Booting your Mac from USB lets you fix boot issues or have sầu an extra copy of macOS for testing. Here"s how khổng lồ boot a Mac from USB.

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Mac won"t boot? Fancy testing out the lachạy thử macOS beta? You should try running your Mac from an external drive sầu.

It"s a good way to help solve a lot of problems, and is easier khổng lồ phối up than you might expect. It works on any machine, from a Apple MacBook phiên bản Pro to lớn an old iMac. So read on lớn find out to make your Mac boot from a USB drive sầu.

Why Boot macOS From USB?

There are a few good reasons to lớn boot macOS from a USB drive.

The most likely one is that your Mac won"t start, or has another problem. Booting from an external drive gets around this. It enables you to lớn access the contents of your internal drive---assuming it still works & isn"t encrypted---và it helps you to lớn repair your Mac disk with Disk Utility & other troubleshooting tools.

internal drive still accessible
Another reason is so you can run different versions of macOS. This is particularly important if you"ve sầu got crucial apps that don"t run on the lakiểm tra version. It"s comtháng for older apps lớn eventually become incompatible.

And similarly, it allows you lớn chạy thử a new version before you make the decision lớn tăng cấp. This includes trying the beta version, bugs & all. It might not be stable enough lớn use as your daily driver, so installing the Mac beta on an external drive lets you chạy thử it risk-không tính phí.

chú ý that our guide below will not build you a "Hackintosh" that can run macOS on a machine built for Windows. That requires a very different process.

What You Need

To run macOS off a USB drive sầu, you need a drive of at least 32GB for casual use. We"d recommend one a lot larger if you intend lớn use it seriously.

Fast hardware is also important. This means USB 3, và either a flash drive sầu with fast read & write speeds, or a solid state drive instead of a hard drive. You will notice a difference if your hardware is not fast enough.

You also need a copy of macOS.

How lớn Download macOS

download macos in phầm mềm store
There are several different ways to get a copy of macOS to lớn install on your USB drive.

If your Mac is running a version of macOS older than Mojave, you can download many versions through the App Store. Just go to lớn your Purchased tab và you should see them listed among muốn your other apps. If you"ve upgraded lớn Mojave sầu (or later), unfortunately the only legal way lớn get the old operating systems is to buy them. Alternatively, you might still have copies on an old installation disk.

When you choose a version that"s more than a few years older than what you"re currently running on your Mac you might encounter an error message saying that it"s too old khổng lồ install. If this happens, there is a solution.

Head over lớn our guide on how to lớn install macOS from USB, where you"ll find full instructions. This requires you to use the Terminal phầm mềm. It"s a bit more hands-on, but still easy to lớn follow.

Install macOS on a USB Drive

So now you"re ready khổng lồ set up your USB drive to lớn boot to macOS. First up, you need to format your drive. Connect it khổng lồ your computer & launch Disk Utility.

Locate your drive sầu in the left-hvà column, where you"ll see both the device và the volume. On newer versions of macOS, you might need lớn go to lớn View > Show All Devices to make this show up.

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mac disk utility
Eject the volume by clicking the Eject button alongside it. Now select the device name.

Go lớn Erase and type a name for the drive. Set Format khổng lồ Mac OS Extended (Journaled), & mix Scheme to lớn GUID Partition Map. Now clichồng Erase. Rethành viên that this will wipe everything on your drive.

format disk mac
Now tải về the version of macOS you want to lớn use. If you get it from the App Store, it"ll save sầu to your Applications thư mục. Double-cliông xã this khổng lồ get started.

Clichồng through the license agreement. You"ll then be asked where you want to lớn install the operating system. Click Show All Disks and select your external drive sầu. Choose Install, enter your password, & it"ll begin.

All the necessary files will copy over lớn your drive sầu first, which might take up khổng lồ 10 minutes. Then your Mac will shut down và the full installation will start. This takes a while, & the time estimate is not necessarily accurate.

In our case the estimate was 15 minutes, but the process was still chugging away after half an hour. Faster hardware is definitely a plus here.

When it"s done your, Mac will reboot inkhổng lồ your new, pristine copy of macOS. Now you just need khổng lồ set it up as you normally would. Connect lớn Wi-Fi, add your Apple ID info, và so on. It"s ready to lớn go.

How lớn Run macOS From an External Drive

Next time you start your computer, it might revert back to booting from your internal hard drive. You"ve got two options lớn boot khổng lồ your external drive sầu.

Go to lớn System Preferences > Startup Disk. Cliông chồng the loông chồng và enter your password khổng lồ change the settings. Select your USB drive sầu from the các mục and click Restart.

The second method is khổng lồ turn on your computer & hold down the Option key. After a short delay you"ll see a danh sách of available drives, including both internal and external ones. Choose the external drive và hit Enter lớn continue booting.

Both of these methods set the external drive sầu as the default. Of course, you can only boot from an external drive when it"s connected. Therefore you can simply unplug it whenever you want lớn boot lớn your internal drive sầu instead.

There"s one final (and important) point lớn know. When running macOS off an external drive sầu, you still have sầu to lớn shut it down in the normal way. Don"t just whip out the USB drive, or try lớn eject it somehow. This could cause you khổng lồ corrupt your data. You need a full computer reboot to lớn switch from one drive sầu khổng lồ the other.

Fix Mac Boot Problems

The entire process of setting your Mac to lớn boot from USB should take around half an hour at most. Install it on a fast SSD và you"ve sầu got a usable dual-boot system on your hands. Or you could install macOS on a flash drive, stick it in a drawer, & keep it for emergencies.

Booting your Mac from a USB drive sầu gives you a way khổng lồ fix any boot problems your computer experiences. But it isn"t the only solution. We"ve got a complete guide on how to fix Mac boot problems that should help get you up và running no matter what is wrong.

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Andy is a former print journadanh mục & magazine editor who has been writing about công nghệ for 15 years. In that time he has contributed to lớn countless publications và produced copywriting work for large tech companies. He has also provided expert bình luận for the truyền thông and hosted panels at industry events.

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