How to Download and Create a macOS Big Sur ISO File

Jerome Peng
Last updated: Jan 16, 2024

In this article, you will discover where to download a macOS Big Sur ISO file and learn how to create one yourself if you cannot download it directly.

If you're looking to install a macOS Big Sur virtual machine using VMware or VirtualBox on your computer, having the macOS Big Sur ISO is essential. In this article, we'll guide you on where to download the macOS Big Sur ISO and how to create one yourself.

Let's get started.

Download and Create a macOS Big Sur ISO File

Where to Download macOS Big Sur ISO Files for VMware and VirtualBox

Apple primarily provides updates through the Software Update feature, and direct ISO downloads are not officially available. If you want to download a macOS Big Sur ISO file directly, you can download it from third-party resources, such as Google Drive.

Here are some download links:

You can find more macOS Big Sur ISO files in this article.

How to Create a macOS Big Sur ISO File for VMware and VirtualBox

If you can't find a trustworthy macOS Big Sur ISO online, creating one yourself is a viable option. Follow these steps to create a macOS Big Sur ISO for use with VMware Fusion or VirtualBox.

Step 1. Download the macOS Big Sur Full Installer

If your Mac is compatible with macOS Big Sur, click here to download the installer using the App Store.


Alternatively, you can download the macOS Big Sur full installer directly from the link below.

macOS Big Sur 11.7.10

Once the download is complete, click on the downloaded .pkg file, follow the instructions to run it, and you will find the Install macOS Big Sur app in the Applications folder.


Step 2. Make a macOS Big Sur ISO File Using Terminal

Now, you've reached the critical step of creating a macOS Big Sur ISO file, and the tool you will use is Terminal.

Here's how:

  1. Open Terminal via Spotlight or Finder > Applications > Utilities.
  2. Run the command below in the Terminal.

hdiutil create -o /tmp/BigSur -size 14g -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J -type SPARSE

Create a Disk with Terminal
  1. Continue to run the command:

hdiutil attach /tmp/BigSur.sparseimage -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/installBigSur

Mount Volume with Terminal
  1. Paste the command below, press Return, enter your administrator password, and press Return again to make the macOS Big Sur installer:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ --volume /Volumes/installBigSur --nointeraction

Create Installer Media with Terminal
  1. When you see "Install media now available at "/Volumes/Install macOS Big Sur"," continue to run the command below to unmount the macOS Big Sur disk image:

hdiutil eject -force /Volumes/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur/

Unmount Your Disk with Terminal
  1. After that, run the command to format your media to .iso format:

hdiutil convert /tmp/BigSur.sparseimage -format UDTO -o /tmp/tmp_iso.iso

  1. Continue to execute the following command to move the .iso file to your desktop:

mv /tmp/tmp_iso.iso.cdr ~/Desktop/BigSur.iso

  1. Now you have a BigSur.iso file on your desktop, enabling you to run a macOS Big Sur virtual machine using VMware or VirtualBox on an Intel/ARM Mac.

Bonus: How to Clear Space for macOS Big Sur

Downloading and installing macOS Big Sur requires sufficient free space on your Mac. If your Mac is running low on storage space, it's recommended that you use BuhoCleaner to quickly clear space for macOS Big Sur.

DownloadFor macOS 10.10 and above
100,000+ Satisfied Users Worldwide

BuhoCleaner is one of the best Mac cleaners that allows you to free up gigabytes of space in one click. Here are some of its notable features:

  • Cleans up your Mac in one click.
  • Removes unwanted and stubborn apps completely.
  • Quickly finds and deletes large and old files.
  • Detects and deletes identical files and similar photos.
  • Monitors system resources and efficiently frees up RAM.
  • Visualizes your disk space usage, quickly locating large files in every folder.

Download and install it to have a try yourself.

Quickly Clean Up Mac with BuhoCleaner

Related Article: 10 Best Ways to Free Up Disk Space on Mac

FAQs about macOS Big Sur ISO File

Q: When Do You Need a macOS Big Sur ISO File?

A macOS Big Sur ISO file is a disk image file for macOS Big Sur. It can be used to install or upgrade your current system, make a bootable media, or install a virtual machine with VMware or VirtualBox.

Q: Can I Run macOS Big Sur Virtual Machine on an Apple Silicon Mac?

No, it is not possible to create a macOS Big Sur virtual machine using virtual machine software on Apple silicon (M1/M2/M3) Macs. Follow this guide to run a macOS virtual machine on an Apple silicon Mac.

Q: What Macs Are Compatible with macOS Big Sur?

Here are the Macs that support macOS Big Sur:

  • MacBook (2015 or later)
  • MacBook Air (2013 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (Late 2013 or later)
  • Mac Mini (2014 or later)
  • iMac (2014 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro (2013 or later)

For specific models, refer to this article.

Jerome is a passionate enthusiast of all things Apple. He is expertise in crafting tech-related articles, with a portfolio of more than 100 articles covering various Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.