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How to Create an OS X 10.10 Yosemite USB Installer for the Public Beta

Posted by Jim Tanous on July 28, 2014
Create OS X Yosemite USB Installer Public Beta

The traditional method of creating a bootable OS X USB installer no longer works, so you’ll need to follow a new approach when dealing with OS X Yosemite. While there are multiple methods that will work, here’s the easiest way to create a bootable OS X 10.10 Yosemite USB Installer for the Yosemite Public Beta.

Note: As mentioned, these steps are for the free OS X Yosemite Public Beta. If you’re a registered developer using the Developer Preview, follow these similar, but specialized, instructions.

Step 1: Obtain the Yosemite Public Beta Installer

If you’re registered for the Yosemite beta program, download the OS X Yosemite Public Beta installer from the Mac App Store. This will put a file called Install OS X Yosemite Beta.app in your /Applications folder. It will also launch the Yosemite installer app when the download completes. Quit the app by pressing Command+Q.

Step 2: Format and Prepare USB Drive

Grab a USB flash drive that’s at least 8GB in size. While it’s possible to create a separate partition for the Yosemite USB installer, it’s safest and easiest to use an empty drive or one that you don’t mind erasing. Plug the drive into a Mac running OS X 10.7 Lion or higher and launch Disk Utility from the /Applications/Utilities folder.
In Disk Utility, select the USB flash drive from the list on the left. Note that you want to select the drive and not the volume. We’re using a SanDisk Cruzer flash drive, so in our case we choose 8 GB SanDisk Cruzer Media and not the default “No Name” volume.
Create OS X Yosemite USB Installer Disk Utility
With the USB drive selected, choose the Partition tab on the right side of the window. The partition scheme and volume properties of your flash drive will vary depending on manufacturer and previous configuration. In our case, our drive is brand new and formatted as a FAT volume with a Master Boot Record partition scheme. This won’t work for Yosemite, so we need to change it.
Create OS X Yosemite USB Installer Disk Utility Partition Scheme
In the drop-down menu under Partition Layout, choose 1 to create a single new partition. Then click Options, choose GUID Partition Table, and click OK to save the change. Under Partition Information, change Format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and give the drive the name “Untitled” (this allows your drive to work with the Terminal commands below; you can rename the drive when the process is complete).
Create OS X Yosemite USB Installer Disk Utility
Press Apply to restructure the USB volume with the new parameters. Note that this will erase all contents of the USB drive so, as mentioned above, be sure to back up any files on the drive or use a blank drive to begin with.

Step 3: Create the Bootable Yosemite USB Installer with Terminal

Now that your USB flash drive is ready, we can complete the process of creating a bootable Yosemite USB installer with a simple Terminal command. Open Terminal from /Applications/Utilities and then enter the following command:

sudo /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite Beta.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite Beta.app --nointeraction

Press the Return key on your keyboard to execute the command, and enter your admin password when requested. This will create a bootable Yosemite USB installer using OS X’s createinstallmedia tool, which can take quite a while depending on the speed of your flash drive.
Let the tool do it’s thing and don’t interrupt the process until you see Terminal output Done and return your window to the user prompt. When it’s complete, your USB installer will be mounted to your Desktop and you can now rename this drive (highlight it on the Desktop and press Return), as well as supply it with its own custom icon.
Eject your new Yosemite USB installer and connect it to any Mac you wish to upgrade to the Yosemite Public Beta. Reboot the Mac holding the Alt/Option key on the keyboard and you’ll see the installer appear in the EFI boot menu. Select it and follow the prompts to install OS X Yosemite.

4 thoughts on “How to Create an OS X 10.10 Yosemite USB Installer for the Public Beta”

thomaspink says:
Any idea how modify this command for the GM installer?
Reply
Dmitry says:
Code for official Yosemite from store:
sudo /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite.app –nointeraction
Reply
Chris Allen says:
I downloaded the App Store Yosemite Installer..prepared my USB key as above [except that I disregarded the advice and formatted a 32gb key with an 8gb partition for the Yosemite install] – then pasted this code into Terminal. It took about 15mins to make the installer. Thanks Dmitry!
Dmitry says:
You are welcome!
Sub Killaz says:
Did this but I am still getting the “Failed to start erase of disk due to error (-9999, 0). A error occurred erasing the disk.” Any idea why?
Chris Smith-Hale says:
Whoo! I formatted my external flash drive as instructed, naming it “Untitled”. I copy and pasted the command in to the Terminal and I’m currently “Copying installer files to disk…” THANK YOU for this clear, well written article.
Reply
erodz1892 says:
anyone has an idea to the time this takes ? mine is saying copying and is taking forever been 10 mins already
Reply
As2x says:
If anyone is getting “Error erasing disk error number (-69888, 0)”, I solved changing the name of the partition, as my mac created partition “Untitled” but from properties I discovered the path was “/Volumes/Untitled 1”, so I launched:
sudo /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite Beta.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume “/Volumes/Untitled 1” –applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite Beta.app –nointeraction
Reply
Robert Thomson says:
I’ve been fighting with this all evening. All I get is “/Volumes/Untitled is not a valid volume mount point.” I am using a 16gb USB so I am wondering if that is the problem. I’ve even checked the volume name at the command line and it is correct.
Reply
folkwagon says:
Same thing happened to me, but I figured it out. Format your USB drive and title it “Yosemite”. Then copy paste this into terminal:
sudo /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite Beta.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Yosemite –applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X Yosemite Beta.app –nointeraction
Reply
Himawan Andi Kuntadi says:
Thanks folkwagon. It helps !!
Golicza Alpár says:
Thanks bro. Worked like a charm. 🙂

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