PTE on a Mac

If you're using a MacBook or other Apple computer, the T.O.V.A. will probably work for you. To be sure, please look at which version of macOS your computer is running:

  • In the top-left Apple menu, click 'About This Mac'. The macOS version is nearly the first thing in the dialog.
    • If your Mac is running macOS 10.8.5 or later, it's compatible with the T.O.V.A. Now, let's see if it will work with the PTE.
    • If your Mac is not running macOS 10.8.5 or later, it's not compatible with the T.O.V.A.

Precision Test Environment (PTE) Compatibility

If your Mac is compatible with T.O.V.A., please check if it's compatible with the PTE or if you should use the EAV hardware setup instead. You can find the Mac model in the same window as the Mac version.

  1. In the 'About This Mac' window, note the machine model and year right below the macOS version: e.g. "MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)".
  2. If you don't see it, click 'More Info'. The machine model and year appear at the top. For example:

    MacBook Pro
    Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015

  3. Refer to our Compatibility page to see how your model is supported.

T2 chip

Newer Mac models are likely to include the T2 security chip which blocks the PTE from booting. This chip locks the computer down to Apple-approved operating systems only, preventing the PTE from running. These systems must either use the EAV hardware setup or disable the T2 chip completely.

  1. Restart the computer, holding down the Command and 'R' keys to go to Recovery mode.
  2. Choose Utilities > Startup Security Utility from the menu bar.
  3. Authenticate by clicking "Enter Mac OS password" and enter an administrator account and password.
  4. In the form, choose "No Security" and "Allow booting from external media".
  5. Restart back to macOS.

Reference: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208330

Install the T.O.V.A.

The best way to install the T.O.V.A. software is to download it from our website:

  1. Enter your T.O.V.A. device serial number at https://www.tovatest.com/downloads. You can find your serial number on the bottom of your black T.O.V.A. device.

    If you haven't bought a T.O.V.A. kit yet, enter '30000' (outside the USA, '20000').
  2. Click 'Submit' to download the current installer for your hardware.
  3. Run the installer and follow the steps to configure the software and set up the T.O.V.A. hardware.
  4. Make sure to choose 'Precision Test Environment' in the Configuration wizard.
  5. After testing out your device and microswitch during installation, on the last page of the Hardware wizard click 'Test the PTE'.
  6. Follow the instructions to boot the PTE.
If you've already exited the Hardware wizard, run the T.O.V.A. application.
In the main window, click 'Help' and then 'Test the PTE'.

Your computer should then boot to the PTE.

  • If it works, great! Next, you should Test the PTE.
  • If it boots to an error screen instead, your computer is probably incompatible with the T.O.V.A. PTE. Click here for some options.
    • Note: You can take a photo of the error and email it to T.O.V.A. tech support support@tovatest.com. Please make sure the text is clearly readable.
  • If it boots right back to macOS, you have other options for booting the PTE:

Test the PTE

Once you boot to the PTE, please do the following:

  1. Click 'Calibrate display' and follow the directions. Calibration must be successful before you can administer the T.O.V.A. visual test.
  2. Adjust the volume at the bottom of the main PTE menu. Make sure you can clearly hear the voice and the test tones.
  3. Try out the test instructions and the T.O.V.A. practice test.
  4. Once you're finished testing the PTE, click 'Done' to exit and return to your normal environment.

Set T.O.V.A. Preferences

If you try a different PTE boot option that works, make that the default option:

  1. Run the T.O.V.A. application.
  2. At the bottom of the main window, click 'Preferences'.
  3. In the Preferences window, click 'Session launch'.
  4. Select the boot option(s) that worked, and click 'Save'.

T.O.V.A. Boot CD

If your Mac has a CD drive, you'll probably use a T.O.V.A. CD to boot the PTE. If you do not have a T.O.V.A. CD, you have two options:

Update your CD

It's important to update your T.O.V.A. CD when you update the T.O.V.A., so that you're using the latest version of the PTE. If the T.O.V.A. reports that your CD is out of date, update it or burn a new one.

