Categories
Mac

macOS Recovery USB Flash Drive

This time we will take a look on simple but very useful procedure, how to prepare bootable installer on USB flash drive for macOS.

macOS Recovery flash drive comes really handy in cases when your normal (internal) system Startup Disk has problems, becomes corrupted because you have maybe messed something up or you simply want to reinstall your system, with no need for internet connection during reinstallation (maybe because it might be slow, sometimes unstable, etc.) Such recovery flash drive can be used as many times as you like to repair or reinstall multiple machines without downloading the installer each time.

First you need to obtain macOS installer if you don’t have one already in your Applications folder, but even though it’s good idea maybe to download it new, just to make sure that you are using most current version available.

Where from can we get the macOS installer(s) downloaded?

The latest released version of macOS Catalina is available through link to the App Store which downloads then the app “Install macOS Catalina” right into your Applications folder.

Links to previous versions of macOS are available from Apple as well, they are listed below. Preferably use the macOS that came with your Mac, or a compatible newer version:

If the installer opens after downloading, quit it without continuing installation with ⌘+Q or from menu Install macOS Catalina – Quit Install macOS.

Connect your USB flash drive or other external volume/drive which you would like to use for your bootable installer, just make sure it has at least 10GB of storage available. Also make sure there are no important data on your USB disk or you have good working backup because your USB flash drive will be erased with following procedure!!!

Actual idea is to use external disk (flash drive for portability) because if you want do some job later on your internal Startup Disk, you have to boot your Mac from something else, otherwise you won’t be able to make certain changes to your normal Startup volume(s).

Open Terminal from Applications – Utilities folder or via Spotlight (⌘+Space) and type Term…

Use ‘diskutil list’ command to identify your USB flash disk device.

(Before you begin it’s better to disconnect all external USB storage devices you don’t need at the moment, that will largely reduce confusion and possible mistakes leading to data loss!)

You should see an output similar to one on the picture below:

Our external USB flash disk is easy to identify as ‘disk2’ (your disk number could be different, so use what you get in your actual output).

Description in brackets should say external and storage capacity should agree with declared one usually written somewhere on the USB flash disk, that’s what you would probably expect.

Now, what ever is on your USB flash disk, let’s get a rid of it and reformat that disk with proper filesystem which is ‘Mac OS Extended (Journaled)’ with GUID Partition Map and let’s give the volume name “MyVolume”.

First we have to unmount our USB flash disk as follows:

userName@MyMac ~ % diskutil umountDisk disk2
Unmount of all volumes on disk2 was successful

(Commands you type in the terminal are bold.)

Next erase USB flash disk with proper filesystem and give it the name you want. (But to keep it simple let’s call it “MyVolume”.)

Make sure you type disk number which is correct on your system so you won’t erase unintentionally something else!!!

userName@MyMac ~ % diskutil eraseDisk JHFS+ MyVolume disk2
Started erase on disk2
Unmounting disk
Creating the partition map
Waiting for partitions to activate
Formatting disk2s2 as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) with name MyVolume
Initialized /dev/rdisk2s2 as a 28 GB case-insensitive HFS Plus volume with a 8192k journal
Mounting disk
Finished erase on disk2

Now use ‘createinstallmedia’ command

It will create bootable USB installer. Let’s assume that the installer is still in your Applications folder, and MyVolume is the name of the USB flash drive.

You have to use sudo with ‘createinstallmedia’ command to give it root access to your USB flash drive. So it’s necessary for this to use user account which belongs to ‘Admin’ group and you will be asked for this user’s password when ‘createinstallmedia’ command starts.

‘createinstallmedia’ command reminds you once again that it will erase the volume at /Volumes/MyVolume and if you wish to continue type (Y) then press return.

Then you will see output similar to the one below, it informs exactly what is doing and gives you progress indication of whole task, now only wait until it’s finished.

userName@MyMac ~ % sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Catalina.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume
Password:
Ready to start.
To continue we need to erase the volume at /Volumes/MyVolume.
If you wish to continue type (Y) then press return: Y
Erasing disk: 0%... 10%... 20%... 30%... 100%
Copying to disk: 0%... 10%... 20%... 30%... 40%... 50%... 60%... 70%... 80%... 90%... 100%
Making disk bootable...
Copying boot files...
Install media now available at "/Volumes/Install macOS Catalina"

Congratulation, your macOS Recovery USB flash drive is ready!

You should see device icon named “Install macOS Catalina” (or other macOS depending on what you chose to download) placed usually in upper left corner of the screen.

Eject USB flash disk with either ⌃+click on device icon and choose “Eject” or you can also type following in the terminal:

userName@MyMac ~ % diskutil eject disk2
Disk disk2 ejected

Then you can disconnect safely your USB flash disk from Mac.

For additional information I would advice to check article on Apple’s website How to create a bootable installer for macOS.

Startup your Mac with your Recovery USB Flash Drive

If your Mac is running then Shut it Down first.

Connect your macOS bootable installer USB flash drive.

Hold ⌥ (option) while Powering On your Mac. It will take you to Mac’s built in boot manager.

If you have Firmware Password set, then you need to type it in the grey box with padlock above.

