Mac Os Catalina Fresh Install

To perform a clean re-install in Catalina, once in Recovery Mode, you need to delete your Data volume, that’s the one named Macintosh HD - Data, or something similar if you’re using a custom name, and to erase your System volume. In Recovery Mode select the Macintosh HD - Data volume at the left of Disk Utility’s window then use the. This video will show you how to do a Clean Install Mac OS Catalina. You can do a clean install from USB drive which we showed you how to build in a previous.

Best apps live in Setapp
Replace Mac defaults and discover new gems in one suite.
Mac os catalina new install

Apple is ready to give you a change — the all-new macOS Catalina, available as a free download — so let’s get you all set.

There are two different options on how to upgrade. You can install Catalina over your current macOS, keeping all its data untouched. Or, you can get a fresh start with a clean install. The main benefit of clean installation is that you get rid of the system junk and leftovers which might hamper your Mac’s performance.

Get Setapp to get ready for Catalina

A complete toolkit of utilities that prepare your Mac for macOS Catalina install. Upgrade your Mac in minutes without losing any data.

One way or another, getting Catalina on your Mac is definitely worth a try. Look at the bells and whistles it brings along:

  • A renewed iTunes experience — with dedicated apps for Music, Podcasts and Apple TV.
  • Simplified porting of iOS apps to macOS.
  • Sidecar for using your iPad as an additional screen.
  • Major updates of your favorite native apps, including Photos, Reminders, and Find My.

And that’s only a small part of your new macOS experience. If you need more reasons, find a complete review of the new Catalina features here.

Prepare your Mac for the clean install

If you’ve seen the new Catalina, you must be excited to get your hands on the installer — we get it. But don’t dive right into the upgrade. Your Mac has to be ready. First thing, check device compatibility. The rules are not much different from the Mojave compatible Macs, except for a few older Mac Pro models that Catalina will no longer support. Here’s the full list:

  • MacBook Air (2012 or newer)
  • MacBook (2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or newer)
  • Mac mini (2012 or newer)
  • iMac (2012 or newer)
  • iMac Pro (all models)

Found your Mac on the list? Congrats, you’re on the Catalina team. Just a few more things and you’re ready to install:

  1. Get a USB drive with minimum 16GB of free space if you plan to install Catalina on a startup disk.
  2. Backup your data and clean away all the clutter.
  3. Note that it will take your Mac an hour or two to run the upgrade.

Choose your way to clean install Catalina

As we’ve said before, the healthiest method of clean installing the new macOS is by putting it on your startup drive. It’s your perfect choice if your Mac has a single non-partitioned drive where all the files are stored. Simply backup an entire drive and go ahead with the installation.

Another choice would be to test Catalina on a non-startup drive. If you have a spare drive or your startup drive is divided into volumes, this might be a good option to explore. Especially if you don’t want any files to go away.

Let’s dive into the details of clean installation.

Clean install macOS 10.15 on a startup disk drive

Again, this is the recommended option that will leave you with a high-performing Mac. It involves lots of cleaning and securing your files, though. You can take care of all the data stored on your old OS manually, or by using a few easy utilities. Let’s save your time and see how to do it real quick:

Remove junk from your Mac with CMM X

Download a powerful macOS cleaner to get ready for the Catalina upgrade. All the junk, leftovers and old caches will be gone in a moment.

Step 1. Get rid of the junk

Every ancient app leftover that is hiding somewhere in the depths of your Mac may potentially hinder its performance. That’s not what you want. CleanMyMac X can handle the junk before an upgrade. In one smart scan, the app will spot and remove everything — from outdated caches to file duplicates.

One more important detail, Apple will stop supporting 32-bit applications in the new macOS 10.15. So make sure you get rid of them, too. This will help you see the functionality that Catalina will be missing, and find the right alternatives in advance. In CleanMyMac X, navigate to the Uninstaller tab, filter apps by 32-bit, and click Uninstall. As easy as that. Find out what to do when scratch disks are full in photoshop.

CleanMyMac X is a nice utility to keep on your new macOS, too. In fact, it’s the quickest way to refresh an entire system and remove potential threats before they start affecting your performance. The app is available on Setapp — and so is the backup utility for your Mac we’ll talk about in a moment.

Step 2. Backup your drive

You want the redundant files to go. But you also want the needed files to stay. That’s easy with Get Backup Pro, one of the best backup apps for Mac. Unlike Apple’s native Time Machine, Get Backup Pro has the functionality of creating bootable clones — which gives you absolute peace of mind. In case there’s a tech problem with your Catalina installation, the drive can be recovered at any time.

We encourage you not to ignore the backup process. It will help you roll back at any time with minimum loss. Plus, it’s an easy way to move your files to the new OS in batch.

