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?

5 Answers 5


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.

  • 5
    why you cannot directly do DD from the .dmg to the USB ?
    – Francesco
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 20:11
  • 4
    Accordign to this guide: macbreaker.com/2014/01/… 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
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 9:22
  • 2
    @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
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 14:26
  • 5
    I just want to add detail to the answer ... why you should to convert the image if it is not required ?
    – Francesco
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 17:24
  • 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
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 17:39

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.

  • How USB should be formatted? Partitionmap GUID/MBR? Formatting FAT/NTFS/HFS+?
    – IFightCode
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 13:20
  • 4
    @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
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 19:06
  • 5
    This 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
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 19:48
  • +1 for the direct burning to usb method
    – Anwar
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 17:01
  • I use this method to extract a disk image of a hfs+ partition from a file called BaseSystem.dmg which is part of a recovery image for macOS. I can then mount that .iso file using sudo mount -t hfsplus -o loop BaseSystem.iso /mnt/macimage/ However if I then write that .iso file to a usb drive using dd as you describe above then that hfs+ partition in that usb drive will NOT mount. Instead I get error: Wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sdc2, missing codepage or helper program or other error Why will it not mount when on the USB drive? Does dd mess up hfs+ disk images? Commented May 25, 2021 at 20:27

Try booting from Internet Recovery (Command + Alt + Shift + R) and opening the installer app from Terminal.

Open Terminal in recovery and:

cd The-Name-Of-Your-Installer.app/Contents/MacOS

The installer should load.


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.

  • Title says "on Linux"
    – chris
    Commented Feb 14 at 1:04

usually, you just write the dmg image to the usb drive

on linux:

fdisk -l # find the USB drive, for example: sdb
dd if=image.dmg of=/dev/sdb bs=16M status=progress

on macos:

diskutil list # find the USB drive, for example: disk2
dd if=image.dmg of=/dev/disk2 bs=$((16 * 1024 * 1024))

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