HDIUTIL(1) General Commands Manual HDIUTIL(1)

hdiutilmanipulate disk images (attach, verify, create, etc)

hdiutil verb [options]

hdiutil uses the DiskImages framework to manipulate disk images. Common verbs include attach, detach, verify, create, convert, and compact.

The rest of the verbs are currently: help, info, burn, checksum, chpass, erasekeys, imageinfo, isencrypted, mountvol, plugins, udifrez, udifderez, resize, segment, makehybrid, and pmap.

Disk images are data containers that emulate disks. Like disks, they can be partitioned and formatted. Many common uses of disk images blur the distinction between the disk image container and its content, but this distinction is critical to understanding how disk images work. The terms "attach" and "detach" are used to distinguish the way disk images are connected to and disconnected from a system. "Mount" and "unmount" are the parallel filesystems options.

For example, when you double-click a disk image in the macOS Finder, two separate things happen. First, the image is "attached" to the system just like an external drive. Then, the kernel and Disk Arbitration probe the new device for recognized file structures. If any are discovered that should be mounted, the associated volumes will mount and appear on the desktop.

When using disk images, always consider whether an operation applies to the blocks of the disk image container or to the (often file-oriented) content of the image. For example, hdiutil verify verifies that the blocks stored in a read-only disk image have not changed since it was created. It does not check whether the filesystem stored within the image is self-consistent (as diskutil verifyVolume would). On the other hand, hdiutil create -srcfolder creates a disk image container, puts a filesystem in it, and then copies the specified files to the new filesystem.

The following option descriptions apply to all verbs:

be verbose: produce extra progress output and error diagnostics. This option can help the user decipher why a particular operation failed. At a minimum, the probing of any specified images will be detailed.
close stdout and stderr, leaving only hdiutil's exit status to indicate success or failure. No /dev entries or mount points will be printed. -debug and -verbose disable -quiet.
be very verbose. This option is good if a large amount of progress information is needed. As of Mac OS X 10.6, -debug enables -verbose.

Many hdiutil verbs understand the following options:

provide result output in plist format. Other programs invoking hdiutil are expected to use -plist rather than try to parse the human-readable output. The usual output is consistent but generally unstructured.
provide progress output that is easy for another program to parse. PERCENTAGE outputs can include the value -1 which means hdiutil is performing an operation that will take an indeterminate amount of time to complete. Any program trying to interpret hdiutil's progress should use -puppetstrings.
specify a key/value pair for the disk image recognition system. (-imagekey is normally a synonym)
specify a key/value pair for any image created. (-imagekey is only a synonym if there is no input image).
specify a particular type of encryption or, if not specified, the default encryption algorithm. As of OS X 10.7, the default algorithm is the AES cipher running in CBC mode on 512-byte blocks with a 128-bit key.
read a null-terminated passphrase from standard input. If the standard input is a tty, the passphrase will be read with readpassphrase(3). Otherwise, the password is read from stdin. -stdinpass replaces -passphrase which has been deprecated. -passphrase is insecure because its argument appears in the output of ps(1) where it is visible to other users and processes on the system. See EXAMPLES.
force the default behavior of prompting for a passphrase. Useful with -pubkey to create an image protected by both a passphrase and a public key.
specify a keychain containing the secret corresponding to the certificate specified with -certificate when the image was created.
specify a secondary access certificate for an encrypted image. cert_file must be DER-encoded certificate data, which can be created by Keychain Access or openssl(1).
specify a list of public keys, identified by their hexadecimal hashes, to be used to protect the encrypted image being created.
specify a certificate authority certificate. cert can be either a PEM file or a directory of certificates processed by c_rehash(1). See also --capath and --cacert in curl(1).
ignore SSL host validation failures. Useful for self-signed servers for which the appropriate certificates are unavailable or if access to a server is desired when the server name doesn't match what is in the certificate.
Use a shadow file in conjunction with the data in the primary image file. This option prevents modification of the original image and allows read-only images to be attached read/write. When blocks are being read from the image, blocks present in the shadow file override blocks in the base image. All data written to an attached device will be redirected to the shadow file. If not specified, shadowfile defaults to image.shadow. If the shadow file does not exist, it is created. hdiutil verbs taking images as input accept -shadow, -cacert, and -insecurehttp.

Verbs that create images automatically append the correct extension to any filenames if the extension is not already present. The creation engine also examines the filename extension of the provided filename and changes its behavior accordingly. For example, a sparse bundle image can be created without specifying -type SPARSEBUNDLE simply by appending the .sparsebundle extension to the provided filename.

Each verb is listed with its description and individual arguments. Arguments to the verbs can be passed in any order. A sector is 512 bytes.

display minimal usage information for each verb. hdiutil verb -help will provide basic usage information for that verb.
image [options]

attach a disk image as a device. attach will return information about an already-attached image as if it had attached it. If any associated volumes are unmounted (and mounting is not suppressed), they will be remounted. mount is a poorly-named synonym for attach. See BACKGROUND.

By default, the system applies additional mount options to filesystems backed by untrusted devices like disk images: options like nosuid and quarantine. PERMISSIONS VS. OWNERS explains the behavior of such filesystems and EXAMPLES shows how to override some of the default behavior.

The output of attach has been stable since Mac OS X 10.0 (though it was called hdid(8) then) and is intended to be program-readable. It consists of the /dev node, a tab, a content hint (if applicable), another tab, and a mount point (if any filesystems were mounted). Because content hints are derived from the partition data, GUID Partition Table types may leak through. Common GUIDs such as "48465300-0000-11AA-AA11-0030654" are mapped to their human-readable counterparts (here "Apple_HFS").

Common options: -encryption, -stdinpass, -recover, -imagekey, -shadow, -puppetstrings, and -plist.


force the resulting device to be read-only
attempt to override the DiskImages framework's decision to attach a particular image read-only. For example, -readwrite can be used to modify the HFS+ filesystem on a HFS+/ISO hybrid CD image.
attach with a helper process. This is (again) the default as of Mac OS X 10.5.
attempt to attach this image without a helper process; fail if unsupported. Only UDRW, UDRO, UDZO, ULFO, and UDSP images are supported in-kernel. Encryption and HTTP are supported by the kernel driver.
prevent this image from being detached. Only root can use this option. A reboot is necessary to cleanly detach an image attached with -notremovable.


indicate whether filesystems in the image should be mounted or not. The default is required (attach will fail if no filesystems mount).
identical to -mount suppressed.
mount volumes on subdirectories of path instead of under /Volumes. path must exist. Full mount point paths must be less than MNAMELEN characters (increased from 90 to 1024 in Mac OS X 10.6).
like -mountroot, but mount point directory names are randomized with mkdtemp(3).
assuming only one volume, mount it at path instead of in /Volumes. See fstab(5) for ways a system administrator can make particular volumes automatically mount in particular filesystem locations by editing the file /etc/fstab.
render any volumes invisible in applications such as the macOS Finder.
specify that owners on any filesystems be honored or not.

specify a key/value pair to be set on the device in the IOKit registry.

