How to boot macOS Big Sur from the installer drive – Guide

This one tutorial The exercise shows you the best way to create a bootable macOS Big Sur flash drive so you can upgrade a Mac that doesn’t have a DVD drive.

How to create a bootable macOS Big Sur install drive

Get an external drive and maybe an adapter

The macOS Big Sur installer software is over 12GB, so you need an external USB drive that can store that much data. The drive can be a thumb drive, hard drive, or SSD. If you have a Mac 2015 or newer laptop that has USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, you may need Apple’s $19 USB to USB-C adapter. This will allow you to connect a storage device that uses a USB Type-A connector. If you don’t have an external drive and you have a Mac USB-C laptop, you can buy the SanDisk Ultra USB Type-C Flash Drive, which has a USB-C connector. You can get model number SDCZ450-016G-G46. You need to erase the drive and format it for Mac OS Extended (Journaled). You can do this in your Mac’s Disk Utility application, which is in the Applications/Utilities folder.

Get the macOS Big Sur installer software

Big Sur is available through Apple’s App Store. Click Get button in the upper-right corner, and the Software Update system preference will open. Click on Download button. The download may take a while. But after the download completes and the installer starts, don’t click on the Continue button button. Exit the installer by pressing Command-Q. Then go to the Applications folder and you should find an “Install macOS Big Sur” application. You need to have the app there to make the drive bootable.

Use Terminal to create a bootable macOS Big Sur installer drive

Update installer drive

This section may not be necessary for you to run. It will not appear if it is not needed.

Change security settings

How to boot from installer drive

With the external drive connected.

Final note

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