If you have a Mac running macOS High Sierra or later, you may consider converting your external solid-state drive or USB flash drive to Apple File System (APFS). Optimized for all-flash storage, APFS features strong encryption, space sharing, fast directory sizing, and improved file system fundamentals.
Upgrading to the latest Mac operating system released at the Apple keynote this September can be everything you envisioned and more. If you take the time to upgrade it properly, that is. How? By performing a clean install of the macOS High Sierra.
Don’t worry, a clean install is as easy as it gets and we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide to have you upgraded and performing at maximum, in no time. But first, let’s find out why the new operating system brings to the table in terms of new, exciting features. Afterwards, we’re going to give you a complete clean install guide which you’re actually going to enjoy!
Why you should upgrade to High Sierra
MacOS High Sierra’s features are a series of elegant refinements that will improve performance and user experience, while also paving the way towards virtual and augmented reality. Here are the best upgrades:
- Safari gets faster and smarter, offering multiple customization options for users
- The file system is now more secure, with built-in encryption and crash-safe protection
- Videos look more amazing than ever, while taking with 40% less space in storage
- The Photos app brings improved professional editing tools and new synchronization options
- Metal 2 leverages more power with state-of-the-art development tools, robust graphics and an external GPU
- Siri sounds more human and even has a new talent and hobby as a DJ
Are you ready to get beta version of macOS High Sierra?
Of course, these are just a few of features macOS High Sierra brings to the table. Once you’re convinced that macOS High Sierra is the system of your dreams, go straight to the clean install!
Why opt to clean install macOS High Sierra
A clean install of macOS High Sierra will ensure the maximum performance for your Mac. The reason is pretty straight forward: by formatting your Mac drive you will eliminate all the issues accumulated over time and have a clean slate to start again.
By opting for a clean install, you will regain valuable disk space and get rid of the useless files and junk apps that were causing a slow Mac. Thus, you will both be able to enjoy all the great features of macOS 10.13 at their best and experience a faster Mac experience, reaching the top performance it should.
How to prepare your Mac for the clean install
Check macOS 10.13 High Sierra compatibility
Before you can enjoy all the new goodies from macOS High Sierra, you must answer the question: can your Mac run macOS High Sierra? Nervous? Don’t be, as the specs look quite promising. How promising? Well, you’ll be able to upgrade to High Sierra even if you own a Mac as old as 2009. Sure, the hardware might cause you some slight drawbacks and refuse to run all the features, but overall you should be able to enjoy the big refinements. Things look even brighter when it comes to newer version of Macs, which should support the new operating system without any problem whatsoever.
Go for a system cleanup and fast backup
The first step towards a clean install, is a drive format. But act with caution! Before you do anything drastic, make sure you cleanup and backup your Mac to keep your important files.
Start with a system clean-up. Okay, that’s actually an euphemism for: delete everything you don’t need, throw away any duplicates and erase all the useless data.
Don’t know how to do that exactly? Check out How to clean up your Mac for a detailed and easy way to perform a thorough cleaning.
There are going to be some important files you will want to keep. Be it files, documents, photos, movies or other apps, you’ll want to create a backup for them. Where? That’s up to you. You can choose either iCloud or any external storage device with enough space.
Now it’s time to wipe your Mac clean. But you did perform a Mac backup, right? Good! Then you can format the drive! Here’s how:
Go to Applications > Utilities and click on Disk Utility. From here, select the drive and hit Erase, as you select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format type.
Before you start new life with the new macOS, get equipped with a couple of backup and maintenance tools. They will save you should something goes wrong. The good solutions are Get Backup Pro or Disk Drill.
And the last thing before we start. A new OS needs a fresh Mac, so trim down the fat on your system. Use an app like CleanMyMac X to remove all system junk, large hidden files, and old apps' leftovers.
A step by step guide to clean install macOS High Sierra
1. How to download macOS High Sierra
The new macOS High Sierra has long been available for the developers only, but now is public and available in Mac App Store.
Here is the link to download it directly: macappstores://itunes.apple.com/app/id1246284741
Make sure you download the macOS High Sierra Installer to the /Applications folder and leave its default name.
2. Create a macOS High Sierra Bootable USB Drive
A clean install wouldn’t be possible without creating a macOS High Sierra Bootable USB drive. So let’s go ahead and create one! Find an 8 GB USB stick and make sure it is formatted as GUID Partition Map and Mac OS Extended (Journaled). To check if it is, launch the Disk Utility application. It’s from here that you’ll also be able to make the needed changes, if the case.
Once you’ve done this, plug in the USB into your Mac and launch Terminal. There are 2 options for doing this: you either go to Launchpad or you can choose the Spotlight search. Next, write the following command, letter by letter:
sudo /Applications/Install macOS High Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/USB --applicationpath /Applications/Install macOS High Sierra.app --nointeraction
Ready? Great! Hit return, enter your admin password when prompted and them simply go along with the instructions to complete the process. In about 15 to 30 minutes you’ll have your bootable USB and you’ll be one step closer to macOS High Sierra’s world of new features.