Attach a subsection of a disk image. subspec is any of <offset>, <first-last>, or <start,count> in 0-based sectors. Ranges are inclusive.

The following options have corresponding elements in the com.apple.frameworks.diskimages preferences domain and thus can be rendered in both the positive and the negative to override any existing preferences.

do [not] verify the image. By default, hdiutil attach attempts to intelligently verify images that contain checksums before attaching them. If hdiutil can write to an image it has verified, attach will store an attribute with the image so that it will not be verified again unless its timestamp changes. To maintain backwards compatibility, hdid(8) does not attempt to verify images before attaching them.
Preferences keys: skip-verify, skip-verify-remote, skip-verify-locked, skip-previously-verified

specify whether bad checksums should be ignored. The default is to abort when a bad checksum is detected.
Preferences key: ignore-bad-checksums
do [not] auto-open volumes (in the Finder) after attaching an image. By default, double-clicking a read-only disk image causes the resulting volume to be opened in the Finder. hdiutil defaults to -noautoopen.
do [not] auto-open read-only volumes.
Preferences key: auto-open-ro-root
do [not] auto-open read/write volumes.
Preferences key: auto-open-rw-root
do [not] force automatic file system checking before mounting a disk image. By default, only quarantined images (e.g. downloaded from the Internet) that have not previously passed fsck are checked.
Preferences key: auto-fsck
dev_name [-force]

detach a disk image and terminate any associated process. dev_name is a partial /dev node path (e.g. "disk1"). As of Mac OS X 10.4, dev_name can also be a mountpoint. If Disk Arbitration is running, detach will use it to unmount any filesystems and detach the image. If not, detach will attempt to unmount any filesystems and detach the image directly (using the ‘eject’ ioctl). If Disk Arbitration is not running, it may be necessary to unmount the filesystems with umount(8) before detaching the image. eject is a synonym for detach. In common operation, detach is very similar to diskutil(8)'s eject.


ignore open files on mounted volumes, etc.
image [options]

compute the checksum of a "read-only" or "compressed" image and verify it against the value stored in the image. Read/write images don't contain checksums and thus can't be verified. verify accepts the common options -encryption, -stdinpass, -srcimagekey, -puppetstrings, and -plist.
size_spec image

create a new image of the given size or from the provided data. If image already exists, -ov must be specified or create will fail. To make a cross-platform CD or DVD, use makehybrid instead. See also EXAMPLES below.

The size specified is the size of the image to be created. Filesystem and partition layout overhead (80 sectors for the default GPTSPUD layout on Intel machines) may not be available for the filesystem and user data in the image.
Size specifiers:


Specify the size of the image in the style of mkfile(8) with the addition of tera-, peta-, and exa-bytes sizes (note that 'b' specifies a number of sectors, not bytes). The larger sizes are useful for large sparse images.

Specify the size of the image file in 512-byte sectors.

Specify the size of the image file in megabytes (1024*1024 bytes).


copies file-by-file the contents of source into image, creating a fresh (theoretically defragmented) filesystem on the destination. The resulting image is thus recommended for use with asr(8) since it will have a minimal amount of unused space. Its size will be that of the source data plus some padding for filesystem overhead. The filesystem type of the image volume will match that of the source as closely as possible unless overridden with -fs. Other size specifiers, such as -size, will override the default size calculation based on the source content, allowing for more or less free space in the resulting filesystem. -srcfolder can be specified more than once, in which case the image volume will be populated at the top level with a copy of each specified filesystem object. -srcdir is a synonym.

specifies that the blocks of device should be used to create a new image. The image size will match the size of device. resize can be used to adjust the size of resizable filesystems and writable images. Both -srcdevice and -srcfolder can run into errors if there are bad blocks on a disk. One way around this problem is to write over the files in question in the hopes that the drive will remap the bad blocks. Data will be lost, but the image creation operation will subsequently succeed. Filesystem options (like -fs, -volname, -stretch, or -size) are invalid and ignored when using -srcdevice.

With APFS, imaging from a device that is an individual APFS volume is invalid. To create a valid APFS disk image, device needs to be an APFS container or contain an APFS container partition.

Common options: -encryption, -stdinpass, -certificate, -pubkey, -imagekey, -tgtimagekey, -puppetstrings, and -plist.

-imagekey di-sparse-puma-compatible=TRUE and -imagekey di-shadow-puma-compatible=TRUE will create, respectively, sparse and shadow images that can be attached on Mac OS X 10.1.

General options:


specifies a size to which the final data partition will be aligned. The default is 4K.


-type is particular to create and is used to specify the format of empty read/write images. It is independent of -format which is used to specify the final read-only image format when populating an image with pre-existing content.

UDIF is the default type. If specified, a UDRW of the specified size will be created. SPARSE creates a UDSP: a read/write single-file image which expands as is is filled with data. SPARSEBUNDLE creates a UDSB: a read/write image backed by a directory bundle.

By default, UDSP images grow one megabyte at a time. Introduced in 10.5, UDSB images use 8 MB band files which grow as they are written to. -imagekey sparse-band-size=size can be used to specify the number of 512-byte sectors that will be added each time the image grows. Valid values for SPARSEBUNDLE range from 2048 to 16777216 sectors (1 MB to 8 GB).

The maximum size of a SPARSE image is 128 petabytes; the maximum for SPARSEBUNDLE is just under 8 exabytes (2^63 - 512 bytes). The amount of data that can be stored in either type of sparse image is additionally bounded by the filesystem in the image and by any partition map. compact can reclaim unused bands in sparse images backing APFS or HFS+ filesystems. resize will only change the virtual size of a sparse image. See also USING PERSISTENT SPARSE IMAGES below.


where filesystem is one of several options such as HFS+, HFS+J (JHFS+), HFSX, JHFS+X, APFS, FAT32, ExFAT, or UDF. A full list of supported filesystems can be found in create -help. -fs causes a filesystem of the specified type to be written to the image. The default file system is APFS. If -partitionType and/or -layout are specified, but -fs is not specified, no file system will be created. -fs may change the partition scheme and type appropriately. -fs will not make any size adjustments: if the image is the wrong size for the specified filesystem, create will fail. -fs is invalid and ignored when using -srcdevice.

The newly-created filesystem will be named volname. The default depends the filesystem being used; The default volume name in both HFS+ and APFS is ‘untitled’. -volname is invalid and ignored when using -srcdevice.
the root of the newly-created volume will be owned by the given numeric user id. 99 maps to the magic ‘unknown’ user (see PERMISSIONS VS. OWNERS).
the root of the newly-created volume will be owned by the given numeric group id. 99 maps to ‘unknown’.
the root of the newly-created volume will have mode (in octal) mode. The default mode is determined by the filesystem's newfs unless -srcfolder is specified, in which case the default mode is derived from the specified filesystem object.

do [not] suppress automatically making backwards-compatible stretchable volumes when the volume size crosses the auto-stretch-size threshold (default: 256 MB). See also asr(8).

