How to Make a Bootable MacOS Mojave Installer Drive

Sep 26, 2018 - 16 Comments

How to make a MacOS Mojave Bootable Installer Drive

Want to make a MacOS Mojave bootable USB installer drive? It’s pretty easy to do, as long as you have the MacOS Mojave installer app and a USB flash drive.

Much like prior versions of Mac OS, you can easily create a bootable install drive for MacOS Mojave 10.14. These boot install drives allow for things like easily formatting a Mac to perform a clean install of macOS Mojave, installing macOS Mojave onto multiple Macs without them each having to download the installer, or even as a troubleshooting tool since it can be booted from by any compatible Mac at any time.

This article will show you how to create your own macOS Mojave bootable install drive out of a USB flash key.

Requirements for making a bootable MacOS Mojave Installer Drive

Beyond those two simple requirements, you’ll need some familiarity with the command line, patience, an internet connection, and of course a Mac compatible with macOS Mojave.

One thing to note is that if you originally downloaded the macOS Mojave installer and already used it to update the Mac it was downloaded on, the installer file itself will have deleted itself upon completion of updating to Mojave. Thus in such a situation you’d need to re-download the MacOS Mojave installer again from the Mac App Store (available in the Purchases tab), or download it to a different Mac.

How to Make a MacOS Mojave Installer USB Boot Drive

Remember that creating a bootable MacOS Mojave USB installer drive will erase all data on the destination USB flash drive or volume, this is necessary in order for it to become the bootable installer disk.

Building a macOS Mojave bootable install drive is relatively simple, here are the steps:

  1. Confirm the complete “Install macOS Mojave.app” installer file is located in the /Applications directory
  2. Connect the USB flash drive to the Mac, if the drive is not yet formatted to be Mac compatible go ahead and do that first with Disk Utility first
  3. Launch the Terminal application found in the /Applications/Utilities/ folder, then issue the following command (replace ‘UNTITLED’ with the name of the USB flash drive you want to convert to the MacOS Mojave installer – warning: the target volume will be erased completely to become the installer)
  4. sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/UNTITLED --nointeraction && say Mojave Drive Created

  5. Hit return and enter the admin password (as required by sudo) and then hit return again to begin creating the Mojave installer drive
  6. Command syntax for creating the macOS Mojave boot install drive

The creation of the macOS Mojave boot drive can take a little while, but the Terminal window will update the status as it goes through erasing the USB flash drive, then copying the files to the flash drive and making the disk bootable. Finally it will report when the install media has completed and where it is located with a volume name.

“Erasing Disk: 0%… 10%… 20%… 30%… 100%…

Copying to disk: 0%… 10%… 20%… 30%… 40%… 50%… 60%… 70%… 80%… 90%… 100%…

Making disk bootable…

Install media now available at “/Volumes/Install MacOS Mojave”

Once you see the ‘Install media now available at “/Volumes/Install MacOS Mojave”‘ message (and hear the verbal confirmation) your macOS Mojave boot install disk is complete and it’s ready to use.

You can use the freshly created MacOS Mojave installer to update any compatible Mac to macOS Mojave, to perform clean installs, to format disks, and much more.

How to Boot from the MacOS Mojave Installer USB Drive

Now that your macOS Mojave installer drive is complete, you can boot from it with any compatible Mac.

  • Connect the MacOS Mojave installer USB drive to the Mac you want to boot it from
  • Reboot (or start up) the Mac and immediately hold down the OPTION key on the keyboard
  • At the boot selector screen, choose “Install macOS Mojave” from the startup options

Once you boot from the macOS Mojave installer drive you will see the familiar macOS Utilities screen from which you can start the macOS Mojave install or update process, use Disk Utility, access the Terminal, or any other task. To install macOS Mojave or update to macOS Mojave, choose that option which will quickly launch the installer.

Install macOS Mojave screen

Installing or updating to macOS Mojave takes about 45 minutes to an hour or so, perhaps longer or shorter depending on the Mac model and disk performance.

That’s it! MacOS Mojave has a variety of new great features worth checking out, and it should be a worthwhile update for many Mac users.

