Burning ISOs to USB sticks on Mac / OS X

For some reason i cannot get the easy-to-use tools out there for burning ISOs to work… Command line to the rescue:

First, make sure Homebrew is installed. It is strictly not needed for the burning-to-thumb-drive process, but will enable the progress indicators, which are quite nice to have for long running tasks. Now install Pipe Viewer from Homebrew:


$ brew install pv

Now we need to figure out the device name of our USB drive. In a terminal window (you are using iTerm2 – right? Infinitely better than OS X built in Terminal app):


$ diskutil list

#: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
 0: GUID_partition_scheme *251.0 GB disk0
 1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1
 2: Apple_HFS Macintosh HD 250.1 GB disk0s2
 3: Apple_Boot Recovery HD 650.0 MB disk0s3
/dev/disk1
 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
 0: GUID_partition_scheme *320.1 GB disk1
 1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk1s1
 2: Apple_HFS SSD backup 180.0 GB disk1s2
 3: Apple_HFS Temp 139.6 GB disk1s3
/dev/disk2
 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
 0: GUID_partition_scheme *1.0 TB disk2
 1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk2s1
 2: Apple_HFS Macken_Ext Backup 999.9 GB disk2s2
/dev/disk3
 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
 0: FDisk_partition_scheme *8.0 GB disk3
 1: DOS_FAT_32 WHEEZY 8.0 GB disk3s1
$

/dev/disk3 is the USB thumb drive. I previously had another Wheezy image on it, thus its name.

Now unmount it:


$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk3
Unmount of all volumes on disk3 was successful
$

Nice. Now let’s write the ISO to the drive:


$ pv -petr ~/Desktop/debian-7.2.0-amd64-DVD-1.iso | sudo dd of=/dev/disk3 bs=128k
Password:
0:00:38 [4.94MiB/s] [====>                  ] 3% ETA 0:16:55

Now let’s wait. Looks like it will take approximately another 17 minutes..

When done, just eject the thumb drive as usual, remove it and you have a bootable Debian install drive. Mission accomplished.

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