How to create a bootable macOS Sierra USB drive

“There are times when you may not want to use App Store or the recovery mode to install macOS Sierra on your Mac,” Mihăiță Bamburic writes for BetaNews. “So Apple gives you the option of creating a bootable USB drive. You can use it anytime and anywhere to quickly get the operating system running on any compatible Mac. An Internet connection is not even required as everything you need is already on the drive.”

“Creating a bootable macOS Sierra USB drive is very easy. All you need is a Mac, as the tools provided for the process are only available on OS X and macOS, and a USB drive with a capacity of 8GB or more,” Bamburic writes. “I will also explain how to use a dedicated third-party tool, in case you decide that this option suits you better.”

“But first you have to download the setup file from App Store,” Bamburic writes. “Apple offers a dedicated tool in OS X and macOS specifically for the purpose of creating a bootable USB drive. Unlike most tools that ship with the OS, it is not accessible directly from Launchpad. However, it can be accessed through Terminal, which you will have to open for this part of the process.”

Complete easy-to-follow instructions here.

MacDailyNews Take: We have a least one bootable macOS Sierra drive, do you?


  1. I use an SDXC card instead, in my Mac mini’s high-speed SD card slot. And it’s a FULL installation of Sierra. 32GB or more should be sufficient. 64GB or more is better, especially if you want to install third-party apps. Mine is 128GB; less than $50 LAST year, even cheaper now.

    I use it for testing purposes. I’m actually using it right now, to try out the official release before applying Sierra to my “production” El Capitan system. Although not designed for this purpose, the SDXC card is surprisingly fast. Not as fast as a real internal SSD, but probably on par with a typical internal 2.5-inch hard drive.

  2. Hold on here, you mean it’s not just simple? Doesn’t Just Work©? We have to use a third party software just to make a bootable USB or external drive? Questions, questions. Ok, I’ll research this more now. At least I know it can be done.

    1. No. It is NOT necessary to use third party software to make a bootable USB MacOS installer. All you need to do is open the Terminal application on your Mac. You will find it in your Utilities folder. Then, assuming that your external USB drive is named “Untitled”, you enter this command into Terminal at the prompt (go ahead and copy this then paste it into Terminal):

      sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\

      You will be prompted for your password. Type it in and press your Return key. Then press Y to agree to erase your external USB drive.

      That’s it.

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