A Complete Guide: How to Use UNetbootin on Mac and Solve the Common Problems

Are you get in trouble of an unbootable Mac and try to find an utility tool to help you out? If yes, you come to a right place and we will highly recommend UNetbootin to you.

In this article, we'll show you what UNetbootin is and how to use UNetbootin on Mac. We'll also provide solutions for troubleshooting some issues you may encounter and show you how to recover data from your crashed Mac system using Recoverit software.

Part 1. What Is UNetbootin?

UNetbootin or Universal Netboot Installer is a cross-platform that lets you create bootable USB drives for Linux distributions. You can also use the program to load ISO files of other operating systems, such as Windows 7, 8, and 10, and Mac.

Part 2. The Features of UNetbootin

Below are the main features of UNetbootin software:

  • Security: The program doesn't erase any files because it does not format your USB flash drives or external hard drive devices.
  • Supported Distributions: UNetbootin supports various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Debian, openSUSE, Arch Linux, Damn Small Linux, SliTaz, Linux Mint, Zenwalk, Slax, Elive, CentOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, 3CX, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, Sabayon Linux, Gentoo, MEPIS, LinuxConsole, Frugalware Linux, xPUD, and Puppy Linux.
  • Supported System Utilities: UNetbootin software can be used to load various system distributions, such as Parted Magic, SystemRescueCD, Super Grub Disk, Dr.Web Antivirus, F-Secure Rescue CD, Kaspersky Rescue Disk, Backtrack, Ophcrack, NTPasswd, Gujin, Smart Boot Manager and FreeDOS.
  • Non-destructive Installation: The Unetbootin uses Syslinux to download non-destructive installation on Mac.

Other feature includes loading files with custom disk image, automatic detection of mass storage, and creating a bootable USB drive.

Part 3. Backup Your Data Before Using UNetbootin to Create a Bootable USB

Before we look into the detailed steps of using UNetbootin to create a bootable USB on Mac, there is an important thing to do - backuping your data. We have provided you the complete solution of UNetbootin in Part 4, but we should avoid any risks of losing your precious data if the scheme failed. Therefore, it is recommended to backup your data firstly with Recoverit - a reliable and secure tool.

To use Recoverit, all you need are a 16-32GB USB and another working PC with Recoverit installed on it.

Below are the steps to backup all your data from an unbootabel Mac system with Recoverit:

Free Download

For Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11

Free Download

For macOS X 10.10 or later

Step 1. Lauch Recoverit on your PC. Select "System Crashed Computer." from the the left-hand menu. Now connect your USB drive to your computer and click"Start" from the bottom of the window.

Creating a bootable USB on a working PC using Recoverit

Then click "Start" again and select your USB drive. Your computer's warning screen will appear and prompt you to format your USB. Click "Format"

formatting the usb drive

Don't forget to back up your data on the USB drive before the process of formatting the USB drive.

Step 2: Disconnect your USB from the powered-on PC and insert it into the Mac that won't boot. Meanwhile, press the Option key and the "Power" button. Choose the Wondershare Recoverit Bootable Media Drive option when the first screen appears.

inserting bootable usb drive in unbootable mac

Step 3: After that, attach an external hard drive to your Mac that won't boot and choose a copy of your files. Click "Start Copy" to transfer the file to the external hard drive after choosing it as the location and destination.

You will receive all of your data on the external hard drive after the copying process is finished.

Part 4. How to Use UNetbootin to Create a Bootable USB on Mac

Before starting the process, let's look into the prerequisites of using UNetbootin to create a bootable USB on Mac:

  1. a 16-32GB USB drive
  2. an ISO or DMG file downloaded from the official website
  3. UNetbootin software installed on your system

If you get everything ready, please do the following steps in sequence:

Step 1: Plug the USB into your Mac and launch the Disk Utility from the Applications> Utility.

Select your USB drive on the left-hand side of the screen and click the info button. Note down your USB drive name.

getting the usb name in the disk utility

Step 2: Launch the UNetbootin app. Click the "Diskimage" and ISO button and click the "..." icon.

Step 3: Choose the path of the ISO file and set the Type as "USB Drive." Select your USB drive name and click "OK."

launch the unetbootin app

Step 4: Wait for the booting process to complete, and your USB will be formatted to a bootable one.

Note: If the USB drive is not working with UNetbootin, reformat it as FAT32 in the Disk Utility.

Part 5. Troubleshooting

While using Unetbootin, you might encounter some common problems. Please don’t worry, and we've discussed some common issues and their solutions below:

UNetbootin Can't Download The Distribution

If you are trying to download the distribution in UNetbootin but facing a problem. Don't fret, as you can use the manual method of downloading the ISO file straight from the official website for the PC and then import the file to the software using the diskimage option. Make sure you download the ISO file on your USB drive.

My USB Stick Isn't Booting.

Some users might experience trouble while booting their USB drive via UNetbootin. To resolve the issue, reformat the USB drive as FAT32, and use UNetbootin again to put your distribution on it. To do so, follow these steps:

Step 1: Head to Applications and open Utilities.

head to applications

Step 2: Under Utilities, open Disk Utility. Select the USB drive and click Erase.

Step 3: Select MS-DOS(FAT) as the format, choose Master Boot Record for the scheme and click Erase. Your USB flash drive will be formatted to FAT32, and you can now try to boot it again using UNetbootin.

select ms dos fat as the format

My USB Stick/Hard Drive Isn't Detected

If UNetbootin is not detecting your USB drive, reformat the USB drive as FAT32, and use UNetbootin again. If it still isn't showing up, use the targetdrive command line option to specify the target device to install.

Below are the command lines for different OS types.


/Volumes/UNetbootin/unetbootin.app/Contents/MacOS/unetbootin installtype=USB targetdrive=/dev/targetdrive

You have to replace the "targetdrive" with the appropriate target disk type, such as /dev/disk2s1, /dev/disk3s1, or diskutil list.


c:\users\geza\downloads\unetbootin-windows-647.exe installtype=USB targetdrive=targetdriveletter\

Make sure to replace "targetdriveletter" with the appropriate Windows drive letter: D:\, E:\, or F:\


unetbootin installtype=USB targetdrive=/targetdisk

Replace “targetdisk” with the correct drive name, i.e., /dev/sdc1, /dev/sdb. You use mount or fdisk -1 if you don't know the correct letter.

Part 6. A Quick Verdict: UNetbootin and Rufus, Which One to Choose?

Apart from UNetbootin, Rufus is another software that you have possibly heared about. So if you're looking for a simple and easy way to create a bootable USB drive, you can't go wrong with either Rufus or UNetbootin. Moreover, both programs are free to download and use.

So which one should you choose? Let’s help you figure it out.

If you're using a Mac, UNetbootin is the better choice because Rufus is only designed to work with Windows PCs and does not support the Mac system unless you download Windows on your Mac as a secondary operating system.

However, Rufus is the way to go if you're looking for a program with more features and options. Whichever program you choose, you'll be able to create a bootable USB drive in just a few minutes. The table below will give a clear overview to help you understand which software is best for your needs.

Price Free to use Free to use
Compatibility Windows Linux, Windows, and Mac
G2 Review 4.7 N/A
Security 100% safe 100% safe
Utility Rating 66% 34%
Best for Overall best booting software Best booting disk creator for multiple operating systems


In this article, we've explored how to use UNetbootin on Mac using the diskimage and USB drive install mode options. We also provided solutions for some common troubles users encounter while creating bootable USBs using the software.

Hopefully, you find this guide helpful, and you now understand how you can create a bootable USB using the UNetbootin software on your Mac.