How Do I Use Bin and Cue Files in OS X?

   Posted October 27, 2011 by David Kirk in Apple Mac

Opening bin and cue files can be very tricky on mac computers. These directions will walk you through the steps needed to convert these files to an iso file that can be easily mounted on your system. Better yet, this will work in OS X without the need for any additional software.

Unfortunately, mac computers do not natively handle bin/cue files. However, OS X will happily mount iso files without any additional software. So to use bin/cue files, we’ll just need to convert them to an iso file. A few expensive software programs will do this for you, but by following these steps you can do it for free.

Enjoy this screencast where I walk through the steps. Detailed directions can be found below.

1. Download and decompress from the reference article for this tutorial.

2. Place the bchunk file in some obvious place. I put mine in the /usr/bin location. You’ll need to authenticate to copy the file over.

3. Now, we need to tell OS X that this is an executable file. Open terminal and type sudo a+x along with a space. Then drag bchunk from /usr/bin and drop it onto the terminal window. If you find that difficult, you can just copy and paste the command from here:

sudo chmod a+x /usr/bin/bchunk

5. You’ll need to give your password.

6. Next, we’ll run the executable. Drag/drop bchunk to the terminal window, then drag/drop your bin file to the terminal window, and then drag your cue file to the terminal window. Last, type in the location where you want your file to be saved. If you are having a tough time visualizing this, check out the screencast. The command will be in the following format:

/usr/bin/bchunk binfile cuefile outputfile

Here is my example of using 130.bin and 130.cue from my desktop and using 130 as the prefix on my iso name:

/usr/bin/bchunk /Users/davak/Desktop/130.bin /Users/davak/Desktop/130.cue 130

If you bin file did not come with a cue file, you can manually create a cue file using your text editor.

7. Once you have the command correctly entered, hit ENTER within the terminal and let the program run.

Here is some sample output (with emails removed):

binchunker for Unix, version 1.2.0 by Heikki Hannikainen
Created with the kind help of Bob Marietta ,
partly based on his Pascal (Delphi) implementation.
Support for MODE2/2352 ISO tracks thanks to input from
Godmar Back, Colas Nahaboo
and Matthew Green.
Released under the GNU GPL, version 2 or later (at your option).
Reading the CUE file:
Track 1: MODE1/2352 01 00:00:00
Writing tracks:
1: 13001.iso 372/372 MB [********************] 100 %

8. You should now find a new .iso file on your desktop. Double-click this file to mount it and use the contents.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Kwan Yin

    Great, easy-to-follow explanation. Thank you!

  • Jim Buttress

    Sorry, but I was confused from the very beginning of your video.
    I think I could do with instructions for dummies !
    Can you really, really, simplify the procedure….step by step by step.

    Sorry for being a pain, but I would appreciate more help !

    Kind regards….JB

  • tried following all the instructions closely and tried with diff .bin files all with their own .cue files as well:

    Reading the CUE file:

    Track 1: MODE1/2048 (?) 01 00:00:00

    Writing tracks:

    Could not fopen track file: Permission denied
    1: /Users/Myname.ugh Mac HD:~ Myname$

    any tips and thank you!

    • Maduin

      Maybe you are trying to create the ISO file in a directory where you don’t have write permissions. The tutorial didn’t specify a directory for the output file so it was written in whatever directory the terminal was opened, maybe the example command should be: /usr/bin/bchunk /Users/davak/Desktop/130.bin /Users/davak/Desktop/130.cue /Users/davak/Desktop/130

      At least that solved this problem for me

  • Albert

    I have a 2012 intell macbook pro and the out put file is .ugh
    any thoughts on this?

    • Jeanne Gagnon

      I had to create my .cue file (for a software installation CD) and it doesn’t seem to work out so well. Bchunk produces a .ugh file and from the little I have been able to read it seems to come from a bad .cue file.

  • Ricardo Pedroni

    Excellent script and post.

    Greetings from Brazil,
    Ricardo Pedroni

  • Ed

    I’ve followed the instructions exactly. Once terminal has run, I’m left with around 30+ .cdr files. When i try to mount even on of them it says ‘not recognized’. I’ve also just tried changing the file extension to .iso and .dmg, yet the computer still will not open these files. Has anyone else experienced this problem?
    It might be worth mentioning that along with my .bin and .cue file, there is a .sfv file. I experimented a bit, by putting that in the command chain in terminal, i still ended up with the same ‘not recognized’ business. Thanks in advance.

  • Jan Koch

    Great help, thank you for explaining this process in such an understandable way!

  • Vaughn Story

    I followed your directions above, and what I ended up on my desktop were three .cdr files. Why didn’t it turn it into an .iso file? What do I do with three separate .cdr files, now? Thanks for your help.

  • Rafael Estrela


    I did exactly what you said, but the file created was not a .iso, but a .ugh…

    So, I’m trying to use a game in a sega saturn emulator (I don’t know if it makes any diference…)

    Anyway, thanks!

  • E.Moreira

    Thanks a lot, it has helped like hell, great job, keep on, i´ve been trapped but you´ve released me, thanks again.

  • Nic

    Thanks for this! But when i run the .iso file, it said could not check CD-ROM. I am using a playstation 1 emulator.

  • rs

    This is like the 10th thing I’ve tried to open my .bin file but this one actually worked!
    Thank you, much appreciated!

  • Terry

    bchunk is also available through Homebrew, so if you’ve installed that (see, the installation process for bchunk is reduced to `brew install bchunk`.

  • izraul

    I dont know why people have to make things so difficult.. lol Just change “file.bin” to “file.iso” and double click it! simple!! easy!! no software needed!!

  • David, thank you for this tutorial.. my first time converting a .BIN to .ISO image. Was very clean and easy to follow. I’ve learned something new – bchunk. Thank you.