How to start up your M1 Mac from an external drive
Macworld|September 2021
It’s not as easy as it used to be, as it likely requires that you purchase new hardware.
GLENN FLEISHMAN

Apple’s relatively new M1 Macs that rely on Apple silicon have a number of usability differences from previous Intel-based Macs. One difference that’s tripped up some readers is how to start up or boot the M1 Mac from an external drive. Intel Macs generally make this easy.

You might want to use a bootable external drive to have a higher-capacity SSD than is offered or affordable via Apple’s pricing. Or you may want one for backup in case something goes very pear shaped with your M1 Mac.

Testing indicates that the following are required to start up from an external volume:

A Thunderbolt 3 drive. That’s not just one that uses the USB-C connector, but one that is a native USB 3.1 or 3.2 drive. Nor can you use a Type A adapter for a USB 3.0 or later drive. Success appears to require a native Thunderbolt 3 drive.

Erasing the drive completely, and then formatting it as APFS.

Obtaining a Big Sur installer, and then installing Big Sur from your M1 Mac directly onto the external drive. (This will allow only an M1 Mac to boot from the drive; Intel Macs will be unable to start up from your M1-prepared external drive.)

Let’s expand on each point.

THUNDERBOLT 3 DRIVE

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM MACWORLDView All

Phiaton 900 Legacy headphone: Fantastic noise cancellation

This Bluetooth headset delivers top active noise cancellation and stylish industrial design.

3 mins read
Macworld
October 2021

T-Mobile and Sprint customers can get a free year of Apple TV+

Offer available to Magenta and Magenta Max subscribers starting on August 25.

1 min read
Macworld
October 2021

Apple beefs up Intel Mac Pro performance with three pricey new GPU options

You can add the Radeon Pro W6800X, W6800X Duo, or W6900X to a new Mac Pro, but it’ll cost you.

1 min read
Macworld
October 2021

I tried to love the Touch Bar but now I'm ready for it to go away

Apple needs to bring Center Stage to the Mac ASAP.

4 mins read
Macworld
October 2021

D-Link Outdoor Wi-Fi Smart Plug: D-Link brings a unique USB port to its pricey exterior plug

The question is whether it’s worth paying a lot more to get an outdoor USB charging port.

3 mins read
Macworld
October 2021

OWC THUNDERBOLT HUB: FINALLY A SIMPLE WAY TO ADD MORE THUNDERBOLT PORTS TO A MACBOOK

Thunderbolt 3 was an amazing improvement in simplicity, despite the confusion that came with it and the transition from USB 3.0 over USB Type A, Thunderbolt 2, Mini DisplayPort and the like.

4 mins read
Macworld
October 2021

WATCHOS 8: SMALL CHANGES ADD UP TO BIG APPLE WATCH IMPROVEMENTS

NEW AND REDESIGNED APPS MAKE THE WATCH EXPERIENCE SMARTER AND MORE REFINED.

3 mins read
Macworld
October 2021

iClever BTH13 headphones for kids: Sonically safer for junior

Never mind the pink-and-blue color scheme or the flashing lights. These are legitimate headphones with good sound that also rein in the volume.

3 mins read
Macworld
October 2021

This iOS game was made for a cat and reviewed by a cat

Meow

2 mins read
Macworld
October 2021

WHAT'S NEW IN iCLOUD+

MORE WAYS APPLE IS PROTECTING YOUR IDENTITY ONLINE.

2 mins read
Macworld
October 2021
RELATED STORIES

Camera Set

The iPhone 13’s leaps forward for photo & video

6 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #520

Down to Their Last Dollar

Businesses fail every day, from world-beaters (like TWA and Lehman Brothers) to sexy high-fliers (DeLorean, Enron) to Steady Eddie, old-school icons (Toys “R” Us, Sears). Sometimes, of course, market conditions simply turn Sisyphean. But often, when that boulder starts to roll backward, a leader’s grit, imagination, resourcefulness, and ability to conjure a little luck can mean the difference between a brave new chapter and, well, Chapter 11. Here, four businesses that went from nearly bust to total gangbusters.

3 mins read
Inc.
October 2021

SPATIAL AUDIO RELATIONS

Ears-on with Apple Music’s new Atmos offerings

10+ mins read
Sound & Vision
October - November 2021

Logitech Ergo K860

This ergonomic “split” keyboard helps reduce wrist–strain

2 mins read
Mac Life
November 2021

Vissles V84 (2.0) Mechanical Keyboard

A Mac–friendly typing experience — and then some

2 mins read
Mac Life
November 2021

Steve Jobs

10 years without the genius behind apple

7 mins read
AppleMagazine
Ocotber 08, 2021

Dell XPS 17: The ultimate content creation laptop

With a giant screen and thin profile, the Dell XPS 17 is perfectly built for content creators on the go.

10+ mins read
PCWorld
October 2021

WHAT IS DDR5? THE PC'S NEXT–GEN MEMORY, EXPLAINED

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PC’S NEXT RAM STANDARD.

6 mins read
PCWorld
October 2021

Windows 11 to launch on October 5

The start of an exciting fall for PC users.

2 mins read
PCWorld
October 2021

iPad mini- Packing its punch in the palm of your hand

Although all eyes were on the Apple Watch Series 7 and iPhone 13 range at this year’s California Streaming event, the unexpected announcement of a refreshed iPad mini also got people talking. Bringing Apple’s smallest tablet in line with the iPad Pro and Air has helped to give consumers more choice, whilst a refreshed entry-level iPad remains a sensible buy.

7 mins read
AppleMagazine
October 01, 2021