How to Install a .dmg File on Mac

Quick Solution

Double click the .dmg file, drag the app icon to the Applications folder and eject the disk image.

If This Doesn’t Work

1. Find the .dmg File

  • Find the .dmg file in your Downloads folder or wherever you saved it.

2. Open the .dmg File

  • Double click on the .dmg file.
  • macOS will mount the disk image and open a new Finder window.

3. Look at the Contents First

The mounted disk image usually contains the application and includes a shortcut to the Applications folder.

Some .dmg files contain an installer package (.pkg) instead of the application directly.

4. Install the Application

For most applications:

  • Drag the application icon to the Applications folder shortcut (if provided) or to the Applications folder in Finder.
  • Wait for the copying to complete.

For installer packages:

  • Double click the .pkg file.
  • Follow the instructions in the installer.

5. Eject the Disk Image

As soon as installation is complete, eject the disk image by right clicking on its icon on the desktop and selecting *Eject* or by clicking the eject button next to its name in Finder.

6. Verify Installation

Open Finder and go to the Applications folder to make sure the app was installed correctly.

7. First Launch

  • When launching the app for the first time, macOS will warn you about opening an app from an unidentified developer.
  • To open the app, right click (or Control click) on it and select *Open* from the context menu.

The Terminal Method

1. Open Terminal

  • Launch Terminal from Applications –> Utilities –> Terminal, or use Spotlight (Cmd + Space) and type *Terminal*.

2. Find the .dmg File

  • Use the cd command to go to the directory with the .dmg file. For example: cd ~/Downloads

3. Mount the .dmg File

Use the hdiutil command to mount the .dmg file:

hdiutil attach filename.dmg

Change filename.dmg with the actual name of your .dmg file.

4. Find the Mount Point

The hdiutil command will output the mount point. It’s typically under /Volumes/.

You can also use ls /Volumes/ to list mounted volumes.

5. Copy the Application

Use the cp command to copy the application to the Applications folder:

cp -R /Volumes/MountName/ /Applications/

Replace MountName with the actual name of the mounted volume and with the name of the app.

6. Unmount the Disk Image

After copying unmount the disk image:

hdiutil detach /Volumes/MountName

7. Verify Installation

Check if the application is in the Applications folder:

ls /Applications/

Advanced Terminal Method

1. Silent Installation

For a .pkg installer within a .dmg use:

hdiutil attach filename.dmg -nobrowse
installer -pkg /Volumes/MountName/installer.pkg -target /
hdiutil detach /Volumes/MountName

2. Automating with Scripts

You can create shell scripts to automate this process for multiple installations.

3. Checking SHA-256 Checksums

Verify file integrity before installation

shasum -a 256 filename.dmg

4. Using rsync for Copying

For more control over the copying process

rsync -avh /Volumes/MountName/ /Applications/

Security Stuff

Gatekeeper Security

  • macOS’s Gatekeeper might prevent apps from unidentified developers from opening.
  • You can adjust these settings in System Preferences –> Security and Privacy –> General.

Licensing and Registration

Some apps might require you to enter a license key or complete a registration process after installation.

Updating Existing Applications

If you’re updating an existing app you might need to quit the running application before installing the new version.

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