You can access the contents of a disk image the same way that you access other volumes and external hard drives on macOS. Double-click on the disk image file to mount its filesystem, then navigate the filesystem in the Finder to access individual files and folders. If you have the permission to access the files that you would like to restore, simply drag those items to the volume that you would like to restore them to.
While you cannot boot macOS from a disk image directly, you can restore the disk image to a volume. When you use CCC to restore the disk image to a volume, the resulting restored volume will be bootable (assuming that you had initially backed up a bootable system). To restore files or an entire filesystem from a disk image:
- Launch CCC
- Select Restore from disk image... from the Source selector and locate your backup disk image. CCC will mount the disk image for you.
- Choose a volume from the Destination selector. You may choose the startup disk as a destination, but CCC will not permit you to restore system files to the currently-running OS.
- If you do not want to restore everything, choose Some files... from the Clone menu (below the Source selector) and deselect any item that you do not wish to restore.
- Click the Clone button. The files will be restored to their original locations.
Restoring system files to your startup disk
If you want to restore system files to your startup disk, you must start up your Macintosh from an installation of macOS on another hard drive, such as a bootable backup created by CCC. Once you have booted your Mac from another volume, follow the steps from the previous section.
If you do not have an installation of macOS on another hard drive, you can boot your Mac from your macOS Recovery volume and use Disk Utility to restore the entire disk image:
High Sierra and Mojave
Note: The destination volume format must match the format of the disk image that you're restoring from. This limitation is specific to Disk Utility – if you're restoring from a disk image using CCC, CCC can restore an APFS disk image to an HFS+ volume, and you can restore an HFS+ disk image to an APFS volume. Use Disk Utility as a last resort.
- Hold down Command+R while you restart your computer.
- Choose Disk Utility in the Utilities application.
- Choose Show All Devices from the View menu.
- Click on the device you want to restore to in the sidebar (see this article for specific formatting instructions).
- Click the Erase button in the toolbar and proceed to erase the device using the GUID Partition Map partitioning scheme, and the format that matches your source disk image.
- Reselect the volume that you would like to restore to. If you are restoring to an APFS volume, choose the parent APFS container.
- Choose Open Disk Image... from the File menu and select the disk image file that you would like to restore from.
- Choose Restore... from the Edit menu.
- Select the mounted disk image volume that you would like to restore. If you are restoring to an APFS volume, choose the container that is the parent of the disk image volume you are trying to restore.
- Click the Restore button.
El Capitan and Sierra
- Hold down Command+R while you restart your computer
- Choose Disk Utility in the Utilities application
- Click on the volume you want to restore to in the sidebar
- Choose Restore... from the Edit menu
- Click on the Image... button and locate the disk image that you would like to restore
- Click the Restore button
- Hold down Command+R while you restart your computer
- Choose "Disk Utility" in the Utilities application
- From the File menu, choose Open Disk Image... and locate the disk image that you would like to restore
- In the list in the pane on the left, click on the mounted disk image's volume
- Click on the Restore tab on the right side of the window
- Drag the mounted disk image to the Source field. If the Source field does not accept the dragged volume, right-click on the disk image's mounted volume and choose Set as source from the contextual menu.
- Drag the hard drive that you would like to restore to into the Destination field
- Check the box to erase the destination (if present), then click on the Restore button.
- Restart your Mac from your newly restored volume, then use CCC to restore the Recovery HD volume from the archive on your startup disk.
If you have a clean installation of macOS and simply want to restore your user data from a full-system backup on a disk image, you can use Migration Assistant for this task. Simply mount the disk image, then open Migration Assistant and proceed as directed, using the mounted disk image as the source. Note that Migration Assistant will only accept a disk image that has a full system backup, it will not accept a disk image that has only user data.
Migration Assistant and Yosemite, El Capitan
On Yosemite and El Capitan, Migration Assistant will ask that you close all applications, and it will then log you out before presenting migration options. This poses a problem for migrating data from a disk image because the disk image will be unmounted when you are logged out, and Migration Assistant doesn't offer any interface to choose a disk image. To work around this problem, you can use our Mount disk image for Migration Assistant application. Simply drag the disk image containing your full system backup onto the application and it will guide you through a fairly simple procedure that will make the disk image available to Migration Assistant after a short delay.
Preliminary tests indicate that this workaround is not required on Sierra and later OSes.