How to Create macOS Monterey Boot Installer Drive

Creating a macOS bootable installer drive comes in handy if you want to use a bootable installer to format a Mac, perform a clean install, or update multiple Mac machines without re-downloading the installer multiple times. 

A bootable installer also acts as an emergency disk if your Mac experiences problems and you don’t want to connect to the internet or cannot access Recovery mode. It’s also a great option to go back to an older version of macOS and install the operating system on a separate volume of your hard drive. Apple has been making creating a bootable installation of its macOS much easier since the launch of OS X Mavericks. All Mac users now can use the Terminal command to quickly create a macOS bootable installer, which is super cool. 

How to macOS Monterey boot installer drive

With the release of macOS Monterey, it’s a good idea to make a bootable installer drive, just in case anything goes wrong with your machine. In this tutorial, we will show you how. 

What You Need

There are two things you will need to make your own bootable installer drive of macOS: 

  • A USB stick or a Thunderbolt drive
  • macOS installation files

As for the USB stick, we recommend you go for a 16GB (or more) drive. The installer for macOS Monterey is around 12GB. If you now have an M1 Mac model, we suggest you get a Thunderbolt to drive instead of a USB stick. 

In teams of the installation files, you can get them from the Mac App Store, which is the easiest option. Alternatively, you can grab those files by heading over to System Preferences > Software Update and downloading the installer. 

To get macOS Monterey installation files, head over to the Mac App Store here. If you open this link in Safari, it will automatically download the file onto your Mac. 

Note: Do not install the file yet. 

Once the download is complete, you should find the installation files in the Applications folder via the Finder. They are usually labeled as “install macOS”

How to create a bootable macOS Monterey Installer Drive

Step 1: First, connect your USB drive to your Mac. You will be asked to erase and format the drive, so make sure you have nothing on it.

Step 2: You can rename the drive for easy access. Now, open the Terminal app on your Mac. You can do so by using the Spotlight Search (Command + Spacebar).

Step 3: Enter the command below at the Terminal. 

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ –volume /Volumes/MacOSMontereyUSB –nointeraction

  • macOS MontereyUSB: Name of your drive.

Step 4: Press the Return key to initiate the command. You will be asked to enter the admin password so the process may begin. 

Step 5: The process should take several minutes or less, depending on which macOS version you are creating a bootable drive for. 

Once it’s done, you now have a bootable macOS installer drive that can be installed on multiple Macs simultaneously. 

How to Boot from macOS Monterey Installer Drive on an M1 Mac

If you now have a Mac machine running an Apple Silicon chip, the process of booting from a macOS installer drive is slightly different. Here is how. 

Step 1: Power off your Mac and connect the USB drive to the machine

Step 2: Now, turn on the device by pressing the Power button, and keep the Power button pressed until you see a boot options menu.

Step 3: Select the macOS Monterey from the boot options. 

How to Boot from macOS Monterey Installer Drive on an Intel Mac

Step 1: Hook up your USB drive and restart your Mac. While it’s rebooting, hold down the Option button.

Step 2: Select the macOS Monterey installer drive from the boot option

Troubleshooting Tips

While the process of making a bootable drive is straightforward, at times, you may come across some annoying problems. 

Installation failed: If you are facing installation problems while making a macOS Monterey bootable drive, then make sure your Mac is compatible. Here is the list of Macs supporting macOS Monterey.

  • iMac (2015 and later)
  • Mac Pro (late 2013 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 and later)
  • Mac mini (late 2015 and later)
  • MacBook (2016 and later)
  • MacBook Air (2015 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (2015 and later)

Mac won’t boot from USB: If your M1 Mac won’t boot from a USB stick, shut down your machine. Keep pressing the Power button to bring up the Start options. Wait about 30 seconds, and you should see your USB name. 

If the problem persists, your Startup Security Utility settings may prevent your Mac from booting from an external device. In this case, put your Mac into Recovery Mode. Go to Utilities > Startup Security Utility in macOS Utilities and sign in. Once you see the External Boot option, select Allow Booting from External Media.