The 2017 WWDC keynote saw the announcement of Apple’s next operating system, named (somewhat incrementally) macOS High Sierra. As is their custom, the first developer beta of the OS was released along with the keynote, so that testing could begin.

In this guide, we’ll demonstrate how to create a USB install drive from your downloaded High Sierra beta, so that you can install it to multiple machines without re-downloading, perform clean installs, and keep a copy safe for troubleshooting purposes.

Remember, at the time of writing, macOS High Sierra is a developer beta only. This means it requires a paid developer account to download. If you do not have access to the developer beta I advise signing up for the public beta instead, and coming back to this guide once you’ve got your hands on the install files.

All you’ll need for this guide is a copy of the macOS High Sierra beta and a USB stick/external drive of at least 8GB capacity.

How to create a macOS High Sierra installer

1) Download the High Sierra Beta installer, and ensure that it is in your /Applications folder. This is the default download location through the Mac App Store anyway. If it is elsewhere on your computer, move it to the Applications folder. The guide will be marginally easier if you leave its name as the default: Install macOS 10.13 Beta.

2) Insert your >=8GB USB stick. If the stick is not already formatted as GUID Partition Map and Mac OS Extended (Journaled), launch the Disk Utility application and format it thusly. This will wipe all data from the drive.

3) Name the USB drive USB. This will make the guide marginally easier. Make sure there are no other volumes mounted with the same name.

4) Open a Terminal window, and paste in the following command to move the Beta Installer to the USB and make it bootable:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ 10.13\ --volume /Volumes/USB --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ 10.13\ --nointeraction

If you renamed the High Sierra Installer or the USB drive to something other than what I advised, you must edit the command to reflect your chosen names. If you moved the Beta Installer out of /Applications against my advice, you must edit the command to reflect its current location.

5) Enter your account password when prompted, and the process will begin. The USB drive will be unmounted throughout the process and will disappear from the Desktop. Terminal will provide a readout of the progress; be patient!

Once the files have been copied and the drive has been blessed to make it bootable, your drive will reappear on the Desktop and Terminal will inform you that the process is complete.

How to use the macOS High Sierra USB installer

To use the USB installer simply boot your Mac whilst holding the option/alt (⌥) key. When you see the screen in the image below, select the drive entitled Install macOS 10.13 Beta (it’s not visible in my image, but it will be in your case).

The computer will then boot to the macOS 10.13 High Sierra Beta install screens, and you can deploy it as you see fit.

Remember, it’s devs only at present, but a public beta will be coming very soon! If you have tried it out, I’d love to know your thoughts so far in the comments section below.

  • Sam Rubanowitz

    I downloaded the Mac OS high Sierra on my MacBook Pro touch bar through a different method, but it is still the official one from the App Store. Anyways, there are a few glitches, the touch bar takes a while to take effect after installing it, the Siri button on the touch bar has to be pressed harder in order to activate it, and when I restarted my Mac there was a glitchy multicolored screen and then it finally loads up. safari is also supposed to be faster on Mac OS high Sierra but it is actually wayyyy slower. hopefully all will be figured out.

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      First beta only I guess, long way to go…

      • Sam Urban

        yup yup

    • Welcome to the BETA 😉

      If you’re looking for something more stable I’d recommend waiting until the public betas because these initial ones are for developers and often have little to no focus on battery life, performance or stability. Instead the sole purpose is prototyping the new feature sets and getting them into the hands of developers ASAP so that we can have new Apps ready to go in September.

      Optimizations will happen later, but for now it’s all about the new and the shiny.

      • Sam Urban

        yeah I know but I always like updating to the newest firmware even if its in beta. except for my phone, of course, because im waiting for the new jailbreak to come out

      • That’s a bad idea. If something gets corrupted because of some instability in the software, you’re f*cked.

  • Vitor Antunes 

    Tell me if the APFS is working with FUSION DRIVE?

  • DragonPoo

    I wonder if this will run on an unsupported Mac, using the steps from the article on installing Sierra to unsupported systems?
    Also, any idea if Bootcamp will support the new APFS?

  • Michael O’Reilly

    i get ‘command not found’ (beta 2). tried altering the command to reflect the beta 2 package name (‘high sierra’ rather than ‘10.13’) any suggestions?

    • Joaquim Barbosa

      What is the exact name of the install app that you are trying to use? Remember that spaces in the name of it must be preceded by a backslash, like this: High Sierra

      • Michael O’Reilly

        ended up using an older method of install (extracting stuff from installer to a partition on existing sierra drive). i could use the command to install sierra (edited to point to sierra installer), but it would not under any circumstances do the beta…

  • Joaquim Barbosa

    That’s exactly what this article shows. The command you have there is exactly what is in the article already…

  • Joaquim Barbosa

    Double-check the command you are using, or try re-downloading the installer from a different source. Remember that spaces in the name in the command must be preceded by a backslash, like this: High Sierra

  • Beta 2 no longer allows you to download the installation files to your computer, instead it downloads a 14MB installer and prompts you to update your system… how do I get the installation files?

  • Matt Tucker

    Ran into this over the weekend as well.

    I ended up having to wipe the macbook anyways, but I redownloaded it from the store a day or so after the original attempt, and it picked up a 5GB+ install app, whereas the original was much smaller.

    There’s probably an easier way to re-download, but YMMV.

    • Sam Illingworth

      Did that reformat the system partition with APFS? That’s my main goal, I’d be happy with a complete reset if it achieved that.

      • Matt Tucker

        I tried installing the beta in-place, which completely hosed the storage, and couldn’t boot into Sierra or High Sierra. Ended up using our corporate Netboot server to reinstall Sierra, before trying to download/install the beta again.

  • EasyM84

    This article does not appear to work on the latest public beta released. The installer is only 14MB in size and when you input the correct Sudo commands on terminal it says that the installer file does not appear to be a valid OS installer ! Any solutions?

    • Robbie Caesar

      You may want to delete your installer and re download. I just downloaded the newest public beta and my file size is 5.2GB