Is is possible to get a late 2010 iMac with a blank/new hard drive up and running with the latest OS and XCode? All the answers I've seen involve duplicating or restoring an existing OS. Is there a way to do it from scratch?

2 Answers 2


Is is possible to get a late 2010 iMac with a blank/new hard drive up and running with the latest OS and XCode?

Yes. The late 2010 iMac (both 21" and 27" models) had the capability of having their EFI upgraded to support Internet Recovery.

There are a few caveats here:

  • Internet Recovery (hold ⇧Shift⌥Option⌘CommandR) will install the last version that was installed on that Mac. If it's pre High Sirra, you'll have to install that version then upgrade.

  • The EFI should have been patched via normal system upgrades. It's unlikely that the iMac wouldn't have been upgraded in the last 8 years, but if it hasn't, you need to install Lion (10.7.3) and then install the patch (download here)

  • You need a "decent" Internet connection. You'll be downloading not just the installer, but the entire OS. If your connection is flaky, it's likely to fail.


  • Use Internet Recovery as detailed above
  • Take to an Apple Store and they will assist with the download and install
  • Have a friend, colleague, or family member create a USB installer for you.


Once you have your system installed (even before you install XCode), do a Time Machine backup so that you have an image of your system in it's pristine state in case you have to install macOS on a blank drive again.

  • USB install does not work on mac of this year, only disc. Jan 31, 2020 at 10:00
  • @jowansebastian - You might want to double check that..I just booted (a week ago actually), from both USB flash and a USB HDD on a 2007 White MacBook. That vintage most definitely boots via USB.
    – Allan
    Jan 31, 2020 at 15:15


You can install macOS Sierra as per the Apple support document, macOS Sierra - Technical Specifications.

You can download macOS Sierra by following the instructions in the Apple support document, How to download macOS Sierra.

Once downloaded, create a bootable USB key by following the instructions in this Apple Support article, How to create a bootable installer for macOS.

Once the bootable USB key is created, restart your Mac, press and hold the Option key and select the USB key to boot from USB. Thereafter you can proceed to format and install macOS on Hard disk.

Once macOS is installed, the last supported version of Xcode can be installed from Mac App Store.

Note: You'll need access to a working Mac to download the installer and create the bootable USB key.

  • Thanks for the links and information, I don't have a working Mac now. Would it be possible to do the download and bootable USB key using a VM on a Windows or Linux machine, or do I need an actual Mac for this?
    – juhraffe
    Jun 26, 2018 at 14:47
  • As mentioned by Allan in his answer, you can visit an Apple Store and get assistance with download and installation.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Jun 26, 2018 at 14:57

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