Making a OS X 10.9 Mavericks Install USB Drive

Apparently the days of getting new releases of OS X on DVDs is long gone and instead it’s made available in the App Store. If you’re upgrading your existing OS X install you probably have no need for physical media to install it but if you’re willing to do a clean install the .dmg you get from the App Store isn’t very useful. You’ll have to make your own physical install media.

I’ve read about Lion Disk Maker and other extensive ways with multiple steps to build a USB thumb drive capable of installing OS X from scratch. But then I came across a single Terminal command line that does absolutely everything and leaves the USB thumb drive ready to install everything. You’ll need a comfortably sized drive – 8GB should be enough. If possible buy a new one and don’t use it for anything else other than being your OS X install media. First, download Mavericks from the App Store. Then open up a Terminal, plug in your USB drive and type the following – you can use TAB to autocomplete folder names:

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ --nointeraction

Replace /Volumes/Untitled with /Volumes/YourUsbDriveName. Insert your password, wait for some time (I went to get dinner, when I came back ~20 mins later it was still running) and BAM – Bob’s your uncle. Reboot, pick booting from the USB drive (hold Option while booting so you can choose) and you’re good to go.