How to Create a Bootable OS X El Capitan Beta USB Installer Using DiskMaker X
Apple has released its latest update to Mac OS X, 10.11 El Capitan, for developer testing. While the process of upgrading OS X has become incredibly easy thanks to the Mac App Store, many users would be interested in having a bootable install drive of the new OS. That’s because of the convenience and flexibility it offers.
The El Capitan install file is over 6 GB in size, so a physical OS X USB installer is the best option if you want to upgrade multiple computers.
The process of creating a bootable USB install drive for OS X 10.11 El Capitan is pretty easy; just make sure you meet the basic requirement for the process:
- An OS X 10.11 compatible Mac for the destination
- An 8GB or larger USB Flash Drive, which will be formatted and turned into the OS X El Capitan bootable installer
- DiskMaker X to build a bootable drive from El Capitan installer. Even though it is not compatible with El Capitan yet, it still works
Create a Bootable OS X El Capitan Beta USB Install Drive
Download the Developer Beta of El Capitan from the Mac App Store, but don’t install it just yet.
Close out of the installation screen that pops up, then search for “Install OS X 10.11 Developer Beta” in your Applications folder to verify it’s there.
Download and install the newest version of DiskMaker X. You’ll need at least Mac OS X 10.6.x to run it.
Rename the “Install OS X 10.11 Developer Beta” file to “Install OS X Yosemite.” This is done to trick DiskMaker X into thinking it’s creating a bootable install drive for Yosemite instead of Developer Beta of El Capitan. If you don’t change the name, DiskMaker X will throw you an error.
Note: Before you start proceeding with the following step, make sure you delete any old installers you may have on your hard drive.
Open up DiskMaker X and select “Yosemite (10.10)” from the window.
DiskMaker X should automatically find the fake Yosemite file (which actually is the OS X 10.11) in your Applications folder. It will then ask if you wish to use the file. Go ahead and choose “Use this copy.”
Another pop-up window will appear asking, “Which kind of disk will you use?” No matter what size thumb drive you’re using for this, select “An 8 GB USB thumb drive” from the next window.
Next, choose your thumb drive. You should better rename it as EL CAPITAN to avoid confusing it with any other drives.
At the warning, select “Erase then create the disk.” Then hit continue.
You’ll now be asked to enter your admin password. Input it, and the DiskMaker X will start creating a bootable USB drive. The process may take awhile to complete, depending on the speed of your USB drive. So be patient.
Once it is done, you’ll notified by a message saying your boot disk is ready, and and it’s called “Yosemite Install Disk – 10.11.”
Now, it’s time to install El Capitan on your computer. First, make sure the USB drive is inserted into the Mac, then restart it while holding the Alt/Option key on your keyboard.
Wait for the Startup Manager to pop up, then select the “OS X Base System” volume. Alternatively, you can just hold down the “C” key while starting up to boot directly into the USB drive.
Follow the on-screen prompts . When you reach the Install OS X screen, make sure to select “EL CAPITAN.”
Note: Beta system software is often relatively primitive, somewhat unstable, and it’s not intended for primary use. So it would be safe to install OS X El Capitan beta on a secondary partition, if not a secondary Mac.
Once the installation process is complete, you’ll be greeted with a Welcome screen. Enjoy!
Gohar is the lead editor at TechFrag. He has a wide range of interests when it comes to tech but he's currently spending a big chunk of his time writing about privacy, cyber security, and anything policy related.