Read more information about Mac update

Step 3. Create a bootable Catalina installer

Before you clean install Catalina, we have to warn you there might be no going back. First, because macOS 10.15 is truly great. Second, because Apple removes an old macOS installer from the App Store once the new version is out. So if you want to have an exit plan, you’ll have to download Mojave installer in advance.

Here’s how you create Catalina installer:

  1. Access the App Store and get the new macOS Catalina.
  2. Wait for the download process to finish and click File > Quit as soon as the installer launches. Your installer will be stored in the Applications folder.
  3. Connect your USB stick and go to Disk Utilities.
  4. In the Erase tab, select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as your format.
  5. Name your USB stick and then click Erase > Done > close Disk Utility.
  6. 6. Access Terminal and type the following command (make sure you replace [XXX] with your drive name):sudo /Applications/Install macOS --volume /Volumes/[XXX] --applicationpath /Applications/Install macOS
  7. Hit Return and type in your admin password.
  8. When the process is finished, click Done and close Terminal.
  9. Congrats, you’re a Catalina user — now officially.

Step 4. Get Catalina on your startup drive

The final part. Your data is securely backed up, so you can go ahead and erase your startup disk drive:

  1. Access System Preferences > Startup Disk and choose your Catalina installer.
  2. Restart your Mac and hold Command-R.
  3. Connect your bootable USB.
  4. In the macOS Utilities window, click Reinstall a new copy of macOS.
  5. Click Continue and agree to the terms and conditions.
  6. Select your startup drive and click Install.

Once the new macOS gets on your Mac, it will be born anew. So yes, you will have to set it up — just like a new Mac. If you’ve used Setapp on the old macOS, you can quickly get your apps back by downloading the installer on

Clean install macOS 10.15 on a non-startup disk drive

If you don’t have a free, non-partitioned drive, you can install Catalina on a non-startup drive. Here are three easy steps:

Step 1. Erase your non-startup drive

If you install Catalina on a new drive, this is not for you. Otherwise, you’ll have to wipe everything away from the drive before using it. Navigate to Disk Utility, select your non-startup drive, and click Erase. If there’s any data you want to keep, use ChronoSync Express to sync it with another drive.

Step 2. Download the Catalina installer

Access your Mac App Store > Updates and grab the installer. Once the installer will launch automatically, quit — you don’t want to install it from there.

Step 3. Install Catalina to your non-startup drive

You’ll find the downloaded installer in your Applications folder and launch it. Select a drive — you’ll have to change it from “startup” to your target one. Follow the instructions and finish your installation.

Once your system is upgraded, set up your new Mac and make sure you try all the perks. And before you get frustrated that your favorite 32-bit app is missing, get Setapp — it surely has a decent alternative.

Mac Os Catalina Fresh Install Mac

If you are a true macOS fan, check out the comparison of iOS and macOS adoption trends below:

Setapp uses cookies to personalize your experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our cookie policy.
By Amanda Posted to Home > Wiki, Updated on Spetember 15th, 2021

Summary: This article tells all ways to reinstall Mac OS X or macOS using Mac Recovery mode, including clean reinstall macOS without losing data.

If you want to have a fresh copy of macOS on your Mac or clean up your Mac storage, this article will tell you how to securely delete your personal files and install a clean version of macOS in Mac Recovery Mode.

  • Table of contents:

What happens when you reinstall macOS in Mac Recovery Mode

Mac Recovery Mode is a special startup mode that can load up many useful troubleshooting and recovery tools without booting up regular OS. It is the easiest way to reinstall macOS from scratch.

Reinstalling macOS cleans the codes of current operating system and rewrites every line of code for the operating system on your Mac. As a result, it can fix bugs and errors causing an underperformed Mac or a Mac experiencing a macOS kernel panic.

Reinstalling macOS in Recovery partition usually won't change the version you are running on your Mac, but later we will show you how to install the original system installed on your Mac when it left the factory, or the latest compatible system.

An OS reinstallation shouldn't delete any user data as long as your operating system and user files write in separate volumes. If not, reinstalling macOS will wipe all your documents, photos, videos, audio, and everything else you created or downloaded.

Before you start, make sure you have backed up any files you want to keep to an external drive. Even though you don't intent to wipe your MacBook, securing your files is a good idea before OS reinstallation since it is a major procedure.

How to run iBoysoft Data Recovery in macOS Recovery Mode?

If your Mac can't have a normal startup and let you back up important files, you can run iBoysoft Data Recovery in Mac Recovery Mode to secure your files instead. Read more >>

>How to reinstall the current version of macOS

1. Start Mac in Mac Recovery Mode

On an Intel Mac, just shut down your Mac completely and turn it on while holding down Command + R keys simultaneously. Release the keys until you see an Apple logo and your Mac will boot into the macOS Utilities or OS X Utilities screen in recovery partition.

