I recently got a 2019 MacBook Pro from work, and a couple of mid 2009 MacBook Pros from a yard sale. I have mostly been using Windows and Linux for the past 20 years.

I'd like to make a El Capitan installer thumb drive, from the 2019 laptop, for the 2009 laptops. I've been following the instructions at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372

When I open the InstallMacOSX.dmg I see the InstallMacOSX.pkg, but when I launch that, I'm told

This version of OS X 10.11 cannot be installed on this computer.

I had previously tried creating the thumb drive from the one working 2009 laptop but got a similar error.

What could I be doing wrong? What else should I try?

  • 2
    See if the 09s will boot to Internet Recovery to skip all that - Cmd/R at the boot chimes will give you Recovery from where you can overlay an OS, or Cmd/alt/R will go online to Internet Recovery which will let you completely start afresh with a new format & fresh install. 09 might be cusp for this functionality, so see if you can get as far as the 'spinning globe' followed by a recovery environment. Use wired ethernet if at all possible.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 8, 2020 at 15:39
  • 1
    Also have a look at apple.stackexchange.com/questions/309399/… though some of those options are getting harder & harder to do as time goes on.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 8, 2020 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


Honsestly I find the easiest way to make a bootable macOS installer is using DiskmakerX.

It is a GUI interface to create pretty much all recent versions of macOS. Just look for the one specifically for the version you want to create.

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