[Tutorial] How to Install macOS Sonoma on a Separate APFS Volume
Since the release of macOS 14 Sonoma by Apple, an increasing number of Mac users have expressed interest in experiencing its new features. As you know, new macOS versions frequently come with unexpected bugs that can cause you big trouble. This is why Apple suggests installing the new macOS on an alternative Mac rather than your primary one. However, what if you only have one Mac? Is it possible to dual-boot macOS on that one Mac?
The answer is YES. It is indeed possible to install macOS Sonoma on a separate APFS volume. Read on to learn how to make this happen.
How to Install macOS Sonoma on a Separate APFS Volume
Step #1 Check Mac Compatibility
macOS Sonoma has dropped support for most Intel Macs. Here are all the Mac models it supports:
- iMac (2019 and later)
- iMac Pro (2017)
- MacBook Air (2018 and later)
- MacBook Pro (2018 and later)
- Mac Mini (2018 and later)
- Mac Pro (2019 and later)
- Mac Studio (2022 and later)
Step #2 Back Up Your Mac
Backing up your Mac is very important, especially if you are upgrading your system. We emphasize this because unexpected issues can arise during an upgrade, and the best way to protect your data is to create a backup of your Mac beforehand.
The easiest way to create a Mac backup is to use Time Machine. You'll need an external hard drive that's at least twice the size of the data you're backing up.
If this is your first time backing up your Mac, it is recommended that you use the best Mac cleaner, BuhoCleaner, to clean up your Mac to reduce the backup file size and backup time.
Step #3 Add an APFS Volume
With your Mac backed up, you can go ahead and add a new APFS volume in preparation for installing macOS Sonoma.
- Make sure your Mac is running macOS High Sierra or later.
- Launch Disk Utility via Spotlight.
- In the sidebar, select your existing APFS volume, such as Macintosh HD.
- Click the Add Volume (+) button in the Disk Utility toolbar to create a new volume.
- Rename the volume, such as macOS Sonoma, then click Add. (No need to change the default APFS format.)
- Quit Disk Utility.
Step #4 Download macOS 14 Sonoma Full Installer
Under normal circumstances, you can quickly upgrade to macOS Sonoma via the Software Update. Just click the Apple Menu > System Settings > General > Software Update, then check for updates and follow the instructions to download macOS Sonoma.
If you want to get the full macOS Sonoma installation package directly, click the link below:
Once the download is complete, open the .pkg file and follow the instructions to complete the installation. After that, you'll find the macOS Sonoma installer in the Applications folder.
Step #5 Install macOS Sonoma on the New Volume
Now that you have your new APFS volume and macOS Sonoma full installer ready, follow the steps below to install it on the new volume.
- Open Finder > Applications > Install macOS Sonoma.
- Click Continue > Agree and confirm again.
- Click Show All Disks, select the volume you created, and click Continue.
- Enter your administrator password to allow the installation.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to install macOS Sonoma.
- After the installation is complete, set up your Mac.
By following the steps above, you should have successfully installed macOS Sonoma on a separate APFS volume. Now you can enjoy two versions of macOS on one Mac.
It's worth noting that having two macOS versions means more storage space is required. If you're running low on storage space, your Mac might become sluggish, or encounter the spinning rainbow wheel. To avoid these issues, we highly recommend that you regularly use BuhoCleaner to clean and optimize your Mac.
I am Jerome Mills, a passionate enthusiast of all things Apple. I'm expertise in crafting tech-related articles, with a portfolio of more than 100 articles covering various Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.