Apple offers beautiful hardware and software products that can enrich and simplify the lives of computer users in many functional areas. One of those convenient options of Apple equipment is, for example, the possibility of recovery via the internet if the system drive has decided to give up and therefore no longer offers a possibility of recovery from the system drive. Start your Apple computer with keyboard combination Command + R and you can restore the macOS to the system drive via an internet connection. But what if you don’t have an active internet connection at the moment and you still have to perform a reinstallation as soon as possible? Then you need an alternative option to restore the operating system. With the somewhat older iMac and macBook computers, a system DVD was included that you could use to perform a recovery, but the somewhat younger equipment no longer offers these options. But there is a solution for this in the form of a bootable macOS drive that you can create yourself. You can create such a drive in different ways, but in my opinion Diskmaker X is the best and most convenient app to create a bootable macOS drive without using the Terminal.
What is DiskMaker X
For already quite some macOS versions you don’t get or buy a physical macOS installation medium, but offers Apple the possibility to download a version of macOS via the App Store and then you can install a new version via the downloaded package. But this assumes you have a working system. But sometimes you don’t have a working system and no possibility to download a macOS installation package. Or what if there is an internet connection problem? Isn’t it safer and more convenient to have for example a USB (or Thunderbolt) drive with a version of macOS that you can boot from to start the installation process? Well there are multiple ways to create a bootable macOS installation drive. One of the options is via a relatively simple command line via the Terminal. In a future article I will explain how to create a bootable drive via a Terminal command, but in this article I want to show a more user friendly and less tech savvy way. DiskMaker is in my opinion the best and most simple app to create a bootable macOS drive and the nice thing is that it is absolutely free. But I think that a nice application like this deserves some love for the creator, so if you feel the same, think about a small donation and go to https://diskmakerx.com/donations/.
DiskMaker X is a simple application that makes creating a bootable macOS installation drive a breeze without thinking about typing a correct command in Terminal. You just download the version of the required macOS installer via the App Store, start DiskMaker X, find the installation app for your specific macOS installer, select the drive you want to convert to a bootable macOS drive and start the process. That is all what’s needed to reliably create the bootable drive. After the drive is ready you can reboot your computer and by holding the the “Option” key down on your keyboard as your Apple computer starts, you can boot from the USB stick you’ve just created and reinstall the operating system on your machine.
How to use DiskMaker X
Let’s go through the complete process to create a bootable macOS drive. To do this we need to go through the following basic steps:
1) Download the macOS installer
2) Download and install DiskMaker X
3) Create a bootable macOS drive
Note: For macOS Catalina you need at least a 16GB USB drive. For all other macOS versions you can use an 8GB USB drive.
Download the macOS installer
Although at the time of writing the current version of macOS is Catalina, maybe you want to install a previous version. Older versions can still be downloaded via the following links:
If you want to download OS X Mavericks, El Capitan, Yosemite, Mountain Lion or Lion, this is only possible if you previously downloaded them and they are in your Purchased tab of the App Store.
In this example we are going to create a macOS High Sierra bootable USB drive.
1) Click on the following link:
2) Click on App Store and click on Open link to open the macOS High Sierra information and download page.
3) Click on Download.
4) Once the macOS installer has been downloaded do not click Install in the opened screen, but quit. The installer will be in your Applications folder.
Now let’s download and install DiskMaker X.
Download and install DiskMaker X
DiskMaker X has specific versions for different versions of macOS. So first be sure about which version of macOS you want to create a bootable drive for. As mentioned, as an example we are creating a bootable High Sierra USB drive, so we need to do the following:
1) Go to the DiskMaker X download page by clicking on the link below:
2) Look for the macOS High Sierra (10.13) Install Disk row in the table.
It says that you need DiskMaker X 7 for macOS High Sierra.
3) Click on the DiskMaker 7.0.1 link to download the required installer.
4) After the download is complete go to your Downloads folder and double click the DiskMaker .dmg file.
5) Drag and drop the DiskMaker icon to the Applications folder.
Now DiskMaker X is ready to create a bootable macOS drive.
Create a bootable macOS drive
In the previous sections we downloaded a macOS installer and the correct version of DiskMaker X, so now we can create a bootable macOS drive.
1) Put your USB thumb drive in your computer.
2) Go to your Applications folder and start DiskMaker X.
DiskMaker X will find the macOS installer, but you also can manually point to the correct location.
3) Click on Use this copy.
4) Click on “An 8 GB USB thumb drive”.
5) Select your USB drive.
6) Now click on Erase then create the disk to actually create the bootable drive.
That’s all. So now, in case of an emergency, you can reboot your computer and by holding the the “Option” key down on your keyboard as your Apple computer starts, you can boot from the USB stick you’ve just created and reinstall the operating system on your machine.