You can upgrade to OS X Yosemite from the App Store, but that isn’t ideal for installing on multiple Macs, doing a clean install, or building a Hackintosh. Here’s how to burn Yosemite to a USB drive instead.
As with all OS X upgrades, once you run the installer on your system, it disappears from your Applications folder. You can get it back by holding down the option key while clicking on the purchases tab to re-download the file or restore the installer from a Time Machine backup, but to save you some time, it’s best to do this disc burning before you update your Mac to Yosemite.
The Easy Option: DiskMaker X
The easiest way to burn Yosemite onto a disk is through a free app called DiskMaker X.
- Download the Yosemite installer and DiskMaker X, if you haven’t already. (At the time of this writing, you’ll have to download the Beta version for DiskMaker X for it to work with Yosemite).
- Insert an 8GB (or larger) flash drive. If you have any important data on the drive, back it up now, since this process will completely erase it.
- Start up DiskMaker X, choose Yosemite from the list of options, and it will handle the rest for you.
When it’s done, you can insert that drive into any Mac and launch the installer by holding Option when you boot the computer. Besides installing Yosemite, this drive will have a couple of handy utilities on it, such as Disk Utility and Time Machine recovery.
The DIY Option: Terminal
If you don’t want to download another app to do it for you (or DiskMaker X doesn’t work for some reason), you can burn it yourself with no extra software with a simple terminal command. Here’s what you need to do:
- Download the Yosemite installer, if you haven’t already.
Insert an 8GB (or larger) flash drive, and give it a name. For this tutorial, we’ve named it
Yosemite. Make sure the drive is formatted OS X Extended (Journaled). If not, hop into Disk Utility and format it so it is. If you have any important data on the drive, back it up first, since this process will completely erase it.
- Open up the Terminal, either through Spotlight or by double-clicking on it in /Applications/Utilities.
Type (or copy and paste) the following command into your Terminal window (replacing
Yosemitewith the name of your drive) and press Enter:
sudo /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Yosemite --applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite.app --nointeraction
- Type in your password when prompted and press Enter.
Let the command work its magic. Don’t interrupt it until you see the final line that says
Donebefore it returns you to the prompt. This could take as long as half an hour, so be patient!
When it’s done, you can insert that drive into any Mac and launch the installer by holding Option when you boot the computer. Besides installing Yosemite, this drive will have a couple handy utilities on it, such as Disk Utility and Time Machine recovery.
This is the fastest and easiest way to create a Yosemite installer, though there are a few other methods. Check out this Macworld article for other options if the above doesn’t work for you.