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I am running Catalina as my primary OS but am finding that I'd still like to run some 32-bit apps. Is it possible to create a new AFFS volume, install Mojave and simply run a dual-boot system?

Things that did not work:
I have created a new APFS volume, but I cannot figure how to make it bootable.

I was able to download an official build of Mojave but cannot get to the install screen because of an error message telling me This copy of the “Install macOS” application is too old to be opened on this version of macOS.

  • Put the installer on a USB key and boot from that - this will let you install to your new volume. See this and adjust names to macOS\ Mojave.app to make USB installer. – lx07 Nov 11 '19 at 9:45
  • This Apple link How to create a bootable installer for macOS contains the command to make USB installer for Mojave : sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume – lx07 Nov 11 '19 at 10:05
  • Warning: Yesterday, I rendered my Catalina unbootable - first updating Mojave with some security update (AFAIR 2019-001) and then updating Catalina to 10.15.1. Both systems were on external thumb drives. This may have been a coincidence though. But I suspect the two preboot partitions to cause a hickup of the 10.15.1 updater. – klanomath Nov 11 '19 at 11:35
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Yes, this is definitely possible. I just created this exact setup with macOS Catalina (10.15.1) as the "main" OS, and a separate macOS Mojave (10.14.6) installation in an APFS Volume (same disk, same container).

Follow these steps:

Step 1

Download "Install macOS Mojave" archive

  1. Click on this link which will open the Mac App Store on the Mojave page.
  2. Click Get.
  3. The Software Update window up from System Preferences will open showing the latest version of Mojave. Confirm that you want to download the software, you'll also see a warning that you are downloading an older version of the OS, ignore it.
  4. Wait while the macOS downloads - it may take a while.
  5. Once it’s downloaded DO NOT click on Open - you don't want to install it yet.

(from https://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/mac-software/downgrade-macos-3581872/)

Step 2

Create APFS volume

  1. Open "Disk Utility"
  2. Click "View" -> "Show All Devices" (⌘2)
  3. Click on "Container disk1" and "Add APFS Volume..."
  4. Enter Mojave in "Name" (leave "Format" as "APFS" - I also did not specify any size options)

Step 3

Create bootable installation media for Mojave

Follow the official instructions at How to create a bootable installer for macOS

In short summarized form:

Format a min 16GB USB stick using Mac OS Extended, call it boot, then run:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/boot

Replace /Applications with ~/Downloads in case the installer is still in your Downloads folder.

Step 4

Boot from install media, and install to Mojave volume

  1. Reboot your computer, hold down the Option key () before the Apple logo appears
  2. Choose the USB media (Mojave installer)
  3. Click "Reinstall macOS" once the "macOS Utilities" screen appears
  4. Select the Mojave volume when asked where to install

Once the installation is finished, you can use the "Startup Disk" program to set you main Catalina installation as the default. When you want to boot Mojave, just restart the computer, hold , and select "Mojave".

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Is it possible without separate installation media? I don't have a big enough USB stick. – tbodt Mar 7 at 19:47
  • I'm trying this, however in step 1 when I click "Get" in the App Store, it says "the requested version of macOS is not available". I have Catalina and wish to download the full Mojave installer to create a virtual machine (NOT to install it on my main OS). Is there perhaps a direct download link somewhere for the full Mojave installer? – RocketNuts May 7 at 11:56
  • @tbodt - see my answer here apple.stackexchange.com/a/390737/333666 – sfxedit May 10 at 0:04
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Apple has moved the old MacOS installers around since this article was published. I found the answer on appleinsider here: https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/11/23/how-to-get-an-old-macos-installer-from-apple

The article also provides links to earlier versions as well.

The link to get Mojave is:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/macos-mojave/id1398502828?ls=1&mt=12

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  • Thanks for updating. An edit to:the accepted answer is also a perfect way to keep that post current. – bmike May 9 at 21:40
  • Thanks @bmike it's my first post and I hadn't realised this. Will do so in future – Rodin256 May 11 at 19:38
  • Pretty good post - thanks for being here! – bmike May 11 at 23:01
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Someone asked in a comment here if macOS can be installed without first creating a separate installation media / usb boot disk.

Yes you can, provided your macOS installer is not in the same volume where you want to install macOS too.

Here's how:

  1. Let's assume you have two hard disks or partitions named Catalina and Mojave respectively.

  2. You have macOS Catalina on /Volume/Catalina.

  3. You have downloaded and copied the macOS Mojave installer into a directory called 'OS' and hence the installer is at /Volume/Catalina/OS.

  4. Using Disk Utility, you have formatted /Volume/Mojave as either HFS+ (best for older hard disks) or APFS (recommended if you have a SSD drive).

  5. To run and install macOS Mojave directly, you just have to open Terminal in your macOS Catalina and run this command:

    $ sudo /Volume/Catalina/OS/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/startosinstall --volume /Volume/Mojave

Note: It is safer to run this command from Terminal in macOS Recovery mode (to boot into macOS Recovery mode press the cmd ⌘ + R keys when switching on your Mac and don't let go till you see the Apple logo). When running this command from recovery terminal you can omit 'sudo'.

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  • —volume is only available as a parameter in recovery mode, not normal boot mode. Is it possible to run startosinstall to a specific volume in normal boot mode? – ZakTaccardi 20 hours ago

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