Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD – Data?

Although macOS is a bit difficult to use compared to other OS, it is often the first choice for people working in video editing, 3D modeling, programming, etc. The efficiency, reliability, and versatility make it so popular. A common confusion about macOS arises while installing this OS on your machine.

The hard disk drive (HDD) or the solid-state drive (SSD) of Apple lineup computers are divided into two volumes. One is Macintosh HD, and the other is Macintosh HD – Data. What are these volumes for? Why are there two of them? Do I install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD – Data? We will go through the answers to all these in this article.

What is Macintosh HD?

All Apple computers come with an HDD or an SSD. The modern MacBooks come with SSD only, but the iMacs contain HDD. In both cases, the hard drive is divided into two volumes. Before, it used to run on a single volume. They changed it since the latest macOS update. The new macOS 10.15, also known as macOS Catalina, contains two separate volumes in the hard drive. Macintosh HD is the first one of them. It is a read-only drive containing all the OS’s system files. They kept it read-only to keep it safe from accidental modifications. Any sort of edit without proper knowledge of it can end up corrupting the whole system. The file system of this volume is APFS or APFS (encrypted) and you can’t change to other formats.

What is Macintosh HD – Data?

Macintosh HD – Data is another hard drive volume of the macOS. This volume, instead of system files, stores the user files. It contains all the documents, photos, videos, and audio files of the user. Unlike Macintosh HD, this drive isn’t read-only. You can modify it as you please. You have full read-write access to this drive. Though they are two different volumes performing different tasks, they have some things in common. In the Finder, they show up as a single Macintosh HD drive. The file system of this volume is also APFS or APFS(encrypted) and you can’t reformat it.

Which One to Choose?

The place where you will install your operating system will contain the system files. These files are crucial for the OS to run correctly. Any sort of modification can cause irreparable damage to the system. It will require a clean wipe in that case. If you install macOS in Macintosh HD – Data, you risk accidentally modifying the system files. But, if you install it on Macintosh HD, you don’t have that risk as the drive is read-only. So, it is best to install macOS on the Macintosh HD drive.

How to Install macOS safely on My Computer?

Installing an OS has become much easier compared to the old times. You don’t have to sit in front of the computer for hours waiting for it to restart and input commands anymore. Still, you should maintain some precautions while installing an OS. Before moving to the installation process, let’s look into the preventive measures:

Back up your data

It’s essential to back up your data before performing any OS-related functions. If for some reason, some problem arises during installation, it may corrupt your data. You may have to complete a clean wipe in that case. So, to be safe, it’s best to back up your data before installing the OS. Apple has a built-in “Time Machine” app to back up your data. To use it, you will need an external hard drive. To back up your data:

Connect your external hard drive to your computer.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Open “System Preferences.”

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Click “Time Machine.”

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

To access “Time Machine” more quickly in the future, you can click on “Show Time Machine in the menu bar”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Click “Select Backup Disk”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Now, choose your disk. Here, you can encrypt your backup with a password if you like.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Click “Use disk”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Depending on your setup, you may see additional prompts to help you set up your password, reformat your device, or connect to the network volume. Depending on your files, your first backup may take a while. Remember to keep enough space on your hard drive, as it can take a lot of space to back up your data.

Erase Macintosh HD

Before you want to reinstall macOS, it’s better to erase the Macintosh HD drive. This drive contains all the system files of the OS. When you format this drive, it will create a clean and stable environment to install macOS. It will also free up enough space to install the OS. If you don’t erase the drive, it can cause an error or even fail to install to OS. Before erasing, sign out of apps like messages, iTunes, iCloud, etc. To erase the drive:

Click on the Apple logo and press “Restart”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data
Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Click on the blue “Restart” button. Immediately press and hold command + R once you click on it. Hold it until the Apple logo, and the progress bar shows up.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data
Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

A menu bar will appear. Click on “Disk Utility” and press “Continue”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Select Macintosh HD drive and click on “Erase”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Finally, click on “Erase Volume Group”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Once you have finished these steps, the system volume will be erased, and you’ll be ready to install your operating system.

Erase all when downgrading macOS

If you are considering downgrading macOS, you must erase Macintosh HD – Data and Macintosh HD. Because when you downgrade, the previous Macintosh HD – Data will remain. And downgrading the OS will create another Macintosh HD – Data volume, resulting in two of them. It can end up causing problems.