Then you should see icons of available boot volumes. One should look like Featured Image at the top of this post caring the name “Install macOS Catalina” (depending on the version you have downloaded). Click it and it will boot in to the macOS Recovery Utilities.

Now you can do anything to your Mac’s internal Startup Disk. Perform ‘First Aid’ checks on system volumes from Disk Utility or from Terminal, Install or Upgrade your macOS, Restore from Time Machine, if necessary, completely erase your internal Startup Disk, and many more command line tasks which are normally not possible on live system. I will cover some of those hopefully soon in my future posts…

If you like this ‘How to…’ or you got stacked somewhere or have problem related to this post, let me know in comments section.

Categories
Mac

Launchpad Troubles

Are you experiencing the problem when Launchpad keeps rearranging your application’s icons just by it self, like on the picture above?

…and like this?

Seems like Launchpad on macOS including latest released version of Catalina 10.15.2 (19C57) rearranges application’s icons its own wrong way whenever you touch something in System Preferences or when new apps are installed (including native App Store apps made by Apple).

Basically what it does is, that it follows the Applications folder structure as it is, so it places everything except of Utilities folder in the main Launchpad area and what’s in Utilities folder it puts in ‘Other’ application group.

Ok, but that’s not how it should look like by default, when Launchpad icons were properly organized, right?

I was not able to isolate exactly what is the trigger for this weird Launchpad behavior, but at least there is an easy way to put everything back into the ‘line’.

To reset your Launchpad to factory default state type the following command in the Terminal:

(Don’t type the ‘%’ in the beginning of the line! It’s terminal prompt.)

% defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool true

Then either Restart you Mac or type another command to reload Launchpad:

% killall Dock

And you are done…

…unfortunately just for a while, before Launchpad decides to rearrange it’s icons again and you have to go through the procedure above again.

I know that’s pain and very inconvenient especially for someone who like to keep his Launchpad organized particular way.

I did many tests already on clean, fresh reinstalled latest version of Catalina, various Macs, different user accounts, Language & Region setting (because I was thinking it might be related to this), but with no luck.

Looks like many users are reporting problems with Launchpad. I think that these are bugs in Catalina, and for now I haven’t heard of any permanent solutions beyond what was explained above.

Hopefully Apple addresses these in the next update.

Categories
Mac

macOS Catalina 10.15.1 Update

On 29 Oct 2019 Apple released its latest version of macOS Catalina 10.15.1 which brings the build number to (19B88).

It is available via System Preferences > Software Update or for direct download as a standalone installer.

Download size is 4.53 GB (fairly big for ‘point’ update).

Make sure you have enough of free space on your system disk because this update says it will take 9.53 GB of space on your computer.

This update does not bring EFI firmware updates for Macs without T2 chips. (Boot ROM and SMC versions for models without T2 chips remain unchanged.)


According to release notes the macOS Catalina 10.15.1 update includes updated and additional emoji, support for AirPods Pro, HomeKit Secure Video, HomeKit enabled routers, and new Siri privacy settings, as well as bug fixes and improvements.

Emoji

  • Over 70 new or updated emoji, including animals, food, activities, new accessibility emoji, gender neutral emoji, and skin tones selection for couple emoji

AirPods

  • Introduces support for AirPods Pro

Home app

  • HomeKit Secure Video enables you to privately capture, store, and view encrypted video from your security cameras and features people, animal, and vehicle detection
  • HomeKit enabled routers let you control how your HomeKit accessories communicate over the internet or in your home
  • Adds support for AirPlay 2-enabled speakers in scenes and automations

Siri

  • Privacy settings to control whether or not to help improve Siri and Dictation by allowing Apple to store audio of your Siri and Dictation interactions
  • Option to delete your Siri and Dictation history from Siri Settings

This update also includes the following bug fixes and improvements:

  • Restores the ability to view file names in the All Photos view in Photos
  • Restores the ability to filter by favorites, photos, videos, edited, and keywords in Days view in Photos
  • Fixes an issue where Messages would only send a single notification when the option to repeat alerts was enabled
  • Resolves an issue that caused Contacts to launch to the previously opened contact instead of the contact list
  • Adds a two-finger swipe gesture for back navigation in Apple News
  • Resolves issues that may occur in the Music app when displaying playlists inside folders and newly added songs in the Songs list
  • Improves reliability of migrating iTunes library databases into the Music, Podcasts, and TV apps
  • Fixes an issue where downloaded titles were not visible in the Downloads folder in the TV app

For more detailed information about this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT210642

For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

Categories
Mac

macOS Catalina 10.15 Supplemental Update

After initial release of macOS 10.15 Catalina, on 15 Oct 2019 Apple released Supplemental Update. The latest version of macOS now have build number 19A602.

Direct download link is not yet available.

If you’re using macOS Mojave or later get the update via System Preferences > Software Update or alternatively Get macOS Catalina from the Mac App Store.

Apple says:

The macOS Catalina Supplemental Update includes installation and reliability improvements, and is recommended for all users.

This update:

  • Improves installation reliability of macOS Catalina on Macs with low disk space
  • Fixes an issue that prevented Setup Assistant from completing during some installations
  • Resolves an issue that prevents accepting iCloud Terms and Conditions when multiple iCloud accounts are logged in
  • Improves the reliability of saving Game Center data when playing Apple Arcade games offline

For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222