Creating/Updating Your T.O.V.A. CD

Note: You will need your original T.O.V.A. CD (which can be updated) or a blank CD to "burn" the new image.

  1. Insert the T.O.V.A. CD, a CD-RW, or blank CD-R.
  2. Go to /Applications/TOVA/utilities or use Spotlight to find the 'Update_CD.command' script, and open it.
  3. A Terminal window will open, which will write ("burn") the latest CD image onto the CD. This will take several minutes, and the disk will eject when the process is complete. If there is an error message, you should copy it and send it to us in a Tech Support Request. Otherwise, you can close the Terminal when the CD ejects.
  4. When it's finished, run the T.O.V.A. application.
  5. In the main window, click 'Help' and then 'Test the PTE...'.
  6. Choose 'Use legacy PTE' then click 'OK'.
  7. Follow the instructions to boot the PTE and then test it out.

T.O.V.A. flash drive

If your Mac does not have a CD drive, you'll probably use the T.O.V.A. flash drive to boot the PTE. If you do not have the flash drive that came with your T.O.V.A. kit, please order one from the T.O.V.A. Store

Updating Your T.O.V.A. Flash Drive

It is critical that your T.O.V.A. flash drive remains up to date, with a version of the PTE that matches the T.O.V.A. software as well as your Mac hardware. If you are using a Mac, the T.O.V.A. software installs scripts for creating or updating T.O.V.A. flash drives to boot PTE.

Note: You will need your original T.O.V.A. flash drive. If you no longer have it, please order a new one. You can also use any 100 MB or larger flash drive, but you will need to first change the drive label.

Warning: This will write a different image than the T.O.V.A. flash drive came with. The previous contents, including documentation and installers, will be erased, but you can always access them on our website. Please save any personal files you have written to the flash drive before running this script.

Modern PTE

For 2015 or later Macs, update the flash drive to boot the new Precision Test Environment:

  1. Plug in the T.O.V.A. flash drive. (For safety, this script will only work for USB flash drives labeled tova8 or TOVA9.)
  2. Go to /Applications/TOVA/utilities or use Spotlight to find the 'Update_Flash_Drive.command' script, and open it.
  3. A Terminal window will open and build the T.O.V.A. flash drive. This will take several minutes.
  4. The script will ask for your password to authorize writing to our flash drive. Please type it at the Password: prompt; for security, your typing is not shown on the screen.
  5. If there is an error message, you should copy it and send it to us in a Tech Support Request. Otherwise, you can close the Terminal when the script says, Flash drive updated to PTE version....
  6. When it's finished, run the T.O.V.A. application.
  7. In the main window, click 'Help' and then 'Test the PTE...'.
  8. Choose 'Use flash drive' then click 'OK'.
  9. Follow the instructions to boot the PTE and then test it out.

Please contact T.O.V.A. tech support if you would like help or encounter problems.

Legacy PTE

For pre-2015 Macs, update the flash drive to boot the current legacy Precision Test Environment:

  1. Plug in the T.O.V.A. flash drive. (For safety, this script will only work for USB Flash drives labeled tova8, TOVA9, or TOVATEST.)
  2. Go to /Applications/TOVA/utilities or use Spotlight to find the 'Update_Legacy_Flash_Drive.command' script, and open it.
  3. A Terminal window will open and build the T.O.V.A. flash drive. This will take several minutes.
  4. The script will ask for your password to authorize writing to our flash drive. Please type it at the Password: prompt; for security, your typing is not shown on the screen.
  5. If there is an error message, you should copy it and send it to us in a Tech Support Request. Otherwise, you can close the Terminal when the script says, Flash drive updated to PTE version....
  6. When it's finished, run the T.O.V.A. application.
  7. In the main window, click 'Help' and then 'Test the PTE...'.
  8. Choose 'Use legacy PTE' then click 'OK'.
  9. Follow the instructions to boot the PTE and then test it out.

Please contact T.O.V.A. tech support if you would like help or encounter problems.