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You must de-authorize your Mac from all Apple services before transferring all Click on De-authorise This Computer in iTunes on Mac De-authorise Mac for iTunes on Mac Check out this post to discover all the tricks it has in store for you.

Or you can hold Option and boot to the external drive again, if needed. The whole process should take less than an hour, and once completed, you will have an untouched macOS installation on an external device that you can use in case of emergencies or just for fun. Furthermore, you should be able to boot your portable macOS installation on any Sierra-compatible Mac, meaning you can carry your own personalized Mac desktop with you wherever you go. The Best Tech Newsletter Anywhere.

Install, Boot, and Run Mac OS X From an External Hard Drive

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Skip to content. Just be careful that you're booting a Mac with the same operating system on it.

Install OS X

You may run into issues trying to boot an older OS to a Mac that shipped with a newer one on it trying to boot Leopard to a Mac that shipped with Lion, for example but you shouldn't have a problem as long as your portable Mac is up to date and running the most recent version of the OS. Keep that in mind if you run into issues trying to boot a Mac with your drive and it's not recognizing your USB drive as a startup device. Apple has a knowledgebase page dedicated to this topic , and another with a table of systems and the OSes they shipped with so you can check before booting that the Mac hardware you're looking to boot your drive to will work.

Aside from this however, you shouldn't run into any issues.

Install, Boot, and Run Mac OS X From an External Hard Drive

The process will likely change a little when Apple releases OS X Even if you don't spend money on expensive troubleshooting tools, or opt for an external hard drive that doesn't necessarily fit in your pocket, cloning your current Mac to an external hard drive has a world of benefits—the least of which is giving you a version of your Mac that you can use if your boot drive is all mucked up. Do you have any other troubleshooting tools you'd suggest for that external drive?

Have you done this before and have some more tips to share?

Using External SSD as Boot Drive on iMac

Let us know in the discussions below. The A. Filed to: How To Filed to: Share This Story. Share Tweet. Kinja is in read-only mode. It should only take a minute or two for the drive to be erased and reformatted. Now your drive is ready for OS X. There are two ways you can install OS X on to your external hard disk: Go ahead and click the Download button to start downloading the installer. Just click Continue.

How to Make a Bootable External Mac Hard Drive

Once it has been downloaded, just double-click the installer, which will be located in the Applications folder. Keep clicking past the license agreement, etc. By default, it is set to MacBook. I named my external hard drive OS X and that shows up in the middle. Click Continue and then follow the instructions to complete the installation.

OS X will automatically continue installing onto the external hard drive rather than booting up to your internal version of OS X.

Note that by default, the Mac will start booting up directly to the external hard drive until you change it.