Mac OS Recovery: How to Create a Mac Recovery USB and Recover Lost Data

This guide will tell you how you can create an OS X Recovery USB drive with Recovery Disk Assistant in case of emergency and how to recover information on Mac for free with Recoverit.

Mar 09,2020 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

How do I create a recovery USB for Mac?

Part 1. Overview of Mac Recovery USB

If you are an Apple user, you would probably know that when you install OS X (Lion or higher), it will automatically create a hidden recovery volume on your startup drive. So when you encounter an emergency, you will be able to recover your Mac easily with "Disk Utility" to repair a damaged hard drive, find information about your device's problem online, restore your device to its previous settings or reinstall OS X. To further enhance your user experience, Apple lets you have a physical copy of OS X Recovery USB drive created with Disk Assistant.

It is a great option to have because if your drive is brutally damaged, there is a possibility of not being able to use the recovery volume and you don't necessarily have an internet connection all the time. Therefore, having a physical copy would be like an insurance for your devices. Read on our side-by-step guide to help you create OS X Recovery USB drive with Disk Assistant on a USB stick.

In order to create an OS X Recovery USB drive, you will need a few things:

  • A working recovery volume on your operating system startup drive - this is the source where you will create a copy of the volume.
  • A USB drive with at least 1GB storage space.

If you do not have a working recovery volume on your device, you will not be able to follow through with these instructions. And remember that these instructions will not work if you have an older device model that is currently running on a newer operating system.

Part 2. How to Create a Mac Recovery USB

When you clone the recovery volume on any partitions listed in "Disk Utility", any data in the destination volume will be deleted. Therefore, it is a good idea to prepare the USB drive before you create OS X Recovery drive with Disk Assistant, especially a USB drive with a large amount of storage space. Create partitions in the new destination so that you will be able to have a dedicated section for the recovery volume.

Once you have prepped the new destination,if needed, follow these steps to get you on the way of owning a physical OS X Recovery disk created with Disk Assistant.

  1. Get the Disk Assistant, if needed

  2. Where is Recovery Disk Assistant? Go to Applications > Utilities to see if the "Recovery Disk Assistant" is not available in the folder. If it is not, download it from Apple's Support website. Wait for the download to complete and double-click on the "RecoveryDiskAssistant.dmg" file in the "Downloads" folder. It will create a file named "Recovery Disk" into the "Applications" folder.

    os x recovery disk assistant

  3. Select the new drive

  4. Connect a USB drive to your device and launch "Recovery Disk Assistant". You will need to agree to the terms and conditions and wait until the wizard detects the external drives. Select the new recovery disk i.e. the USB drive you connected to your computer and click on the "Continue" button.

    recovery disk assistant

  5. Eject and keep the USB safe

  6. It should not take long for the system to create a clone of the original recovery volume. It will prompt you when it is done so that you can click the "Quit" button to eject the USB drive. Make sure you keep the USB drive somewhere safe and easily accessible.

    mac recovery disk

Since the introduction of OS X Lion, Apple did away with recovery disks, but we know that while this is super convenient for many, having an actual recovery disk can be beneficial at times. This is the simplest and fastest solution to have available to you anytime, anywhere.

Related: We also provide solutions to help you boot Mac from USB drive.
- 2 minutes to read it.

Part 3. How to Recover Data on Mac OS X

What if the Mac recovery USB works normally but data gets lost? Read on and get a feasible solution for Mac OS data recovery.

Recoverit - The Free Software for Mac OS Recovery

To get data back from your Mac OS X, sometimes you need a trustworthy and professional Mac recovery program to help you, for example, Recoverit Free Mac Data Recovery. This is a piece of mighty data recovery software to help you restore Mac in all data loss scenarios, such as crashed Mac, unbootable Mac, emptied Mac trash, formatted USB flash drive, unintentional deletion of important files, and many more.

With a 96% recovery rate, you can be reassured since it is able to use advanced scan and search technology to help you recover files without much effort and any hassle. Why is it considered safe and secure? It performas the read-only mode and keeps your data private by yourself. Moreover, before you have to purchase it for Mac OS recovery, you can download the free trial to recover limited files for free, regardless of the device or file format.

Video Tutorial: How to Recover Data on Windows/Mac

Here, we offer a video tuturial to show you how to use Recoverit Free Data Recovery to recover lost, deleted or formatted data back for free.

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3 Steps to Recover Information on Mac

Free download and install the free Mac OS recovery software. Follow the next steps to recover information previously stored on Mac.

  1. Select the recovery disk

  2. To recover information on Mac, you need to first select a hard disk that stored your lost data before. Then click "Start" to begin the Mac OS recovery process.

    recover information

  3. Scan the Mac recovery disk

  4. A thorough scan is launched on the selected Mac hard drive or external device for Mac files recovery. If the scanning location would be an external device, please connect it to your Mac in advance.

    scan for mac os recovery

  5. Preview and recover information

  6. Finally, you can preview the files selected from the results. Choose the files you want to recover and click "Recover" to get them back. After Mac OS recovery, please do not save the files to the same place.

    Mac OS recovery

So far, you should have known how to create a Mac recovery USB, and also learn how to perform Mac OS recovery for your lost data. After it, we always encourage each of you to keep a habit of Mac file backup. It can help you guard your important data much better.

Video Tutorial on How to Boot Mac into Recovery Mode

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Sue Wen

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