-stretch initializes HFS+ filesystem data such that it can later be stretched on older systems (which could only stretch within predefined limits) using hdiutil resize or by asr(8). max_stretch is specified like -size. -stretch is invalid and ignored when using -srcdevice.

additional arguments to pass to whichever newfs program is implied by -fs. As an example with HFS+, newfs_hfs(8) has a number of options that can control the amount of space used by the filesystem's data structures.

Specify the partition layout of the image. layout can be anything supported by MediaKit.framework. NONE creates an image with no partition map. When such an image is attached, a single /dev entry will be created (e.g. /dev/disk1).

SPUD’ causes a DDM and an Apple Partition Scheme partition map with a single entry to be written. ‘GPTSPUD’ creates a similar image but with a GUID Partition Scheme map instead. When attached, multiple /dev entries will be created, with either slice 1 (GPT) or slice 2 (APM) as the data partition. (e.g. /dev/disk1, /dev/disk1s1, /dev/disk1s2).

Unless overridden by -fs, the default layout is ‘GPTSPUD’ (PPC systems used ‘SPUD’ prior to Mac OS X 10.6). Other layouts include ‘MBRSPUD’ and ‘ISOCD’. create -help lists all supported layouts.


specify an alternate layout library. The default is MediaKit's MKDrivers.bundle.

Change the type of partition in a single-partition disk image.

overwrite an existing file. The default is not to overwrite existing files.
attach the image after creating it. If no filesystem is specified via -fs, the attach will fail per the default attach -mount required behavior.

Image from source options (for -srcfolder and -srcdevice):

Specify the final image format. The default when a source is specified is UDZO. format can be any of the format parameters used by convert.

Options specific to -srcdevice:


Note that segmented images are deprecated.
Specify that the image should be written in segments no bigger than size_spec (which follows -size conventions).

Options specific to -srcfolder:

do [not] cross device boundaries on the source filesystem.
do [not] skip temporary files when imaging a volume. Scrubbing is the default when the source is the root of a mounted volume. Scrubbed items include trashes, temporary directories, swap files, etc.
do not fail if the user invoking hdiutil can't ensure correct file ownership for the files in the image.
skip files that can't be read by the copying user and don't authenticate.
do [not] copy files to a temporary location and then rename them to their destination. Atomic copies are the default. Non-atomic copying may be slightly faster.
perform the copy as the given user. Requires root privilege. If user can't read or create files with the needed owners, -anyowners or -skipunreadable must be used to prevent the operation from failing.

By default, create -srcfolder attempts to maintain the permissions present in the source directory. It prompts for authentication if it detects an unreadable file, a file owned by someone other than the user creating the image, or a SGID file in a group that the copying user is not in.

format -o outfile
convert image to type format and write the result to outfile.

As with create, the correct filename extension will be added only if it isn't part of the provided name. Format is one of:

  • UDRW - UDIF read/write image
  • UDRO - UDIF read-only image
  • UDCO - UDIF ADC-compressed image
  • UDZO - UDIF zlib-compressed image
  • ULFO - UDIF lzfse-compressed image (OS X 10.11+ only)
  • ULMO - UDIF lzma-compressed image (macOS 10.15+ only)
  • UDBZ - UDIF bzip2-compressed image (deprecated)
  • UDTO - DVD/CD-R master for export
  • UDSP - SPARSE (grows with content)
  • UDSB - SPARSEBUNDLE (grows with content; bundle-backed)
  • UFBI - UDIF entire image with MD5 checksum

In addition to the compression offered by some formats, the UDIF read-only format skips unused space in HFS, APFS, ExFAT, and MS-DOS (FAT, FAT32) filesystems. For UDZO, -imagekey zlib-level=value allows the zlib compression level to be specified a la gzip(1). The default compression level is 1 (fastest).

Common options: -encryption, -stdinpass, -certificate, -srcimagekey, -tgtimagekey, -shadow and related, -puppetstrings, and -plist.

Other options:


The default is 4 (2K).
add partition map.
When converting an unpartitioned UDIF, the default is true.
Note that segmented images are deprecated.
Specify segmentation into size_spec-sized segments as outfile is being written. The default size_spec when -segmentSize is specified alone is 2*1024*1024 (1 GB worth of sectors) for UDTO images and 4*1024*1024 (2 GB segments) for all other image types. size_spec can also be specified ??b|??k|??m|??g|??t|??p|??e like create's -size flag.

When converting an image into a compressed format, specify the number of threads to use for the compression operation. The default is the number of processors active in the current system.

Burn image to optical media in an attached burning device. In all cases, a prompt for media will be printed once an appropriate drive has been found. Common options: -shadow and related, -srcimagekey, -encryption, -puppetstrings, and -stdinpass.

Other options:

specify a device to use for burning. See -list.
don't turn on laser (laser defaults to on).
explicitly allow burning to devices not qualified by Apple (kept for backwards compatibility as burn will burn to any device by default as of Mac OS X 10.4).

do [not] eject disc after burning. The default is to eject the disc.
do [not] verify disc contents after burn. The default is to verify.

do [not] add partition map if necessary. Some filesystem types will not be recognized when stored on optical media unless they are enclosed in a partition map. This option will add a partition map to any bare filesystem which needs a partition map in order to be recognized when burned to optical media. The default is to add the partition map if needed.

do [not] skip final free partition. If there is a partition map on the image specifying an Apple_Free partition as the last partition, that Apple_Free partition will not be burned. The burned partition map will still reference the empty space. The default is to skip burning a final free partition.

do [not] optimize filesystem for burning. Optimization can reduce the size of an HFS+ volume to the size of the data contained on the volume. This option will change what is burned such that the disc will have a different checksum than the image it came from. The default is to burn all blocks of the disk image (minus any trailing Apple_Free).

do [not] force the disc to be closed after burning. Further burns to the disc will be impossible. The default is not to close the disc.

Disable the default buffer underrun protection.

[Don't] Synthesize a hybrid filesystem for the disc. The default is to create a new (HFS+/ISO) filesystem when burning the source image's blocks would not result in a valid disc.

1, 2, 4, 6, ... ‘max
The desired "x-factor".e.g. 8 means the drive will be instructed burn at "8x speed".‘max’ will cause the burn to proceed at the maximum speed of the drive. ‘max’ is the default speed. Slower speeds can produce more reliable burns. The speed factor is relative to the media being burned (e.g. -speed 2 has a different data rate when used for a DVD burn vs. a CD burn). Note that some drives have a minimum burn speed in which case any slower speed specified will result in a burn at the drive's minimum speed.

calculate the size of disc required without burning anything. The size is returned in sectors.

prompt for optical media (DVD-RW/CD-RW) and then, if the hardware supports it, quickly erase the media. If an image is specified, it will be burned to the media after the media has been erased.
erase all sectors of the disc. This usually takes quite a bit longer than -erase.
list all burning devices, with OpenFirmware paths suitable for -device.
-o image source

Generate a potentially-hybrid filesystem in a read-only disk image using the DiscRecording framework's content creation system. This disk image will represent a data disc. drutil(1) can be used to make audio discs.

source can either be a directory or a disk image. The generated image can later be burned using burn, or converted to another read-only format with convert. By default, the filesystem will be readable on most modern computing platforms. The generated filesystem is not intended for conversion to read/write, but can safely have its files copied to a read/write filesystem using ditto(8).

hdiutil supports generating El Torito-style bootable ISO9660 filesystems, which are commonly used for booting x86-based hardware. The specification includes several emulation modes. By default, an El Torito boot image emulates either a 1.2MB, 1.44MB, or 2.88MB floppy drive, depending on the size of the image. Also available are "No Emulation" and "Hard Disk Emulation" modes, which allow the boot image to either be loaded directly into memory, or be virtualized as a partitioned hard disk, respectively. The El Torito options should not be used for data CDs.

