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[Solved] Mac OS Installer on Thumb Drive  


Topic starter

Hi all, and Happy New Year

I keep a Mac OS (Mojave) installer handy on a thumb drive.  Simple and quick question: Should I periodically update the thumb drive by downloading the current installer from the App Store and recreating the thumb drive installer after every major update?  Or, is it better to just keep it as it is, install with what's there, and then update the newly installed OS on the machine in question?  My gut feeling is I'd rather have the latest and greatest on the installer thumb drive, but maybe updating it periodically is overkill.  What say you?


Kenny in Jersey!

2 Answers

I think keeping the thumb drive updated is overkill.

Only create a new installer thumb drive once a year, when there is a new major macOS release.

At that time, if you are staying with Mojave and not going for the latest and greatest (or you have older machines you have not upgraded yet), then maybe upgrade the Mojave thumb drive to the latest release (or maybe do it a few days before).


On my flash drive, I installed macOS for cases where I need to boot a nonworking Mac. I also keep various versions of macOS installers on the drive depending on the destination Mac model and user need.

I boot to the flash drive, copy the installer to the destination drive, and run it.

If you have a large enough flash drive, this is an almost ideal way to go.


You have a bootable macOS you can use for diagnostics, debugging, and just looking around.  But you can store multiple different macOS installers, and it is as easy as just copying the most recent installer to the flash drive, without needing to do the create a bootable installer.


Very boog idea Ben

Flash drives are pretty inexpensive. I currently carry a 64GB drive with four partitions: a DiskWarrior recovery drive, a High Sierra full installation, a macOS installer storage spot, and a Snow Leopard installer—for the rare occasion of migrating a white MacBook never upgraded from Leopard.

I'm thinking of upgrading, though, so I can have two full installs: one for El Capitan and one for High Sierra. I still work on a number of old Macs that don't support the latter.

Appreciate any recommendations of fast, small flash drives. I'd love to switch to drive with SSD performance like the OWC Envoy Pro mini but they're still a bit too bulky for my key wallet. My current and previous choices have been Transcend JetFlash 710 variants.