Do you have any questions or comments about making your own macOS Mojave bootable install drive? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

16 Comments

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  1. I get an error right off the bat
    Last login: Wed Sep 26 05:46:09 on console
    Chriss-MacBook:~ chrisaltwegg$ sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\
    Password:
    sudo: /Applications/Install macOS : command not found
    Chriss-MacBook:~ chrisaltwegg$ sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\
    sudo: /Applications/Install macOS : command not found

    • Trig says:

      Hey Chris I see that you’re trying to build a boot Mojave installer but you are getting a ‘command not found error’

      I think your issue is that you are issuing the wrong syntax when trying to run the command. The command line requires exactly precise syntax.

      If your USB flash key drive is named “UNTITLED” then the full command would look like the following:

      sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/UNTITLED --nointeraction && say Mojave Drive Created

      The other reason you might be seeing the ‘command not found’ message when trying to create a boot Mojave Mac drive is if the installer application is incomplete or not fully downloaded. You will need the complete download of “Install macOS Mojave.app” in the Applications folder of the Mac, it is about 6GB in size.

      Good luck!!

  2. Sebby says:

    Bear in mind that the case for doing this at all on modern Macs is slimmer than ever if all you want to do is clean install the OS onto one particular machine. As long as you have modern firmware, it’s quicker and easier to just boot with Internet Recovery (Cmd+Opt+R at the chime) from the outset. You’ll be booted into Mojave recovery from whence you’d wipe the internal disk and clean install, and never have to hit the App Store at all.

    • Claude says:

      Well, on my 2017 MacBook Air, for whatever reason, the Internet Recovery stoped working. I always get an error on the globe after I connect to the Internet, and sometimes even before. So, the USB key is still very important.

  3. Jan Kristensen says:

    Jesus crist. DISKMAKER. OSX Dadaily comon.

  4. Richard B says:

    Ummm, if this bootable drive will be used just to install Mojave on other Macs then why go through all the hassle of creating the drive when all you have to do is copy the Mojave installer file directly to the USB drive and then double-click on the installer file?

    • Oink says:

      Because it is bootable.

      You can boot up a Mac with the disk, then do whatever you want; format it, update it, perform other tasks from the boot disk.

      Copying the installer alone will never be bootable, you can’t boot from the installer application.

  5. Luk says:

    Can I install Mojave on my Macbook Pro 2011 ??

  6. Hazhir says:

    I have created the bootable usb and i have booted to the clean install installer but right after selectinv the Install macOS mojave from the (option) screen wjen it goes to boot the usb (apple logo) it brings a prohibitory sign (at middle of loading to install macOS mojave) i have checked the checksum of the downloaded file but looks like it ia ok , i have also checked the startup disk with first aid everything seems ok but still get the prohibitorh sign , i was able to update to mojave but not clean installinv this is really wierd :) any soloution to this? And when i teg the i ternet recovery i get the message says “recovery server does not respond” or something like that i have done everything but still got problem :)

  7. Richard Kriss says:

    Dicks-iMac-2:~ dkriss$ sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/UNTITLED –nointeraction && say Mojave Drive Created
    /Volumes/UNTITLED is not a valid volume mount point.
    Dicks-iMac-2:~ dkriss$

    I do not understand the error as the 16 GB SanDisk was formatted by the Disk Utility and is named UNTITLED and is mounted on the iMac’s desktop

    What did I do wrong?

  8. Richard Kriss says:

    Bingo… got it work by changing the 16 GB SanDisk’s name from UNTITLED to Untitled and it started working

    • Xwonder says:

      The command line syntax must be an exact match, including the path and drive name of the flash drive. And yes the command line also requires precision in capitalization too as part of the syntax, uppercase and lowercase are different. Thus if your drive is named “Untitled” or “UNTITLED” or “MojaveInstaller” or “MOJAVEINSTALLER” they are all different.

      Replacing ‘UNTITLED’ with the exact drive name of the flash drive to be converted is necessary as part of this requirement for precise syntax.

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