I wonder if there is a way to sort of "unroll" a dmg file and reveal which directories it will install files to?

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    DMG's don't install anywhere, are you thinking of PKG's? May 11, 2019 at 17:12
  • i don't know man? am I? I just want to see all locations where files are put when I install a program using a DMG May 11, 2019 at 17:18
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    What exactly do you have in mind when you say "install"? Running a pkg file from within the dmg file, or copying a .app bundle from a dmg file into your applications folder?
    – Alexander
    May 12, 2019 at 0:09

2 Answers 2


A DMG (Disk Image) file is like a zip file. It's compressed and has a check built-in to check if the integrity of the app is intact. Once you open a DMG file, in most cases, you just have to drag/drop the application into you Applications folder and that's it. If you want to see the full content of that application, go to Applications folder Right click on an app Select 'Show the ... content' In the 'Contents' directory, you'll see all dirs and files that came with your app. I don't know if that's the answer your are looking for?


DMG refers to a Disk Image. When you open a DMG, nothing happens–it's like opening a folder (effectively, there are some differences but none that affect the answer to this question).

Typically, you're asked to drag the application to the Applications folder. This is exactly as it appears–the file you're dragging (the application) is being copied to the Applications folder.

Sometimes, you're asked to open an installer. The specifics of how the installer works varies based on how the developer wrote it. The DMG portion of the process doesn't really effect that.

The standard is a PKG file, which opens the standard installer program. This has you go through a few steps, with an outline on the left side of the screen. These files can be analyzed. I've found an article online (but have not tested it) here.

  • No the standard is dmg - Very few programs use a .pkg installer
    – mmmmmm
    May 11, 2019 at 18:14
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    @Mark A DMG is just a container. It's essentially a way to wrap up files for transportation and storage. Sort of the computer equivalent of a cardboard box. They can contain pretty much anything, and PKG is one fairly common way to install software that's often wrapped in a DMG for safe transport. Go to support.apple.com/downloads, and look at pretty much any of the macOS software -- they're mostly PKG-wrapped-in-DMG files. May 11, 2019 at 19:10
  • Most of the apps I see are just the app and installed by copy
    – mmmmmm
    May 11, 2019 at 19:49
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    @Mark A DMG may be a standard for packaging applications, but it's not an installer. A PKG file is the standard for any installation process. Most apps don't need that, but the question asked about installation and so I referenced a PKG.
    – Ezekiel
    May 11, 2019 at 20:15

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