Does anyone have any experience creating a multi-partition USB Stick with bootable partitions for installing Mavericks, Yosemite and Snow Leopard?

I have a 32Gb stick I'd be perfectly willing to devote to this venture - if such a thing is even possible to create.

I have experience creating a singular Mavericks installer USB Stick - but does Option-booting a Mac allow for booting from multiple partitions?


3 Answers 3


Okay.. Apple have a perfectly workable website titled "Create a bootable installer for OS X" ( https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372 )

Which tells you what to do via the Terminal, once you have successfully downloaded Install OS X El Capitan.app, Install OS X Yosemite.app and Install OS X Mavericks.app.

Their instructions are as follows:

EDIT: note, added macOS Sierra, which works with the same method - but is not listed on their website

macOS Sierra

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app

OS X El Capitan

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app

OS X Yosemite

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app

OS X Mavericks

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Mavericks.app

I was able to use these commands from the Terminal, onto a Disk Utility -made 5 partition USB stick. I verified it with option-down-during-boot (alt-down-during-boot) and both of them booted up fine.

I was unable to find an OS X Snow Leopard installer from my hard drive or elsewhere, so I'm considering this question answered.

Note: Mountain Lion installer app does not have "createinstallmedia" like Yosemite+Mavericks do, hence I didn't install that one on a USB stick - for that, one would have to use a secondary set of instructions for installing the installer to a USB stick via the usual way (Disk Utility, mounting, copying, copying some more..)


While I do not have experience with this particular method O/S X can easily boot from multi partitions on any media. It does to matter if it is a USB key, a Thunderbolt RAID array or whatever. Holding down the option key will give you all bootable partitions available to the Mac at boot.


Yes - it is possible. I have a USB drive with bootable OS X versions from 10.6 to 10.10.

  1. Use disk utility to create the partitions you need. Under Partition you can choose the number of desired partitions. Make sure you select the GUID Partition Table (GPT) in Options.
  2. Use a tool like DiskMaker X to create the OS X drives for you. For OS X 10.9 and 10.10 can also use the method described by @esaruoho.
  3. Press alt during boot and select the partition you want.

NB: Your Mac will only boot the partitions that it can actually handle. E.g. a recent Mac will not boot 10.7.

  • Hi n1000 - DiskMakerX unfortunately wipes all the partitions of a USB stick before starting the process. So DiskMakerX is unfortunately not a good solution, unless if you plan on having one USB stick per one OS X.
    – esaruoho
    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .