Introducing `quickpkg`

This tool will quickly and easily build a package from an installed application, a disk image file or zip archive with an enclosed application bundle. It will also extract the application name and version and use it to name the resulting pkg file.

The tool will look for applications on the first level of the disk image or archive. If it finds no or more than one application it will error.

The name of the resulting package will be of the form {name}-{version}.pkg. Spaces will be removed from the name. The package will be written to the current working directory.

Get the tool at the quickpkg repository.


Build package from installed application:

quickpkg /Applications/

Build package from a disk image:

quickpkg ~/Downloads/Firefox\ 43.0.4.dmg

Build package from a zip archive:

quickpkg ~/Downloads/


OS X has had the pkgbuild tool since Xcode 3.2 on Snow Leopard. With pkgbuild you can directly build a installer package from an application in the /Applications folder:

pkgbuild --component /Applications/ Numbers.pkg

Or even an application inside a mounted dmg:

pkgbuild --component /Volumes/Firefox/ \
         --install-location /Applications \

This tool even does the work of determining a bundle’s identifier and version and sets the identifier and version of the pkg to the same values.

However, while pkgbuild does automatically name the package, it does not include the version, which is important when you tracking many versions of the same application. It also doesn’t automatically look into a dmg file or zip archive.

quickpkg vs autopkg

This tool is not meant to replace autopkg. autopkg will automate the download, the re-packaging (if necessary) and the upload to and configuration of your client management system. It can also handle much more complex setups than quickpkg. autopkg is far superior and should be your tool of choice.

However, there are situations where autopkg does not work well. The most common reason is if the download cannot be automated because the download page is behind a paywall. Also autopkg requires a recipe for a given piece of software. If no recipe exists, quickpkg may be a simple alternative. (Though if quickpkg works, creating an autopkg recipe should not be hard.)


All quickpkg does is identify an application bundle and package it in a way that the package will install that application bundle into the /Applications folder. If the application needs other files (libraries, frameworks, configuration files, license files, preferences etc.) to run and work they are your responsibility.

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Mac Admin, Consultant, and Author