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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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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 website, “How to create a bootable installer for macOS” at


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


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!


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


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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