I am trying to install from a bootable USB containing an installer for Mac OS X El Capitan on a Mac Mini. Normally I would hold Option while booting to gain access to a screen where I can select from the bootable USB or the internal hard drive (or any other bootable disks). The problem is that I don't currently have access to an Apple keyboard.

I have tried setting the USB to the bootable volume using bless, but that doesn't boot into the installer.

Is there a way to force the machine to boot to that selection? Perhaps certain boot flags could be set using the nvram command. Help is appreciated.


If you have access to a generic USB keyboard rather than an Apple one, you can hold Alt to perform the same action as holding Option on an Apple keyboard. Likewise, holding the Windows key will perform the same action as holding Command.

  • That was the first thing I tried. The particular Windows keyboard I had attached never initiated any input during the startup. I ended up picking up an Apple keyboard at the store. – Ryan Burnette Jan 18 '16 at 22:01

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