Filesystem options:

Generate an HFS+ filesystem. This filesystem can be present on an image simultaneously with an ISO9660 or Joliet or UDF filesystem. On operating systems that understand HFS+ as well as ISO9660 and UDF, like Mac OS 9 or OS X, HFS+ is usually the preferred filesystem for hybrid images.
Generate an ISO9660 Level 2 filesystem with Rock Ridge extensions. This filesystem can be present on an image simultaneously with an HFS+ or Joliet or UDF filesystem. ISO9660 is the standard cross-platform interchange format for CDs and some DVDs, and is understood by virtually all operating systems. If an ISO9660 or Joliet filesystem is present on a disk image or CD, but not HFS+, OS X will use the ISO9660 (or Joliet) filesystem.
Generate Joliet extensions to ISO9660. This view of the filesystem can be present on an image simultaneously with HFS+, and requires the presence of an ISO9660 filesystem. Joliet supports Unicode filenames, but is only supported on some operating systems. If both an ISO9660 and Joliet filesystem are present on a disk image or CD, but not HFS+, OS X will prefer the Joliet filesystem.
Generate a UDF filesystem. This filesystem can be present on an image simultaneously with HFS+, ISO9660, and Joliet. UDF is the standard interchange format for DVDs, although operating system support varies based on OS version and UDF version.

By default, if no filesystem is specified, the image will be created with all four filesystems as a hybrid image. When multiple filesystems are selected, the data area of the image is shared between all filesystems, and only directory information and volume meta-data are unique to each filesystem. This means that creating a cross-platform ISO9660/HFS+ hybrid has a minimal overhead when compared to a single filesystem image.

Other options (most take a single argument):

Path to directory which should be "blessed" for OS X booting on the generated filesystem. This assumes the directory has been otherwise prepared, for example with bless -bootinfo to create a valid file. (HFS+ only).
Path to a directory that will be opened by the Finder automatically. See also the -openfolder option in bless(8) (HFS+ only).
Allocate an empty HFS+ Startup File of the specified size, in bytes (HFS+ only).

Path to a file in the source directory (and thus the root of the generated filesystem) for use as the ISO9660/Joliet Abstract file (ISO9660/Joliet).
Path to a file in the source directory (and thus the root of the generated filesystem) for use as the ISO9660/Joliet Bibliography file (ISO9660/Joliet).
Path to a file in the source directory (and thus the root of the generated filesystem) for use as the ISO9660/Joliet Copyright file (ISO9660/Joliet).
Application string (ISO9660/Joliet).
Preparer string (ISO9660/Joliet).
Publisher string (ISO9660/Joliet).
System Identification string (ISO9660/Joliet).
Expose Macintosh-specific files (such as .DS_Store) in non-HFS+ filesystems (ISO9660/Joliet).
Path to an El Torito boot image within the source directory. By default, floppy drive emulation is used, so the image must be one of 1200KB, 1440KB, or 2880KB. If the image has a different size, either -no-emul-boot or -hard-disk-boot must be used to enable "No Emulation" or "Hard Disk Emulation" mode, respectively (ISO9660/Joliet).
Use El Torito Hard Disk Emulation mode. The image must represent a virtual device with an MBR partition map and a single partition
Use El Torito No Emulation mode. The system firmware will load the number of sectors specified by -boot-load-size and execute it, without emulating any devices (ISO9660/Joliet).
Mark the El Torito image as non-bootable. The system firmware may still create a virtual device backed by this data. This option is not recommended (ISO9660/Joliet).
For a No Emulation boot image, load the data at the specified segment address. This options is not recommended, so that the system firmware can use its default address (ISO9660/Joliet)
For a No Emulation boot image, load the specified number of 512-byte emulated sectors into memory and execute it. By default, 4 sectors (2KB) will be loaded (ISO9660/Joliet).
Use the specified numeric platform ID in the El Torito Boot Catalog Validation Entry or Section Header. Defaults to 0 to identify x86 hardware (ISO/Joliet).
For complex layouts involving multiple boot images, a plist-formatted string can be provided, using either OpenStep-style syntax or XML syntax, representing an array of dictionaries. Any of the El Torito options can be set in the sub-dictionaries and will apply to that boot image only. If -eltorito-specification is provided in addition to the normal El Torito command-line options, the specification will be used to populate secondary non-default boot entries.
Version of UDF filesystem to generate. This can be either "1.02" or "1.50". If not specified, it defaults to "1.50" (UDF).

Default volume name for all filesystems, unless overridden. If not specified, defaults to the last path component of source.
Volume name for just the HFS+ filesystem if it should be different (HFS+ only).
Volume name for just the ISO9660 filesystem if it should be different (ISO9660 only).
Volume name for just the Joliet filesystem if it should be different (Joliet only).
Volume name for just the UDF filesystem if it should be different (UDF only).

A glob expression of files and directories that should not be exposed in the generated filesystems. The string may need to be quoted to avoid shell expansion, and will be passed to glob(3) for evaluation. Although this option cannot be used multiple times, an arbitrarily complex glob expression can be used.
A glob expression of files and directories that should not be exposed via the HFS+ filesystem, although the data may still be present for use by other filesystems (HFS+ only).
A glob expression of files and directories that should not be exposed via the ISO filesystem, although the data may still be present for use by other filesystems (ISO9660 only). Per above, the Joliet hierarchy will supersede the ISO hierarchy when the hybrid is mounted as an ISO 9660 filesystem on OS X. Therefore, if Joliet is being generated (the default) -hide-joliet will also be needed to hide the file from mount_cd9660(8).
A glob expression of files and directories that should not be exposed via the Joliet filesystem, although the data may still be present for use by other filesystems (Joliet only). Because OS X's ISO 9660 filesystem uses the Joliet catalog if it is available, -hide-joliet effectively supersedes -hide-iso when the resulting filesystem is mounted as ISO on OS X.
A glob expression of files and directories that should not be exposed via the UDF filesystem, although the data may still be present for use by other filesystems (UDF only).
A glob expression of objects that should only be exposed in UDF.
A glob expression of objects that should only be exposed in ISO.
A glob expression of objects that should only be exposed in Joliet.

