Make a Bootable OS X USB From App Store File (Demonstrated using OS X 10.9 Mavericks Image)

In this quick tutorial five minute tutorial I demonstrate how to convert the operating system image obtained from the Mac App store into a bootable USB. This tutorial is useful for those who want to upgrade to the latest version of Mac OS X but wish to start with a clean slate.

At the moment in time, Apple does not provide the option to purchase OS X in a disk/other physical medium format and thus, those upgrading from an older version can only do so from their current OS X installation through the downloaded App Store image. By following the steps of this tutorial, it will allow you to create a bootable USB that can be used to perform a clean installation of OS X (formatting your data and starting from fresh install).

The Code to enable Hidden folders in Mac OS X (Enter in Terminal utility):
defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES

To disable Hidden Folders from being shown in Mac OS X:
defaults write AppleShowAllFiles NO

Generating a Bootable USB with installation of a Recovery Partition:

1) Format your USB Drive using Disk Utility. Drive should be named untitled and partition type should be Mac OS X Extended (Journaled).

2) Ensure that the “Install OS X” is in the Applications folder. Make sure it is called “Install OS X Mavericks”

3) Run the command: ” sudo /Applications/Install OS X –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X –nointeraction ”

4) Wait for about 20-30 minutes until you see the text “Done.”

5) Boot off of USB device by holding the Option key. Now you will have installed a Recovery partition on your system.

Thank you to /u/PacifistRiot on Reddit for pointing this method out!



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  1. How did you get the file “install OS X Mavericks” ??

  2. What if u take the USB out?

  3. By far the best guide on this topic.

  4. first of all , thanks for your explanation , but when in the end of the process , & when i tryed to install OS X Mavericks , the laptop asked me to sign in with my apple ID to download from the App Store , & i entered my ID but nothing happened, & he giving me that he is still trying to sign me in .

  5. hi, do you have video on how to clone a mac book pro 2009 and to transfer the image to a new mac mini?

  6. its saying resource busy

  7. It is allowing to choose a destination partition! Great!

  8. I have 2 partitions and I want to install Mavericks to an empty one. If I download Mavericks from the App Store, do Mavericks allow me to select destination partition or should I use USB-flash and your method to install it separately? I don't want to do upgrade. Thanks.

  9. I tried to look for a way to produce a bootable USB/Disk from Windows but do not think it is possible. Do you have access to another mac where you can generate the USB? Another route is to hold down the Command + R button during boot on your mac to enter Recovery. Then, reinstall OS X from there. Once you have access to OS X on your mac, you can follow the tutorial and generate a bootable USB. It's a longer process but all I can think of atm :S. I'll see if I can find something else though!

  10. Any chance of doing something similar with windows 7?