Mac OS X USB Stick

Create a bootable USB stick with Apple Mac OS X also to the downgrade

Today I describe you how to create a bootable USB stick for the emergency or the up or downgrade of an existing Mac OS X operating system.

Contrary to some statements that can be found on the net, it is possible at the present time to download the operating system again, that is to install an earlier operating system.

If your iMac, MacBook Pro or Mac Mini / Pro had a publication date of 2013 and the first devices have appeared with, for example, OS X Mavericks 10.9. So you can download the device if it has been updated to this operating system.

It is not possible to install an operating system that has been published before the date of publication of your device.

Here are a few appearance data for Apple operating systems:

Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 - 28.08.2009

Mac OS X LION 10.7 - 20.11.2011

Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 - 25.11.2012

Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9 - 22.10.2013

Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10 - 16.10.2014

Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11 - 30.09.2015

Mac OS X Sierra 10.12 - 20.09.2016

Mac OS X High Sierra 10.13 - 25.09.2017

Mac OS X Mojave 10.14 - 24.09.2018

Mac OS X El Catalina 10.15 - 07.10.2019

To create a bootable stick, there are two options:

1. The integrated Apple tool is started via the terminal.

2. Free software such as the DiskMaker for Mac OS X.

Create the USB stick

First, we need the image for the operating system, so a file containing the software.

I would only advise about images directly from Apple because other pages may have integrated malware.

Here are some images for the operating systems diret from Apple:

High Sierra:



Download the required image only but not install. If the download completed, the stick can be created.

To create a stick, a USB stick with 8GB is required for the older operating systems until Mojave. For Catalina it should be a larger stick 16GB.

First, the stick must be deleted.

To do this, open the hard drilling program (click on the top right loupe and select and select the hard disk service program).

In the hard disk service program, select the stick and delete and assign names (Mac OS Extended / Guide Partition Table).

I call the stick here "empty".

If the stick is deleted, close the locking utility.

Who creates the stick via a software like DiskImage, can skip the following steps and just start its software.

This description refers to the built-in Apple tool for creating a boat ticket.

Open terminal (click on the top right and search for terminal and confirm).

Here is the terminal commands for the different operating systems:


Sudo / Applications / Install \ Macos \ --Volume / Volumes / Leer



Sudo / Applications / Install \ Macos \ --Volume / Volumes / empty

High Sierra:

Sudo / Applications / Install \ Macos \ High \ --Volume / Volumes / Leer


Sudo / Applications / Install \ macos \ --Volume / Volumes / empty

El Capitan:

Sudo / Applications / Install \ macos \ el \ --Volume / Volumes / empty

The command can be easily copied and inserted into the terminal. Do you also have your stick empty Called, so you only have to press the ENTER key. If you have called your stick differently, then that empty be replaced by your name you forgive.

Now you have to enter your adminitator password, which you use in Mac OS X, enter confirmation and then confirm with the Y key.

Now the stick is created. Terminal reports when the stick is ready.


To install the operating system via the stick, it must be connected logical white to the device. If the device is not turned off, switch off the device.

To start from the stick, the left old (option) button must be pressed and held until the stick appears in the display (Install Mac OS ...).

Then select and start the stick.

Then select the desired language.

If you want a complete reinstallation (Clean Install, without all your data) or a downgrade / older operating system, the hard drive must previously be deleted. For a simple update, if you want to keep your data, this is not necessary. Here you can install directly on Macos and confirm the further steps.

Description Downgrade / Clean Install (Attention All data is deleted)

Select the hard drilling program in the menu.

In the hard drying program then left "Presentation" Click and open "Show all devices" to adjust.

Select the hard drive / SSD - not the partitions!

Then delete and assign a name for the hard disk. Confirm the whole then.

If the hard disk is deleted, finish the hard disk utility.

Now the operating system can be reinstalled. To do this, go to "install Macos" and continue.

Confirm all further steps with proceeds and the hard drive to which the operating system should select.

Finally, confirm the installation.

The whole thing also described here again directly by Apple, if anything is unclear:

Attention very important! Always connects the device to a power supply / power supply during installation. Always waits the installation completely. For some operating systems such as High Sierra, Mojave or Catalina, the firmware is also reinstalled. Partially, the screen is completely black for several seconds or minutes, which may be falsely accepted that the installation failed and the device then turns off or restarts. Under no means switch off or restart the device, otherwise the firmware can be damaged and the device does not start anymore. Should your screen be black, so wait at least 30 minutes until your anything is undertaken.

ATTENTION We assume no liability for any errors that arise! It is our own responsibility, so installations should only be carried out by experienced users.