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I have a Late 2012 Mac mini. I want to replace the hard drive with a SSD. The computer place wants to charge $99 for installing the OS on top of the $129 for installing the new SSD. The tech said I can install the OS myself. Could someone please help me on how to do it so I can save $99?

  • Have you tried googling it? Installing OS X is among the easiest possible things to do. – At0mic Jul 23 '16 at 2:27
  • You can use Internet Recovery. Just hold Cmd-R while booting your Mac and it will download the last version you had installed. – Allan Jul 23 '16 at 10:37
  • @Allan, Internet Recovery installs the version of OS X that was shipped on the Mac, which may not be the last version one had installed. I already posted as an answer the Internet Recovery directions from Apple because I though see already replaced the drive. I misread and as such David Anderson's answer of making the OS X USB Installer is the best way to go if one still has a functioning version of OS X installed, or can have it made on a friends Mac. Either way is better then paying $99 to have it installed. – user3439894 Jul 23 '16 at 11:43
  • @user3439894. I am fully aware of that. However, given the age of the machine, it is quite possible that Internet recovery is available either through the original installation or through an upgrade. Attempting IR doesn't break anything. – Allan Jul 23 '16 at 12:01
  • One thing I forgot to mention, you can have the OS downloaded / installed for free at any Apple Store. Just make an appointment, tell them that you HDD is erased and you need to install El Capitan. – Allan Jul 23 '16 at 12:03
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To avoid having to install OS X twice, do the following.

Before removing your existing hard disk, follow the steps given below:

  1. Download El Capitan (OS X 10.11) from the Mac App Store.
  2. Create a bootable installer for OS X. For this you will need a USB flash drive.

Both of the above steps are outlined at the Apple web site: "Create a bootable installer for OS".

If you are not able to do follow the instructions on the link above, or are wary or using command lines, download a free tool called Unibeast onto your Mac. It will create the bootable USB device for you. I don't own the tool or promote it so I won't link it but I do recommend it since it helped me. A simple search should bring it up.

If not, the rest of this guide continues:

Once your new disk is installed, do the following.

  1. Insert the flash drive in a USB port on your Mac.
  2. Start the Mac and hold down the option key.
  3. Select to boot from the flash drive.
  4. Use the Disk Utility application to create a single partition to install El Capitan (OS X 10.11).
  5. Quit the Disk Utility application.
  6. Select "Reinstall OS X".
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  1. Start up from OS X Internet Recovery by holding down Option-Command-R immediately after turning on or restarting your Mac. Release the keys when you see the Apple logo. Startup is complete when you see the OS X Utilities window.

  2. Open Disk Utility from the OS X Utilities window, then use Disk Utility to erase your built-in hard disk using the OS X Extended (Journaled) format. Quit Disk Utility when done.

  3. Choose Reinstall OS X from the OS X Utilities window, then follow the onscreen instructions. This installs the OS X that came with your Mac when it was new. This version isn't associated with your Apple ID. The new owner can then use the Mac App Store to upgrade OS X with their Apple ID.

OS X Utilities window

  1. When done, your Mac restarts to a setup assistant. Press Command (⌘)-Q, then click Shut Down. That way the new owner can complete the steps of the setup assistant using their own information.

Source: How to reinstall OS X

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If you are not able to do follow the instructions on the link in David Anderson's answer for creating a bootable USB or are wary of using command lines like I am, download a free tool called Unibeast onto your Mac. It will create the bootable USB device for you. I don't own the tool or promote it so I won't link it but I do recommend it since it helped me. An online search should bring it up. Rest of his guide worked like a charm.

  • If it is a non-commercial software, why not link directly to it? Citing a guide, or better: only alluding to it is less helpful than citing it and linking to it. Further: UniBeast is primarily for Hackintoshes. Diskmakerx.com might be a better option here. – LаngLаngС Sep 14 '17 at 1:21

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