Preflight the data and calculate an upper bound on the size of the image. The actual size of the generated image is guaranteed to be less than or equal to this estimate.
Instead of using command-line parameters, use a standard plist from standard input to specific the parameters of the hybrid image generation. Each command-line option should be a key in the dictionary, without the leading "-", and the value should be a string for path and string arguments, a number for number arguments, and a boolean for toggle options. The source argument should use a key of "source" and the image should use a key of "output".

If a disk image was specified for source, the image will be attached and paths will be evaluated relative to the mountpoint of the image. No absolute paths can be used in this case. If source is a directory, all argument paths should point to files or directories either via an absolute path, or via a relative path to the current working directory.

The volume name options, just like files in the filesystems, may need to be mapped onto the legal character set for a given filesystem or otherwise changed to obey naming restrictions. Use drutil(1) as drutil myname to see how a given string would be remapped.

The -abstract-file, -bibliography-file, -and -copyright-file must exist directly in the source directory, not a sub-directory, and must have an 8.3 name for compatibility with ISO9660 Level 1.

image [options]

scans the bands of a sparse (SPARSE or SPARSEBUNDLE) disk image containing an APFS or HFS+ filesystem, removing those parts of the image which are no longer being used by the filesystem. Depending on the location of files in the hosted filesystem, compact may or may not shrink the image. For SPARSEBUNDLE images, completely unused band files are simply removed.


allow compacting on battery power. SPARSE images could be damaged if power is lost during a compact operation. The default is not allowed.

allow machine to idle sleep while compacting, which cancels the compact operation. The default is not allowed, which prevents idle sleep until compact completes. User-initiated sleep, such as a lid close, will always cancel compact.

Common options: -encryption, -stdinpass, -srcimagekey, -shadow and related, -puppetstrings, and -plist.

display information about DiskImages.framework, the disk image driver, and any images that are currently attached. hdiutil info accepts -plist.
Calculate the specified checksum on the image data, regardless of image type.

Common options: -shadow and related, -encryption, -stdinpass, -srcimagekey, -puppetstrings, and -plist.

type is one of:

  • UDIF-CRC32 - CRC-32 image checksum
    UDIF-MD5 - MD5 image checksum
    CRC32 - CRC-32
    MD5 - MD5
    SHA - SHA
    SHA1 - SHA-1
    SHA256 - SHA-256
    SHA384 - SHA-384
    SHA512 - SHA-512

change the passphrase for an encrypted image. The default is to change the password interactively.

Common options: -recover and -srcimagekey. The options -oldstdinpass and -newstdinpass allow, in the order specified, the null-terminated old and new passwords to be read from the standard input in the same manner as with -stdinpass.


delete keys used to access an encrypted image, quickly rendering the image inaccessible. This does not prevent other copies of the keys from later being broken and used to decrypt the data, such as from a copy or backup of the image. In addition, modern storage systems such as solid state disks do not securely overwrite data. As a result, erasekeys cannot protect against all attacks, but it may prevent trivial access.

Common options: -plist and -quiet.


Print information about filesystems on a given disk image. Per DEVICE SPECIAL FILES, image can be a /dev entry corresponding to a disk. More detailed information is presented for HFS+ filesystems.

Common options: -encryption, -stdinpass, -srcimagekey, and -shadow and related.


mount the filesystem in dev_name using Disk Arbitration (similar to diskutil(8)'s mount). XML output is available from -plist. Note that mountvol (rather than mount, though it often works in Mac OS X 10.5 and later) is the correct way to remount a volume after it has been unmounted by unmount.

Prior to Mac OS X 10.5, mount/attach would treat a /dev entry as a disk image to be attached (creating another /dev entry). That behavior was undesirable.

volume [-force]

unmount a mounted volume without detaching any associated image. Volume is a /dev entry or mountpoint. NOTE: unmount does NOT detach any disk image associated with the volume. Images are attached and detached; volumes are mounted and unmounted. hdiutil mountvol (or diskutil mount) will remount a volume that has been unmounted by hdiutil unmount.


unmount filesystem regardless of open files on that filesystem. Similar to umount -f.
image [options]

Print out information about a disk image.

Options are any of:

only print out the image format
only print out the image checksum

Common options: -encryption, -stdinpass, -srcimagekey, -shadow and related, and -plist.


print a line indicating whether image is encrypted. If it is, additional details are printed.

Common options: -plist.

print information about DiskImages framework plugins. The user, system, local, and network domains are searched for plugins (i.e. ~/Library/Plug-ins/DiskImages, /System/Library/Plug-ins/DiskImages, /Library/Plug-ins/DiskImages, /Network/Library/Plug-ins/DiskImages).

Common options: -plist.

size_spec image

Resize a disk image or the containers within it. For an image containing a trailing Apple_HFS partition, the default is to resize the image container, the partition, and the filesystem within it by aligning the end of the hosted structures with the end of the image. hdiutil resize cannot resize filesystems other than HFS+ and its variants.

resize can shrink an image so that its HFS+ partition can be converted to CD-R/DVD-R format and still be burned. hdiutil resize will not reclaim gaps because it does not move data. diskutil(8)'s resize can move filesystem data which can help hdiutil resize create a minimally-sized image. -fsargs can also be used to minimize filesystem gaps inside an image.

resize is limited by the disk image container format (e.g. UDSP vs. UDSB), any partition scheme, the hosted filesystem, and the filesystem hosting the image. In the case of HFS+ inside of GPT inside of a UDRW on HFS+ with adequate free space, the limit is approximately 2^63 bytes. Older images created with an APM partition scheme are limited by it to 2TB. Before Mac OS X 10.4, resize was limited by how the filesystem was created (see hdiutil create -stretch).

hdiutil burn does not burn Apple_Free partitions at the end of the devices, so an image with a resized filesystem can be burned to create a CD-R/DVD-R master that contains only the actual data in the hosted filesystem (assuming minimal data fragmentation).

Common options: -encryption, -stdinpass, -srcimagekey, -shadow and related, and -plist.

Size specifiers:

sector_count | min

Specify the number of 512-byte sectors to which the partition should be resized. If this falls outside the mininum valid value or space remaining on the underlying file system, an error will be returned and the partition will not be resized. min automatically determines the smallest possible size.

Other options:

only resize the image file, not the partition(s) and filesystems inside of it.
only resize a partition / filesystem in the image, not the image. -partitiononly will fail if the new size won't fit inside the image. On APM, shrinking a partition results in an explicit Apple_Free entry taking up the remaining space in the image.

specifies which partition to resize (UDIF only -- see HISTORY below). partitionID is 1-based.
allow resize to entirely eliminate the trailing free partition in an APM map. Restoring such images to very old hardware may interfere with booting.
Displays the minimum, current, and maximum sizes (in 512-byte sectors) for the image. In addition to any hosted filesystem constraints, UDRW images are constrained by available disk space in the filesystem hosting the image. -limits does not modify the image.

segment -o firstSegname -segmentCount #segs image [opts]
segment -o firstSegname -segmentSize size image [opts]
segment an UDIF disk image. Segmented images work around limitations in file size which are sometimes imposed by filesystems, network protocols, or media. Note: whether or not the segments are encrypted is determined by the options passed to segment and not by the state of the source image.

