Alright so at this moment my Mac only boots in recovery mode and I need to install a package (.pkg) before attempting to reinstall the OS. The package is located on a usb drive named "Package".

I have been looking into several ways to do this but so far had no luck.

I tried running the installer command through terminal:

installer -pkg /Volumes/Package/FirmwareUpdate.pkg -target /

But got an error claiming the install failed because the installer can't create the folder "//Install.6733yhGK6"

I also tried directing the target to Applications as so:

installer -pkg /Volumes/Package/FirmwareUpdate.pkg -target /Applications/

But only get "Error trying to locate volume at /Applications/"

Can anyone help me?

  • 1
    AFAIK you can't install additional software within the recovery partition. What is so specific about the package that it needs to be installed before reinstalling the OS?
    – nohillside
    Mar 17, 2020 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


I haven't tried installing a package from Recovery, so this might not be the entire solution, but I've spotted something for you to try differently:

When you're in recovery, / is the root of the Recovery volume, not your own Mac's volumes. Recovery volumes are read only and you can't install things to that, not that I think you're wanting to anyway.

In recovery, your normal volumes are mounted to folders within /Volumes/. List that folder (ls /Volumes) to see the names of the volumes that are mounted, and choose the correct volume for -target.

  • Note that if you're installing to a Catalina system and it's a non-Apple package, you probably want to install to the volume with a "- data" suffix (i.e. --target "/Volumes/Macintosh HD - data") (and be sure to quote the volume name if it has spaces in it); if it's Apple software, you probably want to install to the non "data" volume (and if it's not Catalina, there'll only be one volume). BTW, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the install failed, maybe catastrophically, since this is not the situation it's designed to run in. Mar 17, 2020 at 19:34
  • @grg is correct. Not necessarily about the data portion of his response but the part about using "" I got this to work booted in recovery with the following syntax -bash-3.2# installer -pkg /var/root/Downloads/python.pkg -target "/Volumes/MyUsbDrive" It failed every other way without the quotes Jun 5, 2021 at 8:31
  • @Dan I think you meant to reply to Gordon instead of me. The ‘- Data’ suffix is when you're installing to the data volume of the APFS container created by macOS, so definitely not applicable when your target is a USB drive.
    – grg
    Jun 5, 2021 at 9:19

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