[HOW TO] Create a bootable Mac OS X Yosemite disk

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The latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system is here and you’ve got two options when it comes to installing it onto your Mac. You can either download and install the update straight away which will keep all of your files and settings the way they were or you can install it from scratch to give your Mac that just-out-of-the-box look and feel.

To do that you’re going to need to create a bootable OS X Yosemite installer disk, which also doubles up as a handy rescue tool should you ever need to re-install the operating system on your Mac.

Boot 1

1. Download OS X Yosemite

The first thing to do is head to the Mac App Store to ‘purchase’ and download Yosemite. Depending on the speed of your internet connection the 5.16GB download could take quite a while to come down so you may want to start up a movie and get comfortable.

Boot 2

2. Cancel the installation

The OS X Yosemite Installer lives inside the Applications folder in your Finder but will delete itself once you’ve installed the OS. You need exit the installer which automatically runs once the download has completed by clicking on ‘Install OS X’ in the menu bar and selecting ‘Quit Install OS X’.

If you have more than one Mac this is the time to copy the installer to a flash drive to upgrade all of your devices without needing to download the files individually (even if you’re planning on just running the installer on each to upgrade without doing a clean install).

Boot 3

3. Format your flash drive

Grab a flash drive which must at least be 8GB in capacity or larger and follow these steps:

  1. Open Disk Utility in the Utilities folder in Applications
  2. Slect the ‘Erase’ tab
  3. Set the format to MAC OS Extended (Journaled)
  4. Name the drive ‘Untitled’
  5. Hit ‘Erase…’

Boot 4

4. Creating the bootable disk

The simplest way to create a bootable disk is to use Terminal which can seem a bit intimidating for those who have never used it before, thankfully you’ll only need to enter one line of code and it’ll be a strictly copy and paste affair to minimise the potential anxiety. Here’s how:

1. Open up Terminal from the Utilities folder in Applications

2. Copy and paste the following line of code into Terminal and push Enter

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app –nointeraction

3. Enter your account password (assuming you have administrator rights)

4. Wait until you see the two lines saying “Copy Complete. Done.” (see image below)

5. Eject your disk.

Boot 6

5. Booting from your installer

Connect the flash drive to your Mac. If your Mac is already booted into OS X then go to Startup Disk in System Preferences and select the Install OS X Yosemite drive


If your Mac is currently shut down hold down the ‘Alt’ key at startup and choose the Install OS X Yosemite drive when OS X’s Startup Manager opens.

[Image – Apple.com]

David Greenway

David Greenway

David is a technology enthusiast with an insatiable thirst for information. He tends to get excited over new hardware and will often be the one in the room going "Its got 17 cores, 64GB of RAM and a 5" 4K flexible OLED display, oh it makes phone calls too?" Currently uses: Too many phones. Wants: World peace... and more phones.