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Issue installing el capitan from USB installer

I’m having an issue creating bootable USB installers for multiple versions of OSx.

I download the files directly from Apple’s website, then I copy and paste their terminal command to install it onto a blank USB drive, and with both el capitan on the 15” A1286 from 2008-2009 models I’m not able to install with the USB. It runs like it’s installing just fine, then at the end I get an error message like in the attached photo

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Same thing happens when I try to install the High Sierra from USB that I downloaded from Apple.com and created using their terminal command.

Is there some way to create USB sticks from the downloads directly from Apple??

Here’s where i’m downloading from How to create a bootable installer for macOS

But for some reason no matter how many times I create these USB installers, they never work.

Any solution would be helpful

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I’m suspecting you are hitting a certificate issue. Here’s a bit more on it If you've got an old macOS install image, it will probably stop working today

Apple released updated installers with new certs. Here’s the collection!

In all of these you’ll want to jump to Step 4 and look for the second Blue URL as the first is for Catalina! Apple want to push you to it.

As far as setting up the USB, do make sure you’ve formatted it GUID with a journaled file system (HFS+) before you move over the installer. Some of these are compressed so you’ll need to double click on it twice to launch the installer, then from the menu exit out.

The last issue is you need to run the setup on an older OS and on a system the OS can run on. Apple loves making this hard! So as an example you have a 2018 MacBook Pro you can’t setup El Capitan on it.

Update (10/25/2020)

Back Dating your system:

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I'm already downloading directly from apple's website. I've created the installers using their terminal command. I downloaded the high sierra installer a few weeks ago, and created it, then tried using it minutes later and had the same issue.

what else could it be if i'm already downloading from apple.com?


I've not any problems setting up the USB installer drives. I used a 2012 13" MacBook Unibody with El Capatan as my build system.

Remember your Late 2008/Early 2009 MacBook Pro can only support El Capitan as the highest version.

Did you access the OS installer files from my links? I would do that. Your other option is to back date your system to 2016 and make are you are not connected to WiFi or Ethernet as the Apple Time server will reset it before you know it!


@danj when you say backdate the system... do you mean the system i'm installing on?

because the system i'm installing on has no OS, so how would i backdate that?

or do you mean the system i'm creating the USB stick on?


@dollartripclub - When you boot up under an external drive you have two ways via the control panel as I described above or you can also open a terminal session and back date the onboard clock. You will need to turn off your WiFi or disconnect your network connection if it accesses the Apple time server as before you know it it will reset to the correct date which we don't want!

Here's a blog entry that explains things Fixing Apple Install USB Sticks


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