Common options: -encryption, -stdinpass, -srcimagekey, -tgtimagekey, -puppetstrings, and -plist.



Specify the number of segments. Only one of -segmentCount or -segmentSize will be honored.

Specify the segment size in sectors or in the style of mkfile(8) (here unqualified numbers are still sectors). If the original image size is not an exact multiple of the segment size, the last segment will be shorter than the others. Only one of -segmentCount or -segmentSize will be honored. Segmenting read/write (UDRW) images is not supported (as of Mac OS X 10.3).


Specify the first segment size in sectors in the same form as for -segmentSize. Used for multi-CD restores.
Make restricted segments for use in multi-CD restores.
overwrite any existing files.
display the partition map of an image or device. By default, this report includes starting offsets and significant amounts of free space. image is either a disk image or /dev/disk entry (see DEVICE SPECIAL FILES).

Common options: -encryption, -stdinpass, -srcimagekey, and -shadow and related.

generate MediaKit's minimal report: basic partition types, names, and sizes in human-readable units.
generate MediaKit's standard report, which adds partition offsets and uses 512-byte sectors. This is the default.
generate MediaKit's comprehensive report, with end offsets, significant free space, etc.
generate MediaKit's diagnostic report, which shows all partition schemes encountered. Useful for Boot Camp troubleshooting.

indicate last block of each partition.
suppress all free space reporting. Not valid with -shims.
report free space < 32 sectors.
show per-instance UUIDs for each partition. APM does not store instance UUIDs so these will be randomly generated for APM maps.
image (deprecated)
embed resources in a disk image.

You must specify one of the following options:


Copy resources from the XML in file.

Delete all pre-existing resources in image.
image (deprecated)
extract resources from image.


emit XML output (default)
emit Rez format output

Common options: -encryption, -stdinpass, and -srcimagekey.


hdiutil verify myimage.img
verifies an image against its internal checksum.


hdiutil convert master.dmg -format UDTO -o master
converts master.dmg to a CD-R export image named master.cdr
hdiutil convert /dev/disk1 -format UDRW -o devimage
converts the disk /dev/disk1 to a read/write device image file. authopen(1) will be used if read access to /dev/rdisk1 is not available. Note use of the block-special device.
hdiutil convert image.dmg -o image.sparsebundle
converts image.dmg to format UDSB by automatically detecting the file extension .sparsebundle.
hdiutil convert files.sparsebundle -format UDZO \
    -imagekey zlib-level=5 -o files
converts files.sparsebundle to files.dmg: a read-only, compressed disk image using zlib level 5 instead of the default.
hdiutil convert stuff.dmg -format UDZO -encryption -o stuff-enc
create a copy of stuff.dmg named stuff-enc.dmg which is encrypted with AES-128.


hdiutil burn myImage.dmg
burns the image to optical media and verifies the burn.
hdiutil burn myRawImage.cdr -noverifyburn -noeject
burns the image without verifying the burn or ejecting the disc. Volumes will be mounted after burning.

Creating a 50 MB read/write encrypted image:

hdiutil create -encryption -size 50m e.dmg -fs HFS+J

Creating a 50 MB read/write encrypted image protected with public key only:

hdiutil create -encryption -size 50m e.dmg -fs HFS+J \
    -pubkey F534A3B0C2AEE3B988308CC89AA04ABE7FDB5F30

Creating a 50 MB read/write encrypted image protected with public key and password:

hdiutil create -encryption -size 50m e.dmg -fs HFS+J -agentpass \
    -pubkey F534A3B0C2AEE3B988308CC89AA04ABE7FDB5F30

Note that these two -pubkey usage examples assume a certificate corresponding to this public key is currently in the user's keychain or smart card. For additional information on smart card authorization setup see sc_auth(8).

Creating an encrypted single-partition image without user interaction:

printf pp|hdiutil create -encryption -stdinpass -size 9m sp.dmg

Creating a "1 GB" SPARSE image (a 1 GB filesystem in a growable file):

hdiutil create -type SPARSE -size 1g -fs HFS+J growableTo1g

Creating a "1 GB" SPARSEBUNDLE (a 1 GB filesystem in a growable bundle):

hdiutil create -type SPARSEBUNDLE -size 1g -fs HFS+J growableTo1g

Creating a new mounted volume backed by an image:

hdiutil create -volname Dick -size 1.3m -fs HFS+ -attach Moby.dmg

Attaching an image on a web server to the system, with any writes going to a local file:

hdiutil attach https://my.webserver.com/master.dmg \
    -shadow /tmp/mastershadowfile

Using a shadow file to attach a read-only image read/write to modify it, then convert it back to a read-only image. This method eliminates the time/space required to convert a image to read/write before modifying it.

hdiutil attach -owners on Moby.dmg -shadow
/dev/disk2   Apple_partition_scheme
/dev/disk2s1 Apple_partition_map
/dev/disk2s2 Apple_HFS               /Volumes/Dick

ditto /Applications/Preview.app /Volumes/Dick
hdiutil detach /dev/disk2
hdiutil convert -format UDZO Moby.dmg -shadow

Creating a RAM-backed device and filesystem:

NUMSECTORS=128000       # a sector is 512 bytes
mydev=`hdiutil attach -nomount ram://$NUMSECTORS`
newfs_hfs $mydev
mkdir /tmp/mymount
mount -t hfs $mydev /tmp/mymount

Using makehybrid to create cross-platform data with files overlapping between filesystem views, containing these files:

albumlist.txt song2.wma     song4.m4a     song6.mp3     song8.mp3
song1.wma     song3.m4a     song5.mp3     song7.mp3

hdiutil makehybrid -o MusicBackup.iso Music -hfs -iso -joliet \
    -hide-hfs 'Music/*.wma' -hide-joliet 'Music/{*.m4a,*.mp3}' \
    -hide-iso 'Music/*.{wma,m4a}'

will create an image with three filesystems pointing to the same blocks. The HFS+ filesystem, typically only visible on Macintosh systems, will not include the .wma files, but will show the .m4a and .mp3 files. The Joliet filesystem will not show the .m4a and .mp3 files, but will show the .wma files. The ISO9660 filesystem, typically the default filesystem for optical media on many platforms, will only show the .mp3 files. All three filesystems will include the "albumlist.txt" files.

Image from directory:

hdiutil create -srcfolder mydir mydir.dmg
This method uses the least disk space during image creation, but the resulting image may be slightly less space efficient.

Image from directory using an intermediate sparse bundle:

hdiutil create -srcfolder mydir -format UDSB mydir.sparsebundle
hdiutil convert mydir.sparsebundle -format UDZO -o mydir.dmg
This method produces space-optimal images, but requires much more disk space during image creation. The intermediate sparse bundle image can be removed after the process is complete.

