I'd like to make a bootable ISO file from Apple-provided DMG file located under Download macOS using Safari on your Mac from: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211683. They provide a DMG file with a pkg file inside which I used xar -xf on, leading to a:

  • Distribution (exec, 9kb)
  • InstallMacOSX.pkg (pkg obviously, 6.21 GB)
  • Resources folder (650kb)

I'd assume InstallMacOSX.pkg is the most important, so it has these files:

  • Bom
  • InstallESD.dmg (6.2 GB)
  • PackageInfo
  • Payload (9 MB) (Renaming to .zip un'zips' a Install OS X El Capitan.app file)
  • Scripts

How would I utilize 'Payload' and 'InstallESD.dmg' to make a bootable ISO file?

Based off of this guide's end results, and my closest OSX version to this, I get these files:

  • .fseventsd
  • .IABootFiles (24.3 MB)
  • .IABootFilesSystemVersion.plist
  • .IAPhysicalMedia
  • Install macOS Sierra.app (5.03 GB)
  • Library
  • System (24.3 MB)
  • usr

Install macOS Sierra.app has: /Contents/SharedSupport/InstallESD.dmg (5.01 GB).

  • You want create a iso of what version Mac os x?
    – user415185
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 19:31
  • It's listed on the site, but OSX 10.11 or 10.10.
    – Meh.
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 19:40
  • 1
    For what usage you want this iso? For create a VM under Virtualbox or an other virtualization software?
    – user415185
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 19:45
  • An iso is just a wrapper around bits. What do you hope consumes the ISO?
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 20:28
  • Meh: You should edit your question and include what you are using the ISO for. This might generate answers with other alternatives. Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


You can see this post : https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/420325/415185

I think you've only after the last instruction :

mv /tmp/Installer.dmg ~/Desktop

to add :

hdiutil convert ~/Desktop/Installer.dmg -format UDTO -o ~/Desktop/ElCapitan.iso

mv ~/Desktop/ElCapitan.iso.cdr ~/Desktop/ElCapitan.iso

And don't use the last instruction :

sudo asr restore .....
  • Super great link to the Apple equivalent process to ISO on unix…
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 20:45

Macos and OS X doesn’t boot from ISO but can boot from dragging the installer app to a flash drive on newer OS. Typically any processing you do adds steps, complexity for little benefit.

It’s usually easier to focus on which hardware (or era of hardware) you need and use the Apple app to install onto a USB drive and have the installer there and use the startup manager to select and run things.

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