was able to create the boot stick with terminal.

My next problem is:

When i want to mount the EFI partition the folder is completely empty? NO EFI folder, no Apple folder…

What could be the problem here? I tested several USB sticks.

Thanks for your help.

Spin
Guest
Spin

Marcus can you please send the link of the full file because i use vmware for it and all the time i only get 19mb installer and i dont have a mac in handy

Tarcísio Kelson
Guest
Tarcísio Kelson

When I select Install OS X on install screen and click continue button, after Disk Utility, it just freeze and won’t pass… Ive wait for 30 min or more thinking that just a copy.

Can you help me?

naceur
Guest
naceur

Explications complete ,mercci beaucoup.
J’ai suivi ces instructions a la lettre.
Le debut de l’installation se passe bien. mais apres le premier redemarrage l’ecran noire avec l’erreur gIOScreenLockState 3 de nvidia.
carte mere assus h61 m-kk
cpu i3 340 1155 sockettes
cg nvidia gt 630.
Mmerci de m’aider

Mohsin
Guest
Mohsin

I pasted a dmg file downloaded from elsewhere into the application folder like you say in the article … but how do I modify the command in the terminal to use that dmg file?

luis enrique
Guest
luis enrique

After donwloaded the .dmg you have to open it and then a Mac OS X Installer will create and copy to Aplication folder. Then the comand will work.

Evillagekid
Guest
Evillagekid

Hi, just a quick tip for High Sierra users in case it’s helpful to anyone else: when formatting the drive I noticed the option to select GUID partition was missing. I went along through the process anyhow and noticed the EFI folder was missing when copying over those settings. Needless to say the drive didn’t boot.
Turns out in High Sierra they’ve started hiding physical devices and only showing volumes, so I ended up only erasing the default volume, not partitioning the drive itself.

Solution: choose View -> Show All Devices and ensure you’re selecting the physical drive, not just one of its volumes.

Thanks for the great advice.

Guest
Evan

Thank you for this!

Dallas
Guest
Dallas

Thank you!

Rolocop9000
Guest
Rolocop9000

THANK YOU!!!!

Julius
Guest
Julius

Thanks man!!

Alin
Guest
Alin

This needs to be added in the main guide. I did the same thing and had to copy the files twice. Takes forever through a VM lol.

Damiano
Guest
Damiano

Hi, since I never used macOS I don’t know where the high sierra .dmg file is saved. When the “Install macOS High Sierra app” finished the download, it tried to restart the pc (it’s a virtual machine), so I closed the app and tried to run the terminal stuff, but it said: “/Applications/Install macOS High Sierra.app does not appear to be a valid OS installer application”, so I searched for the .dmg file in the “Install macOS High Sierra app” folder. The folder is only 19MB, an the installer is not there. Any ideas?

Ben
Guest
Ben

“can take 20 to 60 minutes to complete” – Yikes! What’s your storage mechanism? Stone and chisel?

Lothar mit dem Rothaar
Guest
Lothar mit dem Rothaar

USB2. I could watch Pacific Rim Uprising while burning my Stick.

Raymond
Guest
Raymond

When I copy the whole text for Sierra Install on Terminal: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app –volume /Volumes/Hackintosher/

it says: “command not found”

*** I downloaded from torrent the .dmg of Sierrra Install… I need to copy on the flash drive? or in the Application Folder of my macbook?

I am stuck here…

Raymond
Guest
Raymond

never mind problem solved, it was my fault I didn’t open the .dmg file…

luis enrique
Guest
luis enrique

After donwloaded the .dmg you have to open it and then a Mac OS X Installer will create and copy to Aplication folder. Then the comand will work.

Danny
Guest
Danny

It’s a good thing to point, that in 10.13 the Disk Utility is simplified and show only volumes, which when erased doesn’t have the option to chose a Scheme. To fix this simply go to View -> Show all devices, then click on the hardware device itself and then -> Erase.

Cheers

Martin Sistek
Guest
Martin Sistek

Perfect! Thanks for your point!

dizzy
Guest
dizzy

Hi! I’m stuck right at the beginning and it’s really annoying. I’ve followed your guide on how to get Mac OS X Sierra on a Virtual Machine(VMware) and that works. Now I’m attempting to create a USB installer. Vmware picks up the USB, I press connect, I hear the disconnect between windows noise and supposedly it’s connected to the virtual machine. However, when I go to Disk Utility the USB does not show up. I’ve looked up many solutions and yet to find one, now I’m commenting here hopefully for a response.

Thank you!

Roen
Guest
Roen

What are the 10.13.4 modifications that need to be done for Clover to see Install Mac OS X? This worked fine for 10.13.3 and below.

D G
Guest
D G

If you are making a 10.13.4 bootable USB, after you create the USB and Install macOS High Sierra appears as a removable volume, run the following command in Terminal:

rm -f /Volumes/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra/.IAPhysicalMedia

dio
Guest
dio

My “Boot macOS from Install macOS High Sierra” didn’t show up until I did this ^. Also used kexts from https://hackintosher.com/guides/hackintosh-high-sierra-10-13-4-update-guide/ and used USB 2.0 port.

Steve
Guest
Steve

How does one do this from within windows, i have a win32 port of dd, can one simply use dd to write the dmg to usb drive?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

ryzen download link is dead.

noah_bala
Guest
noah_bala

NOTE: You can also download macOS from Downloads If you download macOS from somewhere other than the mac app store move the .dmg file to the /Applications Folder

so what can i do now? downloaded high sierra as dmg, and just rename “sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app” to “sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.dmg”, am i right?

Justin
Guest
Justin

copy the DMG file to the applications folder then double click it – it should mount then open. Drag the install file that is there to the application folder and it will work.

Guest
Võ Thanh Hiếu

I hung up an apple. I have a similar configuration here
https://hackintosher.com/builds/gigabyte-z370-aorus-gaming-7-hackintosh-build-guide/

JD
Guest
JD

can you do this with older OSX version? if so where can I download them from?

Caerroff
Guest
Caerroff

Hi there !
I tried to install from app store (app named macOS High Sierra , that I founded by the link you gived) and the file is only 15Mb .
I tried to execute the command , by renaming “installer macOS High Sierra.app” by “install macOS High Sierra.app” (because I’m french) .
So I tried the command , and it returned “/Applications/Install macOS High Sierra.app/Contents/MacOS/InstallAssistant does not appear to be a valid OS installer application.” .
Then I’m looking for a DMG file of High Sierra , I founded , and I’m downloading , file is 1.9Gb ,Am I doing right ? Or am I mistaking ?

Thanks for return 😉

Christian
Guest
Christian

STEP 1: Downloading macOS

Please help I am having a problem trying to download the macOS when ever I tried to it goes right into installing it to the available drive it doesnt give the option to just download the complete installer

Christian
Guest
Christian

Got the solution there are few users who will not have the option to download it search for the patcher which i used to download the macos high sierra installer full instead of the 19 mb incomplete installer

oliver francis
Guest
oliver francis

does this actually work

Robert Martin
Guest
Robert Martin

Thank you

Leonid
Guest
Leonid

MacBook-Air-Leonid:~ leonid$ sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app –volume /Volumes/Hackintosher/
/Volumes/Hackintosher/ is not a valid volume mount point.
MacBook-Air-Leonid:~ leonid$

Leonid
Guest
Leonid

Ups… Is done! %)

Ferch
Guest
Ferch

Hello Hackintosher,

Thank you first of all for these tutorials. I followed everything and was able to prepare the usb, I get to the clover menu but when I choose to run the installer from the usb, nothing happens, the screen goes black and nothing happens.