4 Free Rufus Alternatives for Mac

If you’re looking for an easy way to format and create bootable USB drives or other live USB devices, then you have probably used or heard about Rufus. It is a wonderful, open-source tool that makes this process quick and easy.

The problem is that this utility was created for Windows and there is not a Mac version yet. This is disappointing since it is such a great tool, but there are some alternatives out there that you can use.

My name is Eric. As a software engineer, I have been using computers for over 40 years. Although I have many years of experience, I am fairly new to macOS. As a new Mac user, I am constantly learning things and I am happy to pass useful tips on to you.

If you are looking for an app like Rufus on Mac, then you have come to the right place. Stick with me, I will go over some great alternatives and hopefully one of these can work for you.

4 Rufus Alternatives for Mac

Rufus is such a great utility and works so well on Windows, that it may seem difficult to find an application that measures up to it, but there are some available apps that do work on Mac, perform the same functions, and sometimes do even more. Take a look at my list below.

Note: all the apps below are free to use as they are all open-source software. This means that you can download them at no cost and if you wish to pass the software on to your friends or colleagues there is no worry. 

You can also get a copy of the source code for these and modify the applications to fit your own needs. This is great if you are a developer, programmer, software engineer, or anyone else who likes to tinker around with applications like this.

1. balenaEtcher

This is one of the top alternatives that I found. It works on Mac and many other platforms as well. It is nearly as fast and lightweight as Rufus when creating bootable drives. It also has a built-in verification process which Rufus does not.

2. UNetbootin

Image courtesy of UNetbootin

UNetbootin was originally designed to create Linux-based boot drives but it can be used for other operating systems like macOS and Windows. The tool has a version that runs on macOS as well as Windows and Linux.

3. DiskMaker X

This one has been around for a while and claims to be the easiest way to build a macOS installer on a flash drive. It was designed specifically for Mac but unfortunately it does not support recent versions from Big Sur or later.

4. Deepin Bootmaker

Image courtesy of deepin.com

This lightweight boot drive maker has a straightforward interface and is quite easy to use. This makes it a great tool for those who are looking for a plain simple tool just to create bootable flash drives.

Which One Is The Best?

The alternatives I have shown above are all nice tools. They are small applications that don’t take up much space on your machine and don’t require a ton of memory to run. They can also rapidly create bootable USB drives just like Rufus can do on a Windows PC.

Of the applications listed above, I would say Etcher is probably at the top of my list. It seems to work well on a Mac system and can create a multitude of boot images. In my opinion, it is probably the closest to Rufus in speed and it also provides a unique verification process.

Since these are all free, I would suggest downloading and trying all of them if you have the time. That way you can see which one best suits your needs. 

If you are not happy with any of them, you can create bootable USB drives on your own using the steps given by Apple. It can be a little difficult and tedious, which is why utilities like Rufus and Etcher were created, but with a little time and work it is possible to do this on your own.

What is Rufus?

Most of you who have come here looking for a Rufus alternative for Mac, already know what it is and what you need it for. If you don’t know what it is or you’re just not familiar with it, no need to worry. I will give you a quick summary here.

Rufus is a free open source utility that you can download and use to create bootable USB drives. The application runs in a Windows environment and allows you to use bootable .iso files to create a USB boot drive for Windows, Linux, and UEFI. 

Image courtesy of https://rufus.ie/en/

Rufus is compact in size but is extremely powerful. It is also portable, meaning it can be downloaded and started up right away. No installation process is necessary. The executable file takes up only about 1.3 MB.

It also supports different file system formats such as FAT, FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, UDF, and ReFS. With Rufus, you can create many different types of bootable drives for a variety of file systems.

Why do I Need a Bootable USB Drive?

If you’re not familiar with the concept of a bootable USB drive, you may be wondering what they are used for and why someone might need one. For most computer users, these may not be too common but they can be handy and are a useful tool for those who configure or set up systems.

A bootable USB allows you to plug the USB drive into the computer and when you start the computer, you can tell it (or select) to boot from the USB drive. The USB drive may have a new operating system on it or it could have a slimmed-down version or just a command-line version.

A bootable USB drive with an OS installer will let you install a new operating system onto that machine without the need to connect to the internet or use a CD or DVD. This is useful if your system has been corrupted and you need to re-image your computer.

This can also be beneficial for an IT technician who is setting up multiple computers with the same new operating system for each user. They can quickly plug in the drive, start the computer and install the new OS.

USBs that allow you to boot to a slimmed-down OS or a simple command-line operating system, are often used to debug systems that have problems or run specific tests on an application or hardware. 

The user is able to run in a safe mode where resources are kept available and unwanted system processes are kept from running while testing or debugging. This is a great tool for software and hardware designers alike.

It is also possible to create bootable USBs that allow you to boot to different operating systems such as different macOS versions, or to Windows or Linux operating systems. This can be useful if you have the need to use different OS versions for any reason.

Final Words

As you can see, there are multiple reasons that one may need to create bootable USB drives. Rufus is one of the best tools for doing this, but if you need to do it on your Mac, you will need to use one of the alternatives that I have listed above.

There are a few to choose from and hopefully one of them will fit your needs. If you know of any others that work well on Mac, please let me know. I would love to hear about them.

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