Ever since the release of Mac OS Lion the software upgrades for Macintosh computers are distributed through the online app store. Be it a clean install or upgrade, mac app store require you connect to the internet to download whole installation files. The online OS update is okay if you have stable broadband connectivity and enough bandwidth. Apple also provides an option for internet recovery of macOS if your computer fails to boot. But there are situations where you can’t download the OS from the Apple servers. Having a bootable macOS offline installation disk is the only solution in such scenarios.

How to make a macOS bootable USB installer

It is possible to create a backup macOS installer on a DVD or USB drive but later is the best choice. Most of the Macs these days don’t have DVD slots, and the installation through a disc is very slow. Hence we discuss only about making macOS recovery installer on a USB disc. For this you need a Mac and a USB pen drive of at least 8 GB space, and a third-party app called disk maker.

  1. First, download a copy of Disk Maker from the official website.
  2. Choose a version according to your need. To make USB installer for macOS Mojave, download Disk Maker X 8.
  3. I use an MacBook Pro with High Sierra. Hence, I’m downloading disk maker X 7.
  4. The next step is to download full macOS installer from the App Store to your Applications folder.
  5. Run Disk Maker DMG installer and copy the app to the Applications.
  6. The application will automatically detect the downloaded macOS as shown in the screenshot. Select “Use this Copy” if you would like to proceed with it.
  7. Next is setting the USB pen drive for creating the bootable installer. Choose the third option ” An 8 GB USB Thumb drive.”
  8. The app will list all drives in your system. Pick the one you would like use as macOS USB installer.
  9. Ignore the warning message and proceed to Erase and Create macOS USB disk.  Don’t forget to provide your admin password when it prompts.
  10. Keep checking notifications tab for progress.  When it completes you will find Install macOS Mojave (or High Sierra) mounted to your desktop as a USB disk.
  11. That’s your backup. Unmount and keep the USB installer to a safe place.

macOS bootable USB installer

What is the alternative if I don’t have usable Mac at the moment? 

This method is applicable when you have a Mac, and the internet recovery fails. But think about a situation when your only Mac stops to boot, and you don’t have USB installer or TimeMachine backup! Downloading Mac OS DMG file might save you.

Clean installing or restoring a Mac offline with USB pen drive

As said earlier, you could use the macOS USB installer to do a clean install or restore it upon a boot failure. Just connect the USB disk and press the Option Key when you hear the boot sound. The Mac will then display all the startup disks available.

Install macOS offline

Pick the USB drive with the label “Install macOS Mojave or High Sierra” and follow on-screen instructions to complete the installation. If you need, use the Disk Utility to format the drive for doing a clean install.

6 Comments

  1. Any chance on doing this from windows? i already “wiped” my HDD without knowing that i will need an wireless internet connection (i have lan but i use PPOE and apple doesn’t give that option)

  2. Admin

    Sorry boss. Can’t provide any download links here. InstallESB.dmg is part of OS X Lion installation file. Apple lawyers might kick my ass if I provide a download link here. Mac OS X Lion a great operating system try to get it though the legal method.

  3. Can I download InstallESB.dmg from somehere? any direct link?

  4. stephane

    Hello,
    Does it requires to format the whole USB Key, or it is possible to install the file in a partition on the Key (will the USB Key still be recognized as a boot disc)?

    Thank you,
    Stephane, Geneva – Switzerland

  5. Admin

    Right click on the Mac OS Lion X Lion installer appearing in the dock and click on show in folder.

  6. Hi all,

    I downloaded Lion from app store but I couldn’t locate the setup file. Where is it?

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