MacOS Sierra is here, and it looks great. Apple’s next-generation Mac operating system introduces Siri for the first time on a Mac, and there’s improved storage via iCloud Drive, a picture-in-picture video player, a universal clipboard and more. Furthermore, it’s easy to upgrade, to just like with the previous OS.

MacOS Sierra
Image source: YouTube

Installing MacOS Sierra

Depending on the method you want to use to get MacOS Sierra, the install could take a while, or it could be done quickly. Your choices are either an upgrade or a clean install.

Opting for an upgrade will save all of your files, apps, and user data, while a clean install will erase everything. However, if you want to avoid anything nasty happening, a clean install is the way to go. This will remove everything from your system and replace it with the newest version of the OS.

If right now you’re wondering why bother with the clean install, consider whether your Mac is running slower than it used to. Does it have problems at start-up, crash or issues with shutting down? If you can answer yes to any one of these issues, a clean install is a must for you!

However, I am going to show you both methods: how to upgrade and how to complete a clean install.

Getting ready

Before you rush into the installation of this new OS, there are a few things to take care of. Just as you would when upgrading to a new version of iOS, you need to back up your data. Make sure you save all of your important files, images, etc. in another place. You can find out how to get your Mac ready here.

Unfortunately, not all Macs can support MacOS Sierra, so check to see if your device is in this list:

  • MacBook from mid-2009 or later
  • MacBookPro from mid-2010 or later
  • MacBook Air from late 2010 or later
  • Mac mini from mid-2010 or later
  • iMac from late 2009 or later
  • Mac Pro from mid-2010 or later

Download MacOS Sierra for an upgrade

Now that you have completed the checks and backed up your data, it is time to get started.

Step 1: MacOS Sierra is available as a free update via the Mac App Store. All you have to do to get it is open the Mac App Store and then click the Updates tab. You will see MacOS Sierra listed at the very top; if not just search for it. Then click the Update button.

Step 2: Once the download is complete, the installer for MacOS Sierra will start. Just follow the instructions to install the upgrade.

Download MacOS Sierra for a clean Install

Step 1: To start the clean install, begin with step 1 above (under the upgrade section). However, once you have downloaded the operating system, it will try to install itself. So as soon as MacOS has finished downloading, quit the install.

Step 2: Next, you are going to use the installer that downloaded with the OS to make a USB drive. This will allow you to perform a clean install of MacOS Sierra on your Mac.

To do this, you need a USB flash drive that is formatted and not titled. Now follow the below steps:

  • Launch Terminal: Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal
  • Next, enter: sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume /Volumes/Untitled –applicationpath/Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app –nointeraction
  • Tap the enter key
  • Now Terminal will require you to enter an admin password. You should enter the one you use to login. When done, you will see that Terminal has erased your drive. It is at this point that Terminal will copy the installer to your disk. Be patient; it could take a few minutes to complete. However, when ready, it will let you know.
  • You can now end Terminal, and your USB drive will have the bootable macOS Sierra installer on it ready for use.

Installing MacOS Sierra from a flash drive

Now that you have a bootable flash drive with everything you need, it is time to install Mac OS Sierra.

Step 1: Plug the flash drive into your Mac.

Step 2: Next, restart your Mac and at the same time, hold down the Option key or Cmd+R.

Step 3: When your Mac restarts, you will see a list of bootable devices. Using the arrow keys, chose the USB flash drive with the MacOS Sierra installer on it and press Enter.

Step 4: Now select Disk Utility. Then in the top left bar, you need to select MacintoshHD; this is your Mac’s main D drive.

Step 5: Select the Erase tab; you will find it near the first aid button at the very top.

Step 6: Next, you need to select Mac OS X Extended Journaled. You will find this in the center of the screen in the Format drop-down list.

Step 7: This next step will remove all of your data from your primary drive. However, it is necessary to complete the clean install, so click Erase and wait for the formatting to complete.

Step 8: When the formatting has been completed, exit the Disk Utility and select Install macOS. You will find this option in the menu.

Step 9: Now to install MacOS Sierra onto your primary drive, select it, and the process of installing the latest Mac OS from Apple will begin.

Again, installing a new OS, especially a clean install, is a matter of patience. So once the OS starts to install, follow the on-screen instructions and enjoy your clean install.