Manually changing ownership settings of a read-only disk image:

hdiutil attach myimage.dmg
/dev/disk1s2            Apple_HFS         /Volumes/myVolume
diskutil unmount disk1s2
mkdir /Volumes/myVolume
sudo mount -r -t hfs -o owners /dev/disk1s2 /Volumes/myVolume
# -o owners is the default for manual mounts

Forcing a known image to attach:

hdiutil attach -imagekey diskimage-class=CRawDiskImage myBlob.bar

The following environment variables affect hdiutil and DiskImages:

enable -verbose behavior for attach.
enable -debug behavior for attach.
similar to -nokernel but works even with, for example, create -attach.
Make attach behave as if -kernel was passed. In Mac OS X 10.4.x, in-kernel was the default behavior for UDRW and SPARSE images. In Mac OS X 10.5 and later, these and other kernel-compatible images again default to attaching with a user process. If an image is not "kernel-compatible" and in-kernel mounting is specified, the attach will fail. WARNING: ram:// images use wired memory when attached in-kernel.
disable SSL peer verification the same way -insecurehttp does. Useful for clients of DiskImages such as asr(8) which don't support a similar command line option.

DiskImages uses many frameworks and can encounter many error codes. In general, it tries to turn these error numbers into localized strings for the user. For background, intro(2) is a good explanation of our primary error domain: the BSD errno values. For debugging, -verbose should generally provide enough information to figure out what has gone wrong. The following is a list of interesting errors that hdiutil may encounter:

No mountable filesystems
The "No mountable filesystems" error from hdiutil attach means that no filesystems could be recognized or mounted after the disk image was attached. The default behavior in this case is to detach the disk image. See attach for options modifying this behavior. This error can occur if the disk image or contained filesystem is corrupt. It can also occur if an image was created from a block device containing a mounted, journaled filesystem (in which case the image contains a dirty journal that can't be replayed without making the image read/write, such as with attach -shadow).
Device not configured. This error is returned explicitly by DiskImages when its kernel driver or framework helper cannot be contacted. It also often shows up when a device has been removed while I/O is still active. One common case of the helper not being found is when Foundation's Distributed Objects RPC mechanism cannot be configured. D.O. doesn't work under dead Mach bootstrap contexts such as can exist in a reattached screen(1) session. Root users can take advantage of StartupItemContext(8) (in /usr/libexec) to access the startup item Mach bootstrap context.
Invalid argument. This error is used in many contexts and is often a clue that hdiutil's arguments are subtly non-sensical (e.g. an invalid layout name passed to create -layout).
File too large. DiskImages reports this error when attempting to access a disk image over HTTP that is too large for the server to support access via Range requests. Segmented images can sometimes be used to work around this limitation of older HTTP servers. This error can also occur if an overflow occurs with an old-style UDIF resource fork.
Authentication error. Used by DiskImages when libcurl(3) is unable to verify its SSL peer or when Security.framework indicates that the user failed to enter the correct password. See -insecurehttp and -cacert for more information about verification of SSL peers.
Resource busy. Used if necessary exclusive access cannot be obtained. This error often appears when a volume can't be unmounted. lsof(8) may help determine which open files could be causing the error.
Resource temporarily unavailable. As of Mac OS X 10.5, DiskImages uses read/write locks on its image files to prevent images from being attached on more than one machine at a time (e.g. over the network). is returned if the appropriate read or write lock can't be obtained.
EACCES and EPERM are subtly different. The latter "operation not permitted" tends to refer to an operation that cannot be performed, often due to an incorrect effective user ID. On the other hand, "permission denied" tends to mean that a particular file access mode prevented the operation.

As of Mac OS X 10.5, a more reliable, efficient, and scalable sparse format, UDSB (SPARSEBUNDLE), is recommended for persistent sparse images as long as a backing bundle (directory) is acceptable. Mac OS X 10.5 also introduced F_FULLFSYNC over AFP (on client and server), allowing proper journal flushes for HFS+J-bearing images. Critical data should never be stored in sparse disk images on file servers that don't support F_FULLFSYNC.

SPARSE (UDSP) images and shadow files were designed for intermediate use when creating other images (e.g. UDZO) when final image sizes are unknown. Generally speaking, SPARSE images are not recommended for persistent storage, though they are relatively safe on Mac OS X 10.3.2 and later. On versions earlier than 10.3.2, SPARSE should be avoided in favor of UDRW images and resize. On Mac OS X 10.5 and later, the more robust and faster SPARSEBUNDLE type is preferred.

Note that both sparse formats, UDSP and UDSB, are growable only up to a limit: the size parameter specified when they were created. They will take up less space on the hosting filesystem if they contain less data than their created size, and grow up to that size as data is added.

If more space is needed than is referenced by the hosted filesystem, hdiutil resize or diskutil(8) resize can help to grow or shrink the filesystem in an image. compact reclaims unused space in sparse images. Though they request that hosted HFS+ filesystems use a special "front first" allocation policy, beware that sparse images can enhance the effects of any fragmentation in the hosted filesystem.

To prevent errors when a filesystem inside of a sparse image has more free space than the volume holding the sparse image, HFS+ volumes inside sparse images will report an amount of free space slightly less than the amount of free space on the volume on which image resides. The image filesystem currently only behaves this way as a result of a direct attach action and will not behave this way if, for example, the filesystem is unmounted and remounted. Moving the image file to a different volume with sufficient free space will allow the image's filesystem to grow to its full size.

Since any /dev entry can be treated as a raw disk image, it is worth noting which devices can be accessed when and how. /dev/rdisk nodes are character-special devices, but are "raw" in the BSD sense and force block-aligned I/O. They are closer to the physical disk than the buffer cache. /dev/disk nodes, on the other hand, are buffered block-special devices and are used primarily by the kernel's filesystem code.

It is not possible to read from a /dev/disk node while a filesystem is mounted from it, but anyone with read access to the appropriate /dev/rdisk node can use hdiutil verbs such as fsid or pmap with it. Beware that information read from a raw device while a filesystem is mounted may not be consistent because the consistent data is stored in memory or in the filesystem's journal.

The DiskImages framework will attempt to use authopen(1) to open any device which it can't open (due to EACCES) for reading with open(2). Depending on session characteristics, this behavior can cause apparent hangs while trying to access /dev entries while logged in remotely (an authorization panel is waiting on console).

Generally, the /dev/disk node is preferred for imaging devices (e.g. convert or create -srcdevice operations), while /dev/rdisk is usable for the quick pmap or fsid. In particular, converting the blocks of a mounted journaled filesystem to a read-only image will prevent the volume in the image from mounting (the journal will be permanently dirty).

Some filesystems support permissions including users and groups. While important for security on a managed filesystem, users and groups ("owners") pose challenges for unmanaged, shared filesystems such as those typically present in disk images. macOS's solution to this problem is to make owners optional, both while creating files and enforcing permissions.

