I'm trying to bring back my old 2010 Mac Mini back from the dead. For various reasons, Internet Recovery doesn't work on it, so I need to create a bootable USB.

I've got the full installer for High Sierra on my daily driver (14in Macbook Air M2) but the darn thing won't open with a message like 'this version of MacOS is too old for this Mac...' similarly, trying to run the High Sierra createinstallmedia command in Terminal just results in terminal killed output.

What's the solution to create a bootable USB for an older version of MacOS on a modern/current Mac?

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    See if this helps: apple.stackexchange.com/q/309399/119271 If it doesn’t come back and explain what went wrong
    – Allan
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 14:43
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    A High Sierra installer is intel-only. Do you have Rosetta installed if you are trying to use createinstallmedia from it? Commented May 20, 2023 at 14:50
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    A lot of the "How to build OSX on Mac Y guides no longer work as written, because the installers have changed format in recent years.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 15:34
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    I tried just running createinstallmedia from HS on an M1Pro with Monterey. The crash report says: " "reportNotes" : [ "_dyld_process_info_create failed with 6", "dyld_process_snapshot_get_shared_cache failed", "Failed to create CSSymbolicatorRef - corpse still valid ¯\_(ツ)_\/¯" ]" Commented May 20, 2023 at 17:22
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    Instructions for creating an El Capitan installer can be found here. While the same instructions can be adapted for Sierra, you might want to use these instructions instead. Commented May 20, 2023 at 18:56

1 Answer 1


Answering my own question:

It turns out you can't use createinstallmedia on a newer Mac than the installer is designed for; you need to manually create a bootable USB stick using the instructions here. It's appears a bit convoluted but is ultimately straight-forward. Bear in mind some of the terminal commands are dependent on your USB transfer speed so don't worry if some just appear to hang.

It's also worth noting that whilst I was trying to get MacOS High Sierra, I ended up getting the installer for Sierra from this link as the download gave me a real file and not an annoying and ultimately useless App Store link.

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