Making a bootable OSX USB from dmg on Linux



I have 2 machines - a MacBook Pro and a desktop running Fedora, I have a USB drive and a OSX 10.8 dmg. The MacBook won't boot into OSX unfortunately, I'm trying to make a bootable mac usb to recover it.

Any insight? I've tried dmg2img but no success putting that image onto the usb drive.

Is there an easy way to do this?

Zen Savona

Posted 2012-11-14T23:16:03.563

Reputation: 453



Have you tried "Acetoneiso"?

It'll convert the DMG to an ISO for you. After that, the easiest way I know of to make a bootable USB is using DD.

dd if=/path/to/osx.iso of=/dev/sdX && sync

Note: sdX is an example, you will have to check your flash drive address (usually sdb if you have only one hard disk). Do not add a partition # after that (such as sdb1). This method is a little hard on flash drives (I have killed one or two doing this relatively frequently, but once should be fine).

If you are unfamiliar, DD is a bit by bit copy and sync just verifies that all files have been written to the usb.


Posted 2012-11-14T23:16:03.563

Reputation: 13 366

You can as well just use hdiutil convert EXAMPLE.dmg -format RdWr -o EXAMPLE.img, according to this answer.

– kaiser – 2016-01-12T02:48:21.603

How USB should be formatted? Partitionmap GUID/MBR? Formatting FAT/NTFS/HFS+? – IFightCode – 2016-04-21T13:20:29.503

3why you cannot directly do DD from the .dmg to the USB ? – Francesco – 2014-01-06T20:11:55.167

@Francesco - Do some research on the format differences between a dmg (non-standard) and iso (standard) – nerdwaller – 2014-01-06T20:19:58.537


Accordign to this guide:

this should work on Mac Osx: sudo dd if="location of Niresh disk image" of=/dev/r"identifier" bs=1m So why should not on linux ?

– Francesco – 2014-01-07T09:22:47.947


@Francesco - Never said it doesn't. Please ask your own questions rather than piggy backing off other's and providing unrelated/chatty comments. You can also see if anyone is available in chat.

– nerdwaller – 2014-01-07T14:26:12.990

3I just want to add detail to the answer ... why you should to convert the image if it is not required ? – Francesco – 2014-01-07T17:24:58.350

2@Francesco - Again, look at the differences between dmg and iso. iso is a standard, dmg is often contains compressed items, where isos do not. To avoid the few rare cases in which a dmg behaves as an iso, it's best to just convert it to a known valid format. If you write the common dmgs (that contain compression) to a USB, many things do not handle them correctly. So you aren't adding details, you're asking questions without researching it beyond a single case in which your point is true while ignoring the numerous cases in which it is false. – nerdwaller – 2014-01-07T17:39:40.160


Install dmg2img

sudo apt-get install dmg2img

Convert DMG image file to ISO file

dmg2img -v -i /path/to/image_file.dmg -o /path/to/image_file.iso

Copy ISO image to USB

sudo dd if=/path/to/image_file.iso of=/dev/sdb && sync

sdb is an example. In your case it might be different


You can do the conversion and actual writing in one pass, if you don't need the .iso afterwards: it will take half the time as converting to .iso and THEN writing to the USB device. Just do:

sudo dmg2img -v -i /path/to/image_file.dmg -o /dev/sdb

Again, sdb is an example. In your case it might be different.


Posted 2012-11-14T23:16:03.563

Reputation: 431

How USB should be formatted? Partitionmap GUID/MBR? Formatting FAT/NTFS/HFS+? – IFightCode – 2016-04-21T13:20:25.690

2@Enthusiast these instructions are writing a raw disk image to the device. Its formatting and data before the operation will be overwritten and therefore don't matter. – Sam Hanes – 2016-06-29T19:06:28.380

2This does not create an ISO image, it is an HFS+ image like all the other tutorials that use this program. I still have not found a workable solution. – bparker – 2016-08-10T19:48:54.140

+1 for the direct burning to usb method – Anwar – 2019-09-05T17:01:19.220


If you can find another Mac, try the Disk Utility App.

You can "Restore" your 10.8 DMG to your USB drive. This will make your USB drive be bootable.


Posted 2012-11-14T23:16:03.563

Reputation: 19