3. Clean Install macOS High Sierra from USB Bootable Drive
You’ve got this far. Now, it’s time to actually hit the install button and leverage all the steps you’ve completed. Take your bootable USB and connect it to your Mac. To continue, restart your Mac while pressing the Option Key.
This will open the Startup Manager from where you’ll be able to start the clean install. Proceed by erasing your hard drive from Disk Utility. Once you’ve deleted this, go back to the main menu and hit install. The steps will be prompted to you on screen, and you’ll easily be able to complete the installation. Voila! Now enjoy macOS High Sierra!
There you have it! A step by step guide to clean install macOS High Sierra Bea and be among the first ones who get to explore the new exciting features. Do let us know what you think!
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Apple distributes macOS High Sierra through the App Store. You need an internet connection, and the download will be over 5GB, so it’ll take a few minutes.
For a single Mac, the installation process through the App Store works well, but if you have several Macs, it’s not efficient. That’s why I like to create a bootable installation drive. I can use the drive on each Mac I need to upgrade, saving me from the process of entering an Apple ID and password and then waiting for the download.
It’s easy to create an external installation drive. It’s also handy to keep around, just in case you’re in a situation where you rather use the drive than rely on booting in Recovery mode.
Here are a couple of different ways you can create a bootable macOS High Sierra installation drive. First, let’s cover the items you’ll need and how to get them. Then we’ll go over the two ways to make the drive itself.
Macworld also has bootable-install-drive instructions for:
Get an external drive and maybe an adapter
Just about any type of USB external drive will work: thumb drive, hard drive, or SSD. The installer software will take up over 5GB.
If you want to use a thumb drive, an 8GB drive works perfectly. I used an 8GB Kingston Data Traveler G4 ($9 on Amazon); it’s cheap and it supports USB 3.1, so it’s fast. I’ve also used a VisionTek 120GB USB 3.0 Pocket Solid State Drive ($95 on Amazon) and older USB thumb drives that support USB 2, which is slower, but works.
If you have a 2015 or newer MacBook or a 2016 or newer MacBook Pro, you may need Apple’s USB to USB-C adapter. This will allow you to connect a storage device that uses a USB type-A connector. If you have a USB-C storage device, then you don’t need to get the adapter.
When creating the boot drive, the storage device is reformatted, so there’s no need to format the drive beforehand.
Get the macOS High Sierra installer software
You’ll find High Sierra in the App Store. It’s not available as an update, so if you run Software Update (Apple menu > About This Mac > Software Update), you won’t find it. If you launch the App Store app and look for it in the Updates section, you won’t find it. Go to the Featured section of the App Store, and you may see High Sierra appear at the top. If not, just do a search for “High Sierra.” Click on it to go to the High Sierra page. (You can also click here.)
You can read the information to learn more about High Sierra. When you’re ready to download the software, click the Download button under the icon on the upper left. (If you’ve already downloaded the installer, the button will say Open instead of Download.)
Once the download is complete, the installer will launch automatically. But don’t continue with the installation. Instead, press Command-Q on your keyboard to quit the installer.
The High Sierra installer app will be in your Applications folder, so you can go there and launch it later to upgrade your Mac to the new operating system.
Usb 3.0 Peripherals
If you already installed High Sierra, you won’t find the installer app in your Applications folder. You also won’t find it in the App Store app under Purchased. Click here to go to the macOS High Sierra section of the App Store. This link should open the App Store app and take you directly to High Sierra. Under the High Sierra icon on the left of the banner, click on the Download button. This will download the installer to your Applications folder. If the installer auto launches, press Command-Q on your keyboard to quit the app.
Make a bootable installer drive: The quick way
There’s a free app called Install Disk Creator that you can use to make the installation drive. It has been updated to support High Sierra. There’s another app called Diskmaker X that I’ve used before, but during the original writing of this article, it didn't support High Sierra. It now does.
Download Install Disk Creator by clicking on the link above. When the download is done, you can move it over to your Applications folder. Then follow these steps to create your bootable macOS High Sierra drive.
What Is Usb 3.0?
- Connect your drive to your Mac. It’s OK if it’s not formatted as a Mac drive. The app will reformat it.
- Launch Install Disk Creator.
- In the main window, you’ll see a pop-up menu under “Select the volume to become the installer.” Click on the menu and select your drive.
Usb 3.0 For Mac Pro
- Under the pop-up menu, you’ll see “Select the OS X installer.” (macOS used to be called OS X.) If you have only the High Sierra installer on your Mac, Install Disk Creator will automatically select it. If you have other macOS installers, you need to click on “Select the OS X installer” and select the High Sierra installer.
- When you’re ready, click “Create installer.” Your Mac may tell you that Install Disk Creator wants to make changes, and you need to enter your user name and password. After you do this, the app will take a few minutes to create the boot drive. You won’t see a progress bar.
- When the App is done, your installer is ready to use.