Some Mac users use bootable install USB drives for updating or installing MacOS Monterey onto a computer. If you’re wondering how to make a bootable macOS Monterey installer drive, we’ll walk through the process.
This is generally for more advanced users, typically who wish to use a bootable installer drive for erasing and formatting a Mac, clean installing, troubleshooting purposes, or updating multiple Macs to macOS Monterey without having to re-download the installer. For most users, the simplest way to install Monterey is the standard upgrade path.
Requirements to build a macOS Monterey Bootable Install Drive
You will need a few prerequisites to get started:
- The Mac must be compatible with macOS Monterey, otherwise it will not be able to download the installer
- MacOS Monterey downloaded and stored in the /Applications folder, labeled as “Install macOS Monterey.app”
- You will need a USB flash drive (16GB or larger) which will be turned into the Monterey boot installer drive
Using the command line requires precise syntax, since typos or improper command syntax can lead to failures or the wrong disk being formatted. Thus, this procedure is most appropriate for advanced users.
How to Make a Bootable macOS Monterey Installer Drive
Here’s how to create a bootable macOS Monterey 12 installer drive:
- Connect the USB flash drive to the Mac, this will be formatted and erased so make sure you don’t want anything on it
- Rename the USB flash drive something obvious, like “macOSMontereyUSB”
- Download macOS Monterey installer from the App Store if you have not done so already
- Open the “Terminal” app by hitting Command + Spacebar and typing ‘Terminal’ and hitting the return key
- Enter the following command at the Terminal, replacing “macOSMontereyUSB” with whatever name you gave the thumb drive:
sudo /Applications/Install/ macOS/ Monterey.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MacOSMontereyUSB --nointeraction
- Hit return to execute the command, then enter the admin password and hit return again to begin the process of making the boot install drive
The command line will report back when the process has completed and the installer drive has been successfully created.
Once the process has been complete, you can use the installer drive to update macOS on the current machine to Monterey, or eject it and use it on other Macs.
Booting Apple Silicon ARM / M1 Mac with MacOS Monterey Installer Drive
For ARM / M1 Macs, connect the drive to the Mac, then you can perform a boot as follows:
- Power off the ARM Mac if it’s currently turned on
- Connect the USB drive to the Mac, then turn on the Mac by pressing the power button, then continue holding the power button until a boot options menu appears on screen
- Select the macOS Monterey drive from the boot options
Booting an Intel Mac with a macOS Monterey USB Install Drive
For Intel Macs, boot disks are used as follows:
- Connect the USB drive to the Intel Mac, then restart the Mac and immediately hold down the OPTION key
- Select the macOS Monterey installer drive from the boot menu
The installer is the same regardless of whether the destination is an ARM Mac or Intel Mac.
This obviously covers the Terminal approach to this, but you can also download full macOS installers with the MDS tool but we’re focusing on the command line method which does not require the use of third party software.
Did you make a macOS Monterey boot installer? Did you use one to update to macOS Monterey? What do you use the bootable installer drive for? Let us know your thoughts, tips, and experiences in the comments.