I want to virtualize a Mac (the latest, 10.9) on my Mac (MacBook Air). I prefer to use VirtualBox. After setting up the OS X guest, I need to provide a .iso file from which VirtualBox will install OS X. Where can I (legally) get such a .iso file? My Mac didn't come with installation media so I can't just create one from a disc.

  • Sorry about the duplicate. I did a search but it was not specific enough.
    – user13716
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


These steps assume that you already have purchased OS X 10.9 through the Mac App Store.

  1. Open the Mac App Store
  2. Press the Alt Key and hold it during the following steps
  3. Click at the purchased tab
  4. Scroll to OS X Mavericks
  5. Click at the Download button
  6. If you already have OS X Mavericks installed, you will be asked if you want to continue
  7. Click continue
  8. Now, you can release the Alt Key

To get the dmg file:
1. Go to the downloaded install application in the applications folder
2. Control+click on the installer, and choose Show Package Contents, and choose Show Package Contents.
3. Navigate to Contents > Shared Support
4. The file you are looking for is called InstallESD.dmg

If you need a .iso file, you have to convert it using Disk Utility

  • Sadly, even after all that, I doubt the ISO will work with VirtualBox. From this page: Unfortunately, the standard "Unibeast" method for installing OS X Mavericks on PCs (which uses an official copy of the Mavericks installer) doesn't work with Virtualbox. Instead, you'll have to pirated "distros" of Mac OS X such as Niresh, which is now the most popular distro for Mavericks.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 20:19
  • 1
    For install info see apple.stackexchange.com/a/106840/5231 VirtualBox supports a Mac-style EFI boot when using the Mac OS X type choices with "Enable EFI" selected, so you can boot an unaltered OS install. However, as noted in the answer I linked, the InstallESD.dmg from the Mavericks App is just plain not a bootable disk image even on a real Mac, so workarounds are necessary.
    – rakslice
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 4:22