By default, unknown HFS+ filesystems on "external" devices (including disk images) mount with their owners ignored (mount -o noowners). Normally when owners are ignored, the system uses a special _unknown user and group to dynamically substitute the current user's identity for any owners recorded in the filesystem. These _unknown owners are even written to the volume when creating new files. The new files will continue to have "floating" ownership when mounted with owners honored. The net result is that shared volumes behave as expected regardless of how they are accessed.

The behavior is different when disk images are attached. With disk images, the owner of all files in a filesystem mount for which owners are ignored is the user attaching the disk image. The attaching owner is also used when creating new files.

On modern macOS systems, root (UID 0) can "see through" the "owners ignored" user mappings. Thus

sudo ls -l /Volumes/imageVol
will show whatever is really stored in the filesystem (possibly _unknown) regardless of whether owners are currently being honored on that volume. In contrast, non-root users will see themselves any time _unknown is in effect, whether the default for the mount when owners are ignored or because _unknown is stored on disk. For disk images, non-root users will see owners matching the user that attached the disk image.

Unlike owners, permissions are never optional. A non-writable file will not be writable just because owners are ignored. However, a file that is writable by its owner will be writable by everyone if _unknown is the effective owner of the file for that file. Because anyone accessing an owners-ignored file is treated as the owner, everyone is effectively the owner. Because the default behavior for disk image filesystems is for all files to be owned by the user attaching the disk image, other users will be treated per the 'group' (if applicable) and 'other' permission modes.

diskutil(8)'s or the Finder's Get Info window can be used to configure a system to respect the on-disk owners for a filesystem in the future.

The DiskImages framework supports a variety of image formats, including read/write, read-only, and read-only compressed (which are decompressed in small chunks as I/O requests are made). It is capable of mounting most images directly from http:// URLs. Because DiskImages can make many requests over a single connection, responsiveness can be improved by modifying HTTP server settings such as apache's MaxKeepAliveRequests and KeepAliveTimeout.

Mac OS X 10.0 supported the disk images of Disk Copy 6 on Mac OS 9. OS X 10.1 added sparse, encrypted, and zlib-compressed images. These images will not be recognized on Mac OS X 10.0 (or will attach read/write, possibly allowing for their destruction). As the sparse, shadow, and encrypted formats have evolved, switches have been added to facilitate the creation of images that are compatible with older OS versions (at the expense of the performance and reliability improvements offered by the format enhancements). In particular, sparse images should not be expected to attach on versions of OS X older than that which created them.

With Mac OS X 10.2, the most common image formats went "in-kernel" (i.e. the DiskImages kernel extension served them without a helper process), image meta-data began being stored both as XML and in the embedded resource fork, and the default Disk Copy.app "compressed" format became UDZO (breaking compatibility with 10.0). Mac OS X 10.4 introduced bzip2 compression in the UDBZ format which provides smaller images (especially when combined with makehybrid) at the expense of backwards compatibility, some performance, and kernel compatibility.

In Mac OS X 10.4.7, the resource forks previously embedded in UDIF images were abandoned entirely to avoid metadata length limitations imposed by resource fork structures. As a result, UDIF images created on 10.4.7 and later will not, by default, be recognized by either Mac OS X 10.1 or Mac OS X 10.0. flatten can be used to customize the type of metadata stored in the image.

Mac OS X 10.5 introduced sparse bundle images which compact quickly but are not recognized by previous OS versions. Mac OS X 10.6 removed support for attaching SPARSEBUNDLE images from network file servers that don't support F_FULLFSYNC, although this requirement was relaxed in macOS 10.12. OS X 10.7 removed double-click support for images using legacy metadata; these can be rehabilitated using flatten and , or simply convert.

OS X 10.11 introduced lzfse compression in the ULFO format, providing faster, more efficient compression and smaller images compared to UDZO. These images are also supported in-kernel, but will not work on any earlier versions of the OS.

macOS 10.12 included a pre-release version of the Apple File System called APFS which was meant for evaluation and development purposes only. Files stored in APFS-based images may not be accessible in future releases of macOS, and won't work in past ones. All data to be stored in APFS volumes should be backed up prior to using APFS and regularly backed up while using APFS.

macOS 10.15:

macOS 11.0:

macOS 12.0:

macOS 13.0:

Disk images were first invented to electronically store and transmit representations of floppy disks for manufacturing replication. These images of floppies are typically referred to as 'Disk Copy 4.2' images, in reference to the application that created and restored them to floppy disks. Disk Copy 4.2 images were block-for-block representations of a floppy disk, with no notion of compression. DART is a variant of the Disk Copy 4.2 format that supported compression.

NDIF (New Disk Image Format) images were developed to replace the Disk Copy 4.2 and DART image formats and to support images larger than a floppy disk. With NDIF and Disk Copy version 6, images could be "attached" as mass storage devices under Mac OS 9. Apple Data Compression (ADC) -- which carefully optimizes for fast decompression -- was used to compress images that were typically created once and restored many times during manufacturing.

UDIF (Universal Disk Image Format) device images picked up where NDIF left off, allowing images to represent entire block devices and all the data therein: DDM, partition map, disk-based drivers, etc. For example, it can represent bootable CDs which can then be replicated from an image. To ensure single-fork files (NDIF was dual-fork), it began embedding its resource fork in the data fork. UDIF is the native image format for OS X.

Raw disk images from other operating systems (e.g. .iso files) will be recognized as disk images and can be attached and mounted if macOS recognizes the filesystems. They can also be burned with hdiutil burn.

macOS 10.15 added ULMO format images compressed with lzma. These images are smaller than comparable ULFO images compressed with lzfse. These images are not supported in-kernel, and are not usable on earlier OSes.

macOS 10.12 introduced the pre-release APFS for evaluation (see COMPATIBILITY above). 10.12 also added an option to disable atomic copying during image from folder operations, -noatomic, which may result in slightly faster image creation. pmap added a new switch, -diagnostic, which captures troubleshooting information for Boot Camp configurations.

OS X 10.11 added ULFO format images compressed with lzfse. These images are more efficient and smaller than comparable UDZO images compressed with zlib, and retain kernel compatibility, but are not usable on earlier OSes.

OS X 10.10 quadrupled the default UDIF chunk size without affecting backward compatibility. UDIF images created or converted on 10.10 will benefit from smaller metadata and more efficient compression for UDZO and especially UDBZ formats.

OS X 10.7 added the ability to quickly render encrypted images inaccessible using the new erasekeys verb, which saves time versus securely overwriting the entire image.

In Mac OS X 10.6, pmap was rewritten to use MediaKit's latest reporting routines so that it can properly support GPT partition maps. Also -debug now implies -verbose for all verbs.

Mac OS X 10.5 changed the behavior of attach when run on an existing image or /dev node: if the image was attached but no volume was mounted, the volume would be mounted. Prior systems would return the /dev without mounting the volume. This change effectively removes the ability to create a second /dev node from an existing one.

diskutil(8), asr(8), ioreg(8), hfs.util(8), apfs.util(8), msdos.util(8), exfat.util(8), authopen(1), ditto(8), drutil(1), diskarbitrationd(8).

09 Dec 2020 macOS