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The March 2015 update of Apple's 13" MacBook Pro Retina Display, model A1502, features fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and introduces the Force Touch trackpad.

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No SSD/bootable installer won't boot

I’ve got a 13” macbook pro A1502/EMC2835 mid-2015 with no SSD. I am planning on buying a replacement SSD, but I wanted to check if it’s OK first, so I used a USB flash drive to create a bootable installer (Mojave), connected it to the mac, pressed the power button and the option key, and I see a flashing question mark in a folder icon. I see this means the machine isn’t finding the USB flash/bootable installer drive.

My question: should it find the USB flash/bootable installer drive without an SSD installed? Or is there a way to test before I spend the $$$ for a replacement SSD?

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1 Answer

Most Helpful Answer

It sounds like you didn’t prep the USB drive correctly. First, you need to use another Mac (you can also do it on a Windows system its just harder). Using the Mac you need to first open Disk Utility to format the USB drive to GUID with a Journaled file system (HFS+), then following this guide How to create a bootable macOS Mojave installer drive.

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My question wasn’t “did I create a valid bootable installer?” it was:[br]

”Should my macbook pro find the USB flash/bootable installer drive without an SSD installed? Or is there a way to test before I spend the $$$ for a replacement SSD? “

FYI, I created the bootable installer using instructions from the apple.com website, “How to create a bootable installer for macOS” at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372

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You don't need the internal SSD present, which is why your issue is your USB drive is not setup correctly. If you wanted to you could have setup a regular OS install from another Mac system onto your USB drive that would have worked as well

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Hi Dan,

OK, thanks for the information in both of your answers! I am grateful for the information in your first answer, even though I didn't express that in my firsts comment back.

Perhaps I ought to test the bootable installer on my friend's mac (the one I used to create the bootable installer). It was a mistake to forget to test that when I created the USB installer.

And I'll take your suggestion and also create a regular OS install (using my friends system) so I have a couple of shots at getting this mac pro to boot up. Is there are webpage with instructions that you'd recommend for installing the OS onto a USB drive? And, since I have a A1502 mid 2015 13" mac pro I think any OS including and after Sierra should work, does that sound right to you?

thanks again!

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Instead why don't you use Target Disk Mode with your friends Mac, review these two docs:

Use target disk mode to move files to another computer

Understanding the Applications for Target Disk Mode

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Hi Dan,

OK, thanks for the info on target disk mode. I have a question:

If I use target disk mode as in "Booting Your Target Mac’s OS on Your Host Mac’s Hardware" (from the second link you gave me), can I boot my mac pro and confirm that it's working OK without an SSD? The whole point of what I'm doing is to test the laptop before I invest a few hundred $$ in a new SSD.

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Bob will be eternally grateful.
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