How To Clean Install OS X El Capitan On Your Mac – Tutorial

Uzair Ghani
Posted 1 year ago

Here’s a complete step by step guide on how you can clean install OS X El Capitan on your Mac.

clean install os x el capitan main

If you’re planning to do a clean install of OS X El Capitan on your Mac, then we’ll walk you through the process in a complete step by step fashion along with neatly laid out screenshots so you don’t get lost along the way at any point.

All set for the big upgrade? Let’s dive right into it!

Clean Install OS X El Capitan On Your Mac

Before you begin, make sure that you backup all of your important data such as music, photos etc. onto an external drive as a clean install of OS X El Capitan will wipe everything off.

Also make sure that you Mac is supported by El Capitan. The complete list of supported Macs is as follows:

  • iMac – 2007 or later
  • MacBook – 13-inch Aluminum: late 2008, 13-inch: early 2009 or later
  • MacBook Pro – 13-inch: mid-2009 or later, 15-inch: mid-2007 or later, 7-inch: 2007 or later
  • MacBook Air – late 2008 or later
  • 12-inch Retina MacBook
  • Mac Mini: early 2009 or later
  • Mac Pro: early 2008 or later
  • Xserve: early 2009

With that out of the way, follow the steps below on how you can clean install OS X El Capitan on your Mac.

1. Create a bootable OS X El Capitan USB flash drive. Follow our tutorial posted here on how you can do just that: How To Create OS X El Capitan Bootable USB Flash Drive – Tutorial.

2. Plug the bootable USB flash drive into your Mac’s USB port.

Download OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan Final Version

3. Restart your Mac with the bootable USB drive plugged in, and hold down the ‘Option’ key on the keyboard until you see a screen that looks like the one shown below.


4. Select the ‘Install OS X El Capitan’ option and hit the ‘Return’ key on your keyboard.

5. The El Capitan installer will now load up from your USB flash drive. Click on ‘Disk Utility’ then ‘Continue’ on the bottom right corner.



6. Select your hard drive from the left hand side panel, and then click on the ‘Erase’ tab at the top.


7. Disk Utility will ask you if you want to give your hard drive a name. Enter anything you like, and then click on the ‘Erase’ button once again to confirm your action. Do not change anything else. Click the ‘Done’ button once the erase process is complete. Click on the red ‘close’ button on the top left hand corner to exit Disk Utility, and you’ll be taken back to the installer screen.



8. Select the ‘Install OS X’ option and then click on ‘Continue.’ Follow the on-screen prompts till you reach the screen where you’re asked to select the drive on which you want to install El Capitan.



9. Click on your Mac’s hard drive which you erased, then click on ‘Install.’



The installation process will now begin and it can take a long time depending on the age of the USB drive you’re using and the model of your Mac, of course. But once done, you’ll boot straight into OS X El Capitan. Set it up by signing in with your Apple ID and by making the necessary changes.

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