Rufus for Mac – 5 Free Alternatives (Bootable USB Tools)

Boot Alternatives Rufus for Mac

Hey there, tech heads! Rufus, which stands for “The Reliable USB Formatting Utility, with Source,” is a fantastic free and open-source application designed for Microsoft Windows. Its primary purpose? To format and create bootable USB flash drives or Live USBs. Quite a handy tool, especially when you’re trying to install a new operating system or rescue a system that won’t boot.

Fun Fact: Rufus was initially designed as a modern open-source replacement for the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool for Windows, which was primarily used to create DOS bootable USB flash drives.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “That’s great and all, but I’m a Mac user. What’s in it for me?” Well, that’s precisely why we’re here today. We’re going to explore some fantastic free alternatives to Rufus for all you Mac users out there.

A Need for Alternatives

So, why might a Mac user like yourself be on the hunt for Rufus alternatives? The answer is simple: compatibility. Rufus is designed for Windows, and while it’s an excellent tool for that platform, it doesn’t play well with macOS.

Pro Tip: Always check software compatibility with your operating system before downloading. It’ll save you a lot of time and potential headaches!

1. Etcher

Etcher, also known as Balena Etcher, is a cross-platform tool designed to flash OS images onto SD cards and USB drives safely and effortlessly. It’s free and open-source, making it a favorite among tech enthusiasts. One of the standout features of Etcher is its user-friendly interface, which simplifies the flashing process into an intuitive 3-step procedure, eliminating the need for command lines.

  • Validated Flashing: Etcher ensures that your flash has been completed successfully, giving you confidence that your card will boot without corruption.
  • Hard Drive Friendly: The software is designed to prevent accidental wipes of your system drives.
  • Open Source: Built with technologies like JS, HTML, node.js, and Electron, Etcher is transparent and modifiable by the community.
  • Cross-Platform: It works seamlessly on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

2. UNetbootin

UNetbootin allows users to create bootable Live USB drives for various Linux distributions without the need for a CD. It offers flexibility in that you can either let UNetbootin download one of its many supported distributions for you or provide your own Linux .iso file.

  • Versatility: UNetbootin can load distributions either by downloading an ISO file for you or by using an ISO file you’ve already acquired.
  • Ease of Use: The tool provides a simple interface where you select an ISO file or a distribution to download, choose a target drive, and then reboot once the process is complete.
  • Supported Distributions: UNetbootin has built-in support for a wide range of distributions, including Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and many more. It can also be used to load various system utilities.

3. Ventoy

Ventoy is an innovative open-source tool that has revolutionized the way we create bootable USB drives. Unlike traditional methods where you’d need to format and flash a drive for each ISO file, Ventoy allows you to simply copy multiple ISO files directly to a USB drive. When you boot from this drive, Ventoy presents you with a menu, lets you select which ISO file to run.

  • Ease of Use: With Ventoy, updating or changing the ISO is as simple as copying or deleting a file from the USB drive. No more repeated formatting or flashing!
  • Versatility: Ventoy supports a wide range of ISO files, from Windows installations to various Linux distributions and more.
  • Compatibility: Ventoy can boot both from Legacy BIOS and UEFI, making it versatile for different computer architectures.
  • Safety Features: Ventoy ensures that the ISO files are booted in their original state without any modification.

4. DiskMaker X

DiskMaker X is a dedicated tool for Mac users, designed to build a bootable drive from a macOS installer. It’s especially useful when you want to install macOS on multiple machines without downloading the installer each time or when you need a bootable disk for system recovery purposes.

  • Tailored for macOS: DiskMaker X is optimized for creating macOS bootable drives, ensuring compatibility and smooth performance.
  • User-Friendly: The tool provides a simple interface, guiding users through the process with clear instructions.
  • Versatility: Whether you’re looking to create a bootable drive for macOS Catalina, Mojave, or even older versions, DiskMaker X has got you covered.

5. Boot Camp Assistant

Boot Camp Assistant is a utility provided by Apple for macOS users. It’s designed to help users install a version of Windows on their Intel-based Macs. The tool streamlines the process, making it relatively fuss-free. All you need to provide is the Windows ISO, and Boot Camp Assistant handles the rest.

  • Fuss-Free Installation: Boot Camp Assistant simplifies the process of getting Windows on your Mac. Just follow the onscreen instructions, and you’ll have Windows running alongside macOS in no time.
  • Use Windows Apps on Mac: Whether you have a favorite game, a financial app, or need to test web pages in Windows, Boot Camp Assistant makes it possible.
  • Guidance: The tool provides step-by-step guidance, whether you’re installing Windows on a newer Mac or an older model.

Choosing the Right Alternative

With so many options at your fingertips, how do you choose the right Rufus alternative for your needs? Start by considering your primary requirements. Are you looking for a tool with a user-friendly interface? Or perhaps compatibility is your top priority? Maybe you’re after a tool packed with features? Once you’ve narrowed down your needs, finding the perfect match becomes a whole lot easier.

Pro Tip: Always read user reviews before downloading software. They can provide invaluable insights and help you avoid potential pitfalls.


Can I use Ventoy on both Windows and Mac computers?

Yes, Ventoy is cross-platform and can be used to create bootable USB drives for both operating systems.

Does DiskMaker X support the latest macOS version?

Yes, DiskMaker X regularly updates to support the latest versions, ensuring compatibility and smooth performance.

Is there a limit to the number of ISO files I can copy to a Ventoy USB drive?

No, Ventoy allows you to copy multiple ISO files to a USB drive, limited only by the drive’s storage capacity.

Do I need an internet connection to use Boot Camp Assistant?

While Boot Camp Assistant is integrated into macOS, an internet connection is recommended to download the latest Windows support software.

Can I use UNetbootin to create a bootable USB for macOS?

UNetbootin primarily supports various Linux distributions, but with the right macOS ISO, it can be used for macOS as well.

Are there any risks associated with using third-party tools like Ventoy or DiskMaker X?

While these tools are widely used and trusted, always ensure you download them from official sources and back up your data before use.

Wrapping It Up

We’ve explored a plethora of Rufus alternatives for Mac users. From Balena Etcher’s user-friendly interface to Ventoy’s unique approach and DiskMaker X’s macOS optimization, there’s something for everyone.

The key is to find the tool that aligns with your needs and gives it a whirl. Remember, in the tech world, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. So, explore, experiment, and find the perfect fit for you. And most importantly, have fun along the way! –

Choosing the Right Alternative