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How to Build a Bootable USB Installer for OS X Mavericks

How to Build a Bootable USB Installer for OS X Mavericks

It’s finally here – yes, Apple has finally released OS X Mavericks to the public!  With the public release, Apple has changed the necessary steps required to build a fully functional bootable USB installer for the preview.

OS X Mavericks

A USB install disc can be an important tool to quickly and easily install a fresh copy on your Mac, without first having to install OS X Mountain Lion and then upgrade using the Mac App Store method. Since Apple has changed a few things since their first developer preview, we’ve got a new method for creating a USB install disc also – and this one should work for many versions of OS X to come.

Note: While the old method still technically works, it will not install a Recovery Partition, whereas this new method will. Before you proceed, please note that you will need a flash drive at least 8GB in size or larger.

Here’s how to make it work, courtesy of some helpful instructions from MacRumors forum member tywebb13:

Your 8 GB USB drive should be called Untitled and formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). The installer should be called Install OS X Mavericks.app and should be in your Applications folder.

Run this in terminal and wait about 20 minutes:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app --nointeraction

You should see something like this:

Erasing Disk: 0%… 10%… 20%… 100%…
Copying installer files to disk…
Copy complete.
Making disk bootable…
Copying boot files…
Copy complete.

Patience is key. The process can take up to 20-30 minutes to finish, even though Terminal may not look like it is doing anything. Make sure to wait until you see the “Done.” prompt before exiting Terminal or interrupting the process.

That’s all there is to it! For reference, the original method of creating a USB boot drive can also be found at this link.

Update (10/24/13): Fixed a minor issue in how the code was displayed, and updated to reflect the public release of Mavericks.

For more helpful tips, check out our full collection of tutorials by visiting our How-To category!

  1. Bruce says:

    You should copy the sudo command from the original article as the one above is does not function – the one in the original article does – ‘-‘ missing…..

  2. Bruce says:

    … the line feeds are messed up too I think

  3. Andrew Macrae says:

    the hyphens in front of each command (.e.g. -volume) should be double hyphens (e.g. –volume)

  4. Tolga says:

    You must type the command like this:

    sudo /Applications/Install OS X Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X Mavericks.app –nointeraction

    1. It’s been fixed – had to wrap it in a tag to get our site theme to display the double hyphen correctly. Thanks!

  5. Mike says:

    Thank you, Bruce!

  6. Mike says:

    And Tolga for posting the full fixed command

  7. Fizz says:

    Thanks Tolga for the correct command!

    Hope they edit this soon.

  8. czarembo says:

    It was fairly simple for me. I downloaded it, dragged it on to a USB memory stick, clicked on it and installed it successfully on two different machines.

    I did nothing presented in this article and it installed two partitions. Don’t ask me why it worked, but it did!

  9. Ruben says:

    Whys is this command necessary to install mavericks? or what is the difference?

  10. lsc9x says:

    Dude, thanks so much! I hosed my fusion drive, and this fixed everything (after deleting the partitions on the larger hard drive of the fusion drive with system rescue cd v 3.8.1). I am copying this down for future reference…

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