How to Easily Create A Linux Live USB in Mac OS X

If you have followed our guide to install Ubuntu on Macbook Air, you will know that creating a Linux live CD/USB that can run in Mac is a troublesome chore. You need to find the Mac-compatible version of the ISO file, convert it to img file and lastly dump it into the USB drive. Mac-Linux USB Loader is one simple tool that can get all these things done without all the hassle.

Mac Linux USB Loader allows you to create a live Linux USB installer quickly and easily on Mac OS X. Once you have created the USB installer, you will be able to boot into the Linux live session and install it in your Mac.

Note: The Mac Linux USB Loader app only works for Mountain Lion.

1. Go to the Mac Linux USB Loader website. Scroll down all the way to the end and click the Download link.

2. Extract the downloaded zip file and open the app.

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3. If you have already downloaded the Linux distro, you can click the “Create Live USB” button to get started. If not, you can click the “Download distribution” and have it download the distro for you. At the moment, it only supports Ubuntu, Linux Mint and Zorin OS.

If you opt to download the distro using Mac Linux USB Loader, note that it only downloads the ISO file to your computer. It doesn’t automatically create the Live USB for you.

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4. Click the “Create Live USB” to get started. It will prompt you to select the ISO file. If you have downloaded the ISO file from other sources, make sure that it is compatible with Mac. Else, you won’t be able to boot up the live USB.

5. Select the USB drive. Lastly, click “Make Live USB”.

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Depending on the processing power of your Mac, the process can take from a few minutes to an hour. You should receive a notification when the process is completed.

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The last thing that you need to do is to restart your Mac (with the USB drive plugged in) and select the live USB on the next boot up. You will be able to boot into the Linux distro now.

Note: If you have difficulty getting the app to write to the USB drive, you can format the USB disk to (FAT) format, using Disk Utility. My USB disk doesn’t work the first time round, but after I reformatted it, the whole process works fine.

Note: If the system doesn’t detect the USB drive on the bootup screen, you might need to install the rEFit, as detailed in this tutorial.

Try it out and let us know if this app works for you.