5 tips for reinstalling macOS

I don’t like reinstalling the system from scratch, it takes too long to install applications and configure the Mac to suit my needs. But once a year, when a macOS update comes out, I set aside 2-3 hours and put the system clean. This makes my MacBook 12 run faster than it did after installing an update over top. Alas, in this regard, macOS has long been similar to Windows.

I want to do boring work faster, so I worked out a certain algorithm. If earlier it took a day to reinstall macOS, now it takes 2-3 hours without any special problems. I share.

1. I download applications in advance and write to a USB flash drive

Most of my software is from the App Store or Setapp. But some applications have to be downloaded separately: Dropbox, Alfred, Sketch, TextExpander, Chrome and two dozen other utilities.

In order not to forget anything, I just go through the list of installed applications and download the ones that are not in the App Store or Setapp.

Downloading applications on the “old” and configured system is faster and more convenient: the browser remembers passwords or is already authorized to the necessary sites and you do not need to waste time on this.

I downloaded these applications in advance and saved them to an external drive.

2. Make a backup copy of application settings

There are applications that take a lot of time to customize. In Alfred, these are workflows and snippets, in Hazel, file sorting rules, in iStat Menus, widget settings in Menubar.

In order not to waste time on re-configuration, it is better to save application configurations in advance. I put these settings files in the Backup folder in Dropbox. This is how it happens for the example of four applications:

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  • Alfred: in Settings Advanced Set Sync Folder enable a folder to sync settings, themes and workflow;
  • TextExpander: in Settings▸ Synchronization specify the folder where snippets will be stored;
  • Hazel: export all rules via Settings Export All Rules or set a folder for automatic synchronization;
  • iStat Menus: all settings can be saved via File Export Settings
Example of exporting settings to iStat Menus

3. I make an available backup to disk

There is always a chance not to save important files and overwrite them when reinstalling. In this case, a backup will help. I use Arq Backup, an advanced alternative to Time Machine. Arq automatically backs up your drive to Dropbox every hour.

But cloud storage is too thoughtful: it takes a long time to search in it, to download large files from it. Therefore, before reinstalling macOS, I make a temporary backup to an external USB drive. In which case, recovering files from a USB drive is much faster than from the cloud.

Local backup can do the same Arq, but the free Time Machine is also good for this purpose. In any case, the backup will take a long time, so make it in advance at night.

After reinstalling, I overwrite the entire Dropbox folder from the USB drive. This saves time for synchronization and gives access to the coveted Backup folder, where the previously saved application settings are stored.

👨‍💻 Read also: what’s on my Mac in 2019

4. I make a bootable macOS flash drive

Installing macOS from a bootable USB stick is faster than directly from the network. Its creation does not require special participation and will take about twenty minutes.

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READ ALSO: How to make a bootable USB flash drive with macOS Mojave.

5. I brew coffee and start

The procedure is standard. I boot my Mac while holding Option, select the installation flash drive, format the disk via Disk Utility, put the system.

PS When formatting the disk, select the unencrypted APFS file system, and after installation, do not enable FileVault. Otherwise, the computer will be thoughtful and will noticeably slow down even with an SSD, which will slow down the installation and configuration of the software. Turn on FileVault after setting it up, for example at night.

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