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How to Install macOS on A Separate APFS Volume (Ventura/Monterey/Big Sur)

Updated on Thursday, May 16, 2024

iBoysoft author Amanda Wong

Written by

Amanda Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


Guide to Installing macOS (Ventura) on A Separate APFS Volume

Summary: This post tells how to install macOS Ventura/Monterey/Big Sur on a separate APFS volume on your Mac drive so that you can use more than one version of macOS on a Mac.

install macOS on a separate APFS volume

Apple usually releases the beta version of macOS before the advent of the public version. Apple seeded the first macOS 13 Beta to developers on June 6, 2022. By doing so, it gathers feedback from Mac users to help improve the software's performance. If you want to try the new macOS on your Mac without affecting the previously installed macOS, you can install macOS on a separate APFS volume.

Besides, some software requires a specific version of macOS, so you may need to remain with the older version of macOS on your Mac's built-in startup disk, and want to install the newer macOS VenturaMonterey, or Big Sur on your Mac. Therefore, you can also install a different macOS on a separate APFS volume. 

What you need to prepare

APFS made its debut on macOS Sierra and is officially applied to macOS High Sierra. It has replaced the previous Mac OS Extended and became the main file system used on MacBook Air/Pro/iMac. To install macOS on a separate APFS volume, there are some preparations you need to make. Stay tuned to know more.

Make a backup

It is always recommended to back up your Mac before you take any further actions on your Mac startup disk. In case you mistakenly perform an operation on the drive and cause a data loss disaster. A backup created using Time Machine gives you a way to restore your Mac to a previous state if something goes wrong on your Mac.

Add an APFS volume

You need to add an APFS volume to the container so that you can install the version of macOS you prefer on the added APFS volume. The hard drive of your Mac should be formatted as APFS, given that you can not add an APFS volume to an HFS+ container. And your Mac should run on macOS High Sierra and later versions. Besides, you can also install macOS on external drive instead of the internal one if you want. Here's how to add an APFS volume on your Mac hard drive:

  1. Go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility, launch Disk Utility. 
  2. Tap on the View button and choose Show All Devices.
  3. Select the existing APFS volume, Macintosh HD, by default on the left sidebar.
  4. Control-click the volume and choose Add APFS Volume on the menu.add APFS volume
  5. Name the new volume and choose an APFS format.
  6. Tap the Size Options button to allocate storage to the volume.
  7. Click OK > Add to confirm the operation.

Get the macOS installer

Mac users can update macOS from Apple Menu > System Preferences > Software Update, or in the App Store. However, it only provides you with the latest version of macOS. The latest public version of macOS is Monterey, you can directly download macOS Monterey from Mac App Store. For other compatible macOS, follow the steps below to get it on your Mac.

How to get macOS Ventura Beta: 

  1. Navigate to beta.apple.com and sign in with your Apple ID.
  2. Click Enroll Your Devices.
  3. Scroll down the new page and choose Download the macOS Public Beta Access Utility.
  4. Downloaded macOSPublicBetaAccessUtility.dmg locates in Finder.get Beta macOS

How to get an older version of macOS:

You may find that you can't find macOS mojave in App Store and other older versions of macOS. Because Apple doesn't index the entries of Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, and High Sierra in the Mac App Store although they are available there. 

If you want to install an older version of macOS/OS X, you can follow this link to download the installers of macOS Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, and High Sierra on your Mac, or, download the older installer of macOS Sierra, OS X El Capitan, and OS X Yosemite as a disk image named InstallOS.dmg or InstallMacOSX.dmg onto the bootable installer.

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How to install macOS on the new APFS volume

After you get the installer of the macOS you prefer on your MacBook Air/Pro/iMac, you can proceed to install the macOS on the newly added APFS volume. There are only a few steps away.

  1. Open the downloaded macOS installer on your Mac.
  2. A wizard pops up on the screen and guides you through the steps to install the software.
  3. When it asks to choose where to install, click Show All Disks.
  4. Select the new APFS volume to install macOS.select volume to install macOS
  5. Click on the Continue button.
  6. Enter your admin account password to confirm the operation.
  7. Wait for the installation to complete and restart your Mac.

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How to boot from different APFS volumes

You can boot the Mac from the new APFS volume with the macOS installed, switching from different macOS versions on your Mac. You can change to boot Mac from the new APFS volume one, or for every startup.

Change your startup disk once:

  1. Turn off your Intel Mac or Apple Silicon Mac.
  2. Press and hold the Option key as you start up your Intel Mac, or press and hold the power button until you see “Loading startup options.”
  3. Select the new APFS volume from the available volumes on the screen.
  4. Then click the Up arrow or Continue button.
  5. It will restart your computer from the disk selected. boot from different volumes

Change your startup disk for every startup:

  1. Navigate to Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Startup Disk.
  2. Click the lock at the bottom left to unlock the preference pane.
  3. Select the icon of the new APFS volume, then click Restart.

Every time you restart your Mac, it will boot from the selected volume in the System Preferences.


If you want to install macOS Ventura on a separate APFS volume, you need to add an APFS volume to the container and get the macOS installer on your Mac, then install the downloaded macOS installer onto the AFPS volume. With all these done, you can boot your Mac from the new APFS volume to use different macOS versions on your Mac.

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