The procedure of erasing Macintosh HD – Data volume is as same as erasing the system volume. The only difference is selecting the correct drive. Select Macintosh HD – Data in disk utility and erase it. That’s all!

Install macOS on your Computer

Since that’s over, we can now move on to installing macOS on our computer. There are various versions of macOS. For example, Mojave, Big Sur, Catalina, etc. The latest version is macOS 12 Monterey. Before installing, check your macOS version. If you already have the newest version, then you can reinstall it. If you have an older version, you have to upgrade it. To check your macOS version:

Click on the Apple logo.

Go to “About This Mac”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Once you have done that, check if your computer is compatible with the version of macOS you want to install. You can check it out from Apple’s official website. Look for the version of macOS you want to install, which will give you a list of compatible devices.

Before you install macOS, you have to download the setup file. To do so:

Go to the App Store.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Search macOS Monterey or the version you want to install.

Click on Get.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

You can perform reinstallation from within the computer itself or using a USB stick. Make sure to have a USB stick of at least 16GB of space.

After downloading the file, go through the process of erasing the drive first. After you have erased the drives, do the following tasks:

Click on “Disk Utility”. A drop-down menu will appear.

Click “Quit Disk Utility”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Now, click on “Install macOS Monterey”. It will show install or reinstall, depending on what you are doing.

Click “Continue” and go through the process.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

It will take some time for the OS to install, so keep patience. Your system will restart at least once while installing the OS. Don’t turn off your computer during installation as it may cause system errors.

Downgrading macOS

If you see that your current macOS version is causing problems, you can downgrade to an older version. The process of downgrading is a bit different from upgrading or reinstalling. You have to use a USB stick in this case. Download the required setup file first, then follow the steps below:

Create a bootable USB drive

The USB stick is to create a bootable drive for our OS to install. To do so:

Plug in your USB stick. Make sure you have moved all necessary files elsewhere.

Open “Disk Utility”. You can press command + space to bring the spotlight and search it over there.

Select the USB stick and click “Erase”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Name the drive to your liking. Make sure the format is “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”.

Click “Erase”.

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Install macOS on your USB drive

We have downloaded the setup file and got our USB stick ready. Now we need to install macOS on the USB drive. For that:

We have downloaded the setup file and got our USB stick ready. Now we need to install macOS on the USB drive. For that:

Search “Terminal” in the spotlight and open it.

Paste the following command into the terminal:

sudo/ Applications/Install\ macOS\ Monterey.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia –volume/ Volumes/YOURUSBDRIVE –nointeraction

Replace YOURUSBDRIVE with the actual name of your USB drive.

Hit enter. The system will prompt you to enter your user account password. Enter to continue.

The system will ask you to proceed with the installation. Agree to do so, and you will be good to go!

Do I Install macOS on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD-Data

Once you have completed all these steps, follow the process of standard installation. The system may restart a few times while installing. The installation will occur from your USB drive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular OS ?

If we ask which is the best operating system (OS) in the world, it will probably end up in a huge debate. Some would take the side of Windows, while the rest will choose Linux and macOS. Windows is the most popular OS, with 69.61% of users worldwide, but that doesn’t make the other OS worse. All of them have their pros and cons. It’s primarily dependent on personal preferences.

Conclusion

You need to follow these steps to install macOS in your system. I know it’s a tedious process, but it’s worth it if you do them correctly. We all need to install OS at some point in our life. It may be because the computer is running slow. Or maybe because the system isn’t functioning correctly. It’s a good idea to learn how to install the OS ourselves instead of paying a professional. It’s easy once you understand it. We have described the process to you as efficiently as possible in this article. Hope you find them helpful. That’s all!

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What Is Mac Storage Others

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By Rakib Ahmed

Hello, I am Rakib Ahmed, a former army commando of UNICEF. I left My Job And start blogging. Blogging has become my passion nowadays. I love technology. In today's life, I found several problems related to technology but can't get good solutions at all. That's Why Fixwill Journey Started. Stay Connected And Get Great Solution About Android,IOS,Windows Linux And Many more tech Solution. Thank You dear!

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