[Bali life] How to clean update Big Sur by deleting everything!!

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

Tomorrow is the end of 2020, so I'm keeping my surroundings as clean as possible. In the last couple of days, I've repaired the roof of my car, my kids' bikes, and I've had about four surfboards repaired. And today I smashed my fin on a reef again and sent another surfboard to be repaired:...

I've meant to update the OS on my MacBook to Big Sur, but had not. This update is the biggest in a long time. My MacBook is a skinny old 12" Mac, so I was hesitant because I didn't want this Big Sur upgrade to slow it down any further. About two months after Apple Inc. announced the first update, I read an article about a 12" MacBook (just like mine) got faster after this update, so I finally decided to update. Since I was updating anyway, I decided to do a clean install and delete all data. At the same time, I tidied up my environment. As it turned out, it took me about half a day, but upgrading to Big Sur was the right thing to do. My Macbook has suddenly become a lot more responsive. I've also tidied up my environment and now have about 150 GB of free space.

The text below notes on my clean install for Big Sur. Tomorrow, I will write the setup of my programming environment, taking up a lot of space. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it will be better to ask a Mac expert.

The first thing I did was to back up all my data. I'm a person losing things, so I've had all my data in the cloud for about 20 years now. I've lost MacBooks in the past, I've had computers suddenly stop working, but I've never lost an important file. That's because I automatically save all my files to the cloud.

All my work files are saved on OneDrive and I also have other files on Dropbox that I share with clients, but these are usually in the cloud without me even thinking about it. My personal information is also basically saved on OneDrive in my personal account. Photos and videos automatically go into Flickr, and temporary files, such as document and desktop folders, automatically go into Apple's iCloud. More temporary and slightly larger folders, such as "Downloads", go into Google Drive. I also use scripting tools namely Hazel and Fastscripts, and these scripts are also placed in Google Drive. So basically, all my files are backed up without me having to do anything. I forgot what apps I had installed, so I took screenshots of all my Launchpads.

I did a clean install of Big Sur using this Japanese website as a reference. Google Translate and DeepL have great translation capabilities these days, so I feel like you can just copy this page as is after the machine translation, but please do so at your own risk (^^;). In a nutshell, the first step is to let Apple's system update download the 12 GB or so of Big Sur data. When it has finished downloading, close the app for the update without updating the OS.

Then create an empty USB drive called "Untitled" and use the following command to create a USB drive for the clean install.

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled

Quit your Mac with this drive plugged in and restart it with the option key held down. This IT ritual will launch the clean install tools, which will first cleanly delete and reformat the old OS and the SDD containing your apps and data. To do this, launch the Disk Utility, which is included in the selection options. There, you will see a separate APPLE's SSD namely APPLESSD from the USB drive you have plugged in for the installation. The important thing to remember is to select the option to see all drives, including ones not normally visible (the location highlighted as blue with the cursor).

The first attempt, I actually formatted it as APFS halfway through and ended up with a huge 130 GB of rubbish data that I had to re-install clean. First, clean this up, then exit Disk Utility, and finally launch the app for a clean install.

After that, just follow the flow and start the installation, and you can play for about an hour. By the time, you get back; you should have a Big Sur Macbook up and running.

It took me longer than I thought, so I'll write about setting up the environment tomorrow.


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