How to Burn Disc Images in OS X El Capitan Without Disk Utility

Burn disc images in OS X El Capitan

Apple removed the ability to burn disc images from Disk Utility in OS X 10.11 and newer, and while that makes sense for many Macs that no longer have SuperDrives, CDRW, and DVD burners, for those who use an external burner, use disc drive sharing, or who do have hardware with a built-in SuperDrive, may find it frustrating to lose such a feature. But not to worry, you can still burn disk images and data discs in OS X El Capitan, and you can start the process either from the Finder or from the command line on the Mac.

Note this is not necessary in older versions of OS X, which allowed burning ISO files from Disk Utility. This is exclusively for OS X El Capitan and later, where the feature no longer exists.

Burn a Disk Image File (ISO, DMG, etc) from the Finder of OS X

The ability to burn data and disk images has long existed in the Finder of OS X, but now burning images is missing from Disk Utility, it’s one of the primary methods of burning a disk in OS X 10.11 and later:

  1. From the OS X Finder, select a disk image file
  2. Pull down the “File” menu and choose “Burn Disk Image (Name) to Disc…”
  3. Insert a blank DVD, CD, or CDRW disc into the drive, then click on the “Burn” button

Burn a disc image in Mac OS X from the Finder File menu

You can also access the “Burn Disk Image to Disc” option by right-clicking on an image file.

This works to burn disk images and just data in general, OS X Is smart enough to know what to do with a DMG and an ISO.

Burning Disc Images & ISO Files in OS X EL Capitan from the Command Line

Users can also turn to the command line to burn a disk image or iso file. The syntax is rather simple but being the command line things must be precise to avoid failure or unintended consequences, thus this is best for advanced Mac users. Here’s what to do to burn an iso from OS X El Capitan with hdiutil in the Terminal application:

    1. Place the ISO somewhere easy to locate like the desktop or user home folder
    2. Insert a blank DVD or CD into the Mac
    3. Launch the Terminal and type the following command:

hdiutil burn ~/Path/To/DiskImageFile.iso

hdiutil will start burning the disk image file immediately assuming the syntax to the iso or dmg file is correct, and a CD/DVD drive with write abilities is found. The hdiutil command is quite powerful and it can create iso images as well as convert them, making it a valuable tool for users who don’t mind the Terminal.

If for some reason you don’t want to use hdiutil, it remains possible to burn ISOs or other disk image from the command line using dd too.

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