On an M1 Mac, shut down your Mac completely, press the Touch ID button to turn it on and then immediately press down the Touch ID button until you see 'Loading startup options'. Click Options and then click Continue to boot in macOS Recovery.

During the bootup to Recovery Mode, an admin password might be required to authenticate your identity for an OS reinstallation.

If you can't boot your Mac into recovery partition built in Mac's hard disk, you can use Internet Recovery Mode on an Intel Mac, or Fallback Recovery Mode on an M1 Mac to access the macOS utilities.

After you have the access to the recovery tools, you can proceed to format your startup drive and reinstall macOS from Mac Recovery Mode.

How to enable your Mac to boot from a USB drive?

If your Mac is too old, like Macs released in 2010 or earlier, to have Mac Recovery Mode, or you cannot run any Recovery OS on your Mac, you can create a bootable OS installer and reinstall macOS from USB device.Read more >>

2. Format Mac's startup disk (Optional)

If you want to reinstall a clean copy of operating system, but leave your user account and files you created intact and stay where they are, you can skip this step.

However, if you want a truly clean OS reinstallation and a smooth process without interruptions by potential startup disk corruptions or space shortage, formatting the startup disk is necessary. It worth mentioning here again - make sure you have transferred your important files to a computer or external storage device.

Follow the steps below to get started:

Step 1: Click Disk Utility option and click Continue.

Step 2: Select the Macintosh HD or system volume with another name which contains the operating system and click Erase.

Fresh Install Of Mac Os Catalina

Step 3: Give a name to the volume you are going to format and then reinstall macOS in. It is highly recommended to use 'Macintosh HD' for convenience's sake.

Step 4: Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as Format for reinstalling macOS 10.12 or earlier, while select APFS for reinstalling macOS Big Sur, macOS Catalina, macOS Mojave, or macOS High Sierra.

Step 5: Click Erase Volume Group. This will delete Macintosh HD - Data volume the system created when you upgraded to macOS 10.15 or later and all other volumes you created as a user. Deleting all the volumes can free up space and eliminate possible conflicts for a clean macOS reinstallation. It is very essential when you need to reinstall macOS Big Sur on an M1 Mac.

Step 6: Confirm the wiping by clicking the Erase button.

It will take a few minutes to half an hour to complete the disk formatting. Wait patiently and do not terminate it half way.

3. Reinstall macOS

After you have started up to macOS Utilities screen, you will see a round thumbnail next to Reinstall macOS option. It indicates what version of macOS will be installed on your Mac.

The thumbnail uses the typical wallpaper of a macOS version. For example, if you are going to reinstall macOS Catalina, it is an island in the sea. If you will reinstall macOS Mojave, it is dessert. Find all macOS versions and know what operating system will be downloaded and installed on your machine.

Then click Reinstall macOS option and Click Continue.

You will be asked to select a destination to install the new copy of macOS and select the Macintosh HD you formatted earlier. The reinstallation will begin

Click Continue and then you will see a window with a progress bar and time remaining for installing OS. It will take a while and do not let your computer shut down or sleep. After the macOS reinstallation completes, your Mac will restart automatically and then ask you to create an admin account.

If you are selling, donating, trading, or giving away this Mac computer, you can simply shut down the Mac. If you will keep it, you can go ahead to create a new account and enjoy your fresh Mac.

Mac Os Catalina Fresh Installer

How to reinstall different versions of macOS

If you start up an intel Mac using Command + R keys or start an M1 Mac in regular Mac Recovery, you will install the current version of macOS on your Mac. If you want to install the original version of macOS or the latest compatible version of macOS on your Mac, it will need extra operations.

How to reinstall the original version of macOS on your Mac?

You can only reinstall the original macOS your Mac shipped with on Intel Macs. To do so, you need to press down Command + Option + Shift + R keys while turning on a Mac. This will boot to Internet Recovery and download the original version of macOS from Apple servers according to your Mac model.

However, if the OS version is obsolete and no longer available, the closest and available version will be reinstalled instead.

How to reinstall the latest compatible of macOS on your Mac?

Before you boot into macOS Recovery for system reinstallation, you should go to Apple logo >System Preferences >Software Update to update your Mac to the latest version of macOS.

Mac Os Catalina Fresh Install

Or on an Intel Mac only, you can start up your machine with Command + Option + R keys pressed until a spinning globe appears. In this startup mode, after you click the Reinstall macOS feature, it will reinstall the latest version of macOS that is compatible with your Mac.