How to Create A Bootable Clone Backup for Mac?

Maria updated on 2022/11/17 to Mac Disk Clone

Time Machine can assist with simple backups, and Disk Utility can clone disks via the Restore To/Restore From tool. However, they need help to make bootable backups.

You would want to boot from an external hard disk for numerous reasons. For example, if you send an old Mac to be repaired and want to continue working, you can boot all of your data from an external hard drive and continue working.

How do you make a bootable clone backup on a Mac? Use a disk cloning tool to produce a bootable backup for your Mac. This post will demonstrate how to build a bootable backup with DMclone for Mac, a powerful and user-friendly disk cloning application.

Steps to create bootable clone backup with DMclone for Mac

Download and install DMclone for Mac on your computer to clone macOS or OS X to an external hard drive. This powerful cloning application can help you clone all data from the Mac disk to an external hard drive and make it be bootable.

DMclone - NO.1 disk cloning software

  • Create bootable clone backup for Mac.
  • Clone all data from Mac to an other drive.
  • Create disk image backup for Mac.

Before start cloning, just get an external hard drive to save the cloned data. The external hard drive should have enough disk space to save the Mac data. And, you’d better format it to APFS or other compatible file system using Disk Utility. Follow the steps to create a bootable clone backup for your Mac.

Step 1. Open DMclone for Mac on your Mac and connect an external hard drive to your Mac. Select disk cloning mode - OS Clone.

Make A Bootable Clone Backup for Mac

Step 2. OS Clone mode will help you clone the Mac’s startup disk to the external hard drive and make it be bootable. Just select the external hard drive as the destination drive. Click on Clone Now button.

Make A Bootable Clone Backup for Mac

DMclone for Mac will clone all data including macOS, apps, settings, documents from the startup disk to the external hard drive. Once the process gets finished, you can use the external hard drive as a bootable disk for any Mac.

Make A Bootable Clone Backup for Mac

Use the external hard drive as the bootable disk for your Mac

First of all, connect the external hard drive which has the bootable clone backup to your Mac. Then follow the guide below to set the external hard drive as the startup disk for your Mac.

#1 Change your startup disk once

Apple silicon Macs

Step 1. Shut down your Mac.

Step 2. Restart your Mac, press and hold the power button until you see Loading startup options. On an Apple silicon Mac mini, wait for the system indicator light to turn amber.

Step 3. Your Mac will scan all the disks attached to it. With the available startup disks displayed, select the external hard drive and click Continue below it.

set Mac startup disk

Then your Mac will boot from the selected external hard drive.

Intel-based Macs

Step 1. Shut down your Mac.

Step 2. With your Intel-based Mac turned off, press the power button to start up the computer and then immediately press and hold the Option key to invoke the startup disk manager.

Step 3. With the available startup disks shown, select one and then click the Up arrow to boot into your computer from the startup disk you just selected.

As mentioned, this is a one-time change. The next time your open your Mac, it will boot from the default startup disk.

#2 Change your startup disk for every startup

If you want to change your Mac’s default startup disk, you must use System Preferences.

Step 1. Click Apple Logo and choose System Preferences.

Step 2. Click Startup Disk.

Step 3. Click the lock at the bottom left to unlock the preference pane.

Step 4. Click the icon of the disk you want to use, then click Restart.

set Mac startup disk

Note: If a disk is encrypted, select and click Unlock. After that, follow step 4.

set Mac startup disk

Your Mac will now use the selected startup disk going forward until you change it again. If you have an Apple silicon Mac, you can also set the default startup volume at boot time:

Step 1. With the computer shut down, press and hold the power button until you see Loading startup options.

Step 2. Select a volume, press and hold the Option key, then click Always Use.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If I continue to make regular backups to the destination, will it remain bootable?

After performing subsequent backup jobs to the destination, you should not expect the goal to remain bootable (i.e., via manual or scheduled backups). The OS Clone mode of DMclone for Mac is solely for making one-time bootable clones of the system you intend to use immediately.

2. Can I make the system copy on an encrypted volume?

You can choose an encrypted disk as the destination, but the volume will be wiped and no longer encrypted when finished. Apple's APFS replication software will not enable FileVault on the destination drive in advance. To enable FileVault on the destination, boot from the destination volume and check the Security & Privacy Preference Pane for FileVault.

3. Can I clone Mac HDD to an advanced SSD?

Yes, just connect the SSD to your Mac and then use DMclone for Mac to clone Mac HDD to the SSD without data loss.