How to Boot from USB flash drive on Apple Silicon Hardware

In this video we demonstrate how on an Apple Macintosh computer, you can boot from a USB Flash drive. Typically you would want to boot from a USB Flash drive if you need to reinstall macOS from a USB recovery drive or you want to try out a Linux distro without installing it on your Mac.

Note: At the time of posting, a Mac running on Apple Silicon (M1 Processors) can not run Linux. However, progress is being made so that Linux distro’s can be run on Apple Silicon hardware. So hopefully we will start to see Linux distro’s running on Apple Silicon in 2022.

Note: While we talk specifically about USB flash drives in the video. You could also connect and boot from an USB external Hard Drive.

Quick reference notes:

  • Power down your computer
  • Connect the USB Flash drive to the USB type C connection on your computer
  • Press and hold down the Power button for roughly 20 seconds or until your display shows the message “Loading Startup Options
  • When the Startup Option screen loads. You will be presented with a number of icons, including one for your USB Flash drive
  • If you select your USB Flash drive icon, a button will appear
  • By choosing Continue your computer will attempt to boot from your USB flash drive

Note: Be very careful when booting from a USB Flash drive, as it is possible for your Flash drive to wipe macOS, and then install the operating system on the Flash drive.

  • To exit from Startup Options, simply select the Restart option at the bottom of the screen. Your Mac will restart and then load the instance of macOS on your computers hard drive.

Reference materials:

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