This guide can help you get a favorite Linux distribution working on a Mac and introduce you to resources that can help you track down the drivers you need or solve installation issues you may come across. This guide uses Ubuntu, mainly because of the active forums and support available from the Ubuntu community and the coverage of Ubuntu provided online. There are a ton of reasons to want Ubuntu or your favorite Linux distribution running on your Mac.
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You may want to broaden your technology chops, learn about a different OS, or have one or more specific apps you need to run. You may be a Linux developer and realize that the Mac is the best platform to use, or you may simply want to try out Ubuntu. No matter the reason, this guide helps you install Ubuntu on your Mac and enable your Mac to easily dual boot between Ubuntu and macOS. This method for dual booting can easily be expanded to triple booting or more. Use this flash drive to not only install Ubuntu but also to confirm that Ubuntu can run on your Mac. You should be able to boot Ubuntu directly from the USB stick without having to perform an install.
This lets you check basic operations before you commit to altering your Mac's configuration to accommodate Ubuntu. One of the first stumbling blocks you may encounter is how the flash drive should be formatted. If you plan on permanently installing Ubuntu on your Mac while keeping the Mac OS, you need to create one or more volumes specifically for housing the Ubuntu OS.
The process is simple. You use Disk Utility to partition an existing volume, such as your Mac's startup drive, to make room for a second volume.
You could also use an entire drive other than your startup drive, to house Ubuntu, or you could create another partition on a nonstartup drive. There are lots of choices. Just to add another option, you could also install Ubuntu on an external drive connected via USB or Thunderbolt. You may have heard that Linux OSes need multiple partitions to run at their best; one partition for disk swap space, another for the OS, and a third for personal data. While Ubuntu can use multiple partitions, it's also capable of being installed in a single partition, which is the method used here.
You can always add a swap partition later from within Ubuntu. You're going to use the disk partitioning utility included with Ubuntu to create the needed storage space. What you need the Mac's Disk Utility to do is define that space, so it's easy to select and use when installing Ubuntu.
Creating the space erases any information on the selected volume. Instead, you create a volume with an easy-to-identify name, format, and size that stands out when it comes time to select a volume for the Ubuntu installation.
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If you're going to use an existing partition, take a look at these two guides for resizing and partitioning:. Partitioning, resizing, and formatting any drive can result in data loss. Make sure you have a current backup of any data on the selected drives involved. If you've already created a Windows Boot Camp partition, you won't be able to add a Ubuntu partition as well.
How to Install and Dual-Boot Ubuntu on Mac - Make Tech Easier
Consider using an external drive with Ubuntu instead. The format will change when you install Ubuntu. Its purpose is only to make it easy to identify which disk and partition you use for Ubuntu later in the install process.
Both pieces of information are helpful in identifying the volume later during the Ubuntu install. So far, you've worked on getting your Mac ready to receive Ubuntu and prepared a bootable installer you can use for the process. Your Mac already comes equipped with a boot manager that lets you choose between multiple Mac or Window OSes that may be installed on your Mac.
You'll use GRUB shortly when you run through the installation process. Instead, make use of a third-party boot manager called rEFInd. In a nutshell, SIP prevents ordinary users, including administrators, from changing system files, including preference files and folders the Mac OS uses for itself. You can jump to an installation, but try Ubuntu first. The main reason is that you may discover problems before committing to a full install.
Some of the issues you may find include the install of live USB not working with your Mac graphics card. This is one of the more common problems Mac users face when installing Linux. You may also find out that your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth isn't operating. Most of these issues can be corrected after the install, but knowing about them ahead of time lets you do a little research from your familiar Mac environment.
You can track down the issues and possibly acquire needed drivers or at least know where to get them before the installation. Before you try booting to the live USB drive you created, there's a bit of preparation to perform. The changes you just made are not saved. They're used just this one time. Should you need to use the Try Ubuntu without installing option in the future, you'll need to edit the line once again.
Adding nomodeset is the most common method of correcting a graphics issue when installing, but it's not the only one. If you continue to have display issues, you can try the following:. Determine the make of the graphics card your Mac uses. You can do this by selecting About This Mac from the Apple menu. Look for the text Graphics , make a note of the graphics being used, and then use one of the following values instead of nomodeset:. If you're still having problems with the display, check the Ubuntu forums for issues with your specific Mac model.
Now that you have a live version of Ubuntu running on your Mac, check to make sure your Wi-Fi network is working, as well as Bluetooth, if needed.
You can click on any of the OS icons to select the operating system you want to use. If after restarting you have issues, such as missing or nonfunctional devices Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, printers, or scanners , check with the Ubuntu community for tips about getting all your hardware working. Share Pin Email. Tom Nelson has written hundreds of articles, tutorials, and reviews for Other World Computing and About.
He is the president of Coyote Moon, Inc. You need several things before you can start:. A recent backup. Use Carbon Copy Cloner or a similar utility to clone an external bootable drive that includes a copy of the Recovery HD volume. After you have a working clone, disconnect it from your Mac to ensure that the clone backup isn't accidentally erased during the Ubuntu installation. Image Credit: Brandon Nguyen on Flickr. The Best Tech Newsletter Anywhere. Join , subscribers and get a daily digest of news, comics, trivia, reviews, and more.
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How to install Linux on a Macintosh and dual boot with macOS
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Skip to content. We installed Ubuntu Boot Camp Assistant software is stored in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder. Boot Camp itself is free. Consult Apple support to see which Mac models are compatible with which versions of Windows. Windows 8 and Windows 8. To install Windows 8 via Boot Camp, you still must have a legitimate Windows 8 license from Microsoft and a Win8 installation disc, assuming that you have an optical drive.
Run Boot Camp Assistant in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder to make sure that you have the latest firmware on your computer and to install any support software from Apple that you might need.
- Partition Your Mac.
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- Getting Linux running on your Mac;