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macOS Sierra Bootable USB

How To Create a macOS Sierra Bootable USB Drive

Many owners of Apple personal computers are excited to install macOS Sierra, the 13th major release of the company's operating system and the first to be rebranded as a MacOS. Sierra has been available to the public as a stable release since September 20, 2016, as a free upgrade.

MacOS Sierra comes with a lot of upgrades, including a holistic integration with Siri, Apple's proprietary voice assistant technology. Sierra also has new features in the standard apps like Messages and Photos plus new benefits like a Universal Clipboard and the option to Auto Unlock Apple Watches.​

Upgrading vs. Fresh Installation 

While upgrading to a new operating system may be perfectly adequate for some users, a clean installation of a new MacOS can have a number of benefits. A fresh installation will rid your system of any strange behavioral tics or unusual minor problems. A fresh install will also remove lots of unwanted data fragments that can clog up your computer like software upgrade files, unwanted third-party apps, and leftover data files from uninstalled programs. A fresh Sierra install will also free up disk space, leaving your computer rejuvenated and working much faster.

Note: a fresh installation of a new operating system will wipe all files on your computer, including personal files unrelated to the operating system. Beware that all data stored on your computer will be erased when you perform the fresh installation.

What You'll Need for a Clean MacOS Sierra Bootable USB Installer

Before you begin, you will want to backup all important files. You can either use Apple's proprietary Time Machine technology or save your files on a third-party external hard drive or cloud data service. If you choose Time Machine and something goes wrong with the installation of Sierra, you can always recover it later with no risk.

If you choose to use a third-party external hard drive or cloud data service, you can create a bootable mirror image of your current operating system or choose to copy individual files one at a time for later use.

Note: If you're backing up your files to a cloud data service, be sure to verify that the uploaded files have been synchronized.

Follow these instructions to prepare your bootable drive to install Sierra:

There are a several free Apps that can help you with this process. However, I prefer to use the terminal. Here are the steps to create a macOS Sierra beta boot disk:

Step 1: Download the macOS installer from the mac App Store. If the installer opens automatically quite the installer.

Apple App Store

Step 2: Connect the external USB drive (8GB or larger) to your Mac. I have successfully used the Verbatim 32GB Store 'n' Go V3 USB 3.0 Flash Drive.

Step 3:  Open Disk Utility by going to spotlight (Command + Space), type Disk Utility, and press Enter.

Now, Select the USB drive to erase> Click on Erase > Select the USB drive to Erase > Enter the name "Untitled" to name the USB drive > Click Erase.

apple disk utility

Step 4: Open up Terminal application (Applications > Utilities).​ Or, search for terminal using Spotlight. 

Step 5: Copy and Paste the entire command in Terminal to create the bootable installer.

sudo /Applications/Install macOS --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install macOS --nointeraction

Step 6: Click Enter and type in your passowrd

Step 8: Type "Y" to Continue with erasing the USB 

Example Below:

Apple Terminal Window

Congratulations, you've created a macOS Sierra Bootable USB Drive

maxOS Sierra USB