Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024

How to Create a Bootable USB Drive for Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan

If you’re a regular user of Apple’s Mac computers, you probably want to keep up with the latest news and announcements regarding the hardware and its operating system. The latest major version of OS X, El Capitan, is now available for download from the Mac App Store. While most users will simply upgrade their current installation, some may prefer to do a fresh install. This article will guide you on how to create a bootable USB drive for OS X El Capitan using an easy and user-friendly method.

Before You Begin

Before you can create a bootable USB drive for OS X El Capitan, there are a few requirements:

  • A spare USB flash drive with a minimum capacity of 8 GB.
  • A compatible Apple Mac machine (see the list of compatible Macs below).
  • The OS X El Capitan installer, which can be downloaded from the Mac App Store.
  • DiskMaker X, a free utility app that simplifies the process of creating a bootable USB drive.

OS X El Capitan Compatible Macs

To create a bootable USB drive containing OS X El Capitan, you’ll need a compatible Mac. The list of supported Mac hardware includes:

  • iMac (From mid 2007 onwards).
  • MacBook Air (From late 2008 onwards).
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminium, or Early 2009 or newer).
  • Mac mini (From the beginning of 2009 onwards).
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer).
  • Mac Pro (From early 2008 onwards).
  • Xserve.
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If your Mac is on this list, you’re good to go!

Making The Bootable El Capitan USB Drive

Now, let’s dive right into the process of creating a bootable USB drive for OS X El Capitan:

  1. Download the OS X El Capitan installer from the Mac App Store, but quit the installer once it begins to prevent the operating system from being installed. Ensure that the installer remains on your Mac.
  2. Download DiskMaker X, the utility application that simplifies the process. Visit the official DiskMaker X website and download the latest version.
  3. Unzip the downloaded file (if necessary) and keep the DiskMaker X executable in a safe location.
  4. Insert the 8 GB or larger USB flash drive into a spare USB port on your Mac and run the DiskMaker X application.
  5. If Gatekeeper throws up a warning, dismiss it and right-click on the Diskmaker X app, then select Open.
  6. In DiskMaker X, select the El Capitan (10.11) option. The software should automatically detect the installer located in the /Applications folder.
  7. On the alert that appears, select the “An 8 GB USB thumb drive” button. Note that the selected drive will be formatted and wiped clean.
  8. Another warning will appear. Select the “Erase then create the disk” option.
  9. DiskMaker X will notify you that it requires administrator privileges. Enter the administrator password when prompted.
  10. DiskMaker X will prepare your disk in the background. Once it finishes creating the boot disk, you’re done!

Creating a bootable USB drive for OS X El Capitan is as simple as that. Following these steps, even non-technical users can easily accomplish the task. Enjoy using OS X El Capitan!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use a USB drive smaller than 8 GB?
A: No, the minimum requirement is an 8 GB capacity USB flash drive.

Q: Can I use DiskMaker X for other versions of OS X?
A: Yes, DiskMaker X supports OS X 10.8, 10.9, 10.10, and 10.11.

Q: Are there alternative methods for creating a bootable USB drive?
A: Yes, there are other methods, but DiskMaker X is currently the simplest and most user-friendly option.


Creating a bootable USB drive for Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan is a straightforward process with the help of DiskMaker X. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a bootable USB drive and perform a fresh installation of OS X El Capitan. Enjoy the benefits of the latest operating system version!