How do you test macOS Sierra without installing it directly on your Mac? You create a bootable drive instead!

How do you macOS without it directly on your Mac? You create a bootable drive instead!

an operating system from a bootable drive makes it easier to do a clean install with a fresh copy of the operating system. It’s also useful for when you are on multiple Macs and don’t want to have to download it each time.

Apple’s 2016 software updates — iOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10, and macOS — are currently available only as closed developer previews. While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That’s why we strongly recommend you stay away, at least until the public iOS and macOS betas in July, if not the general releases this fall.

Before you get startedHow to format your external drive for MacHow to make your external drive bootable for macOS SierraHow to use macOS with a bootable drive

Before you get started

Before you get started, you’ll need a spare USB thumbdrive with at least 8 GB of storage or a spare external hard drive and a developer account to download the macOS Sierra developer beta.

Note: After you download the macOS Sierra developer beta, it will automatically begin the installation process. Close the installer instead.

It is also a good idea to backup your Mac before you begin.

How to format your external drive for Mac

You’ll need to start with a clean thumbdrive or hard drive in order to get it ready to work as a bootable drive.

Plug the USB end of the drive to a USB port on your Mac.Click on Finder in your Dock to open a Finder window.

Select Applications from the list on the left side of the window.

Opening Finder on Mac

Scroll down and double-click on Utilities.

Scroll down and double-click on Disk Utility.

Selecting Disk Utility on Mac

Select your drive under External.

Click on the Erase tab at the top of the window.

Erasing a drive on Mac

Name the drive Sierra. Or, name it something easy to remember because you will need it when you create a bootable drive.Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) from the format list.Click Erase.Click Done when the process is complete.

Close the Disk Utility window.

Erasing a drive on Mac

Your thumbdrive or external hard drive is now ready.

How to make your external drive bootable for macOS Sierra

You will need to be in your Mac’s administrator account in order to run the sudo Terminal command

Click on Finder in your Dock to open a Finder window.

Select Applications from the list on the left side of the window.

Opening Finder on Mac

Scroll down and double-click on Utilities.

Scroll down and double click on Terminal.

Opening Terminal on Mac

Recall the name of your formatted external drivewhen entering the following text into Terminal. If you did not name it “Sierra” you will need to change the command syntax for the pathname where it says: Volumes/Sierra.

Enter the following text into Terminal:

sudo /Applications/Install\ 10.12\ Developer\ Preview.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Sierra --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ 10.12\ Developer\ Preview.app --nointeraction

Hit the enter/return key.

Enter your administrator account password. This is the password you use to make changes on your Mac or log in. No text will appear in Terminal when you enter the password.

The process could take a very long time, depending on the drive. When it is done, the Terminal window will report “Done.”

The Terminal screen on Mac

How to use macOS Sierra with a bootable drive

Once macOS Sierra is installed on your external drive, you can boot up any Mac with the drive plugged into it.

Turn off the Mac you want to use macOS Sierra with the bootable drive. Connect the drive to your Mac via the USB port.Turn on your Mac.Hold down the Option key when you hear the startup chime.Select the external drive with macOS Sierra on it from the list of systems to start up your computer.

Choosing the external drive to start macOS Sierra

Do you have any questions about how to create a bootable drive for the macOS Sierra installer? Let us know in the comments.

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