There are a ton of reasons to want to have Ubuntu or your favorite Linux distribution running on your Mac. You may just wish to broaden your technology chops, learn about a different OS, or have one or more specific apps you need to run. No matter the reason, this project will help you install Ubuntu on your Mac, as well as enable your Mac to easily dual boot between Ubuntu and Mac OS.
Actually, the method we'll use for dual booting can easily be expanded to triple booting or more. We will use this flash drive to not only install Ubuntu, but to check that Ubuntu can run on your Mac by using the ability to boot Ubuntu directly from the USB stick without having to perform an install.
This lets us 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 Mac OS, you'll need to create one or more volumes specifically for housing the Ubuntu OS. The process is actually very simple; if you've ever partitioned your Mac's drives, then you already know the steps involved.
Essentially, you'll 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 non-startup drive. As you can see, 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 your personal data. While Ubuntu can use multiple partitions, it's also capable of being installed in a single partition as well, which is the method we will use. You can always add a swap partition later from within Ubuntu. We're going to use the disk partitioning utility included with Ubuntu to actually create the needed storage space. What we need the Mac's Disk Utility to do for us is define that space, so it's easy to select and use when installing Ubuntu.
Think of it this way: Instead, we'll create a volume with an easy to identify name, format, and size that will stand out when it comes time to select a volume for the Ubuntu installation. There is a fine write-up we're going to send you off to read that tells you the details, step-by-step, for formatting and partitioning a volume using the Mac's Disk Utility.
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. Consider using an external drive with Ubuntu instead. If you're going to use an existing partition, take a look at these two guides to resizing and partitioning:.
Disk Utility: The format doesn't really matter since it will change when you install Ubuntu; its purpose here is only to make it easy to spot which disk and partition you'll be using for Ubuntu later on in the install process. One final note: Both pieces of information will help in identifying the volume later, during the Ubuntu install. So far, we've been working on getting your Mac ready to receive Ubuntu, as well as preparing a bootable installer that we 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. In various guides, I routinely explain how to invoke the boot manager at startup by holding down the option key, such as in the Using the OS X Recovery Disk Assistant guide.
We'll be using GRUB shortly, when we run through the installation process. Both of the boot managers available to use can handle the dual-booting process; actually they can handle many more OSes than just two. So, we're going to suggest you 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 certainly jump to doing an install, but I'm going to recommend you try Ubuntu first. The main reason is that it will let you discover any problems you're facing 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 issues 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, to track down the issues and possibly acquire needed drivers, or at least know where to get them from. 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 wish to use. Since you're probably itching to get back to Ubuntu, click on the Ubuntu icon. If after restarting you have issues, such as missing or non-functional devices Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, printers, scanners , you can check with the Ubuntu community for tips about getting all of 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. Updated September 28, A recent backup. We recommend a clone on an external bootable drive that includes a copy of the Recovery HD volume. We recommend Carbon Copy Cloner , which can create the clone and include the Recovery partition. Once you have a working clone, disconnect it from your Mac to ensure that the clone backup isn't accidentally erased during the Ubuntu install.
As you might suspect, these are the bare minimums; more RAM and faster processor speeds or additional processor cores can only be helpful. We're installing on a inch Retina iMac, but the basic process should work for any modern Mac newer than If you're going to use an older Mac, you should still be able to install Ubuntu but you'll need to pay attention to how the boot process works for older hardware.
If you have problems getting your older Mac to work with Ubuntu, stop by the Ubuntu forums and search for install guides for your Mac model. The flash drive will be used as a bootable Ubuntu installer that contains not only the basic installer, but a live version of Ubuntu that you can run directly from the USB flash drive without modifying anything on your Mac. This is a great way to test whether your Mac and Ubuntu can get along.
A USB keyboard and mouse. You need a USB-based keyboard and mouse because it's highly likely that the Ubuntu Bluetooth drivers will need to be installed or updated before a wireless keyboard or mouse will work. This is the minimum size recommended for the desktop version of Ubuntu that we'll be installing; more space to work with can be a benefit. Ubuntu This is the current stable version of Ubuntu that was available when we started this project.
Later versions should work as well, just check the release notes for any specific changes that may affect installation or use on your Mac. The following process will completely erase any data you may have on the USB flash drive. Locate the flash drive in Disk Utility's sidebar. Be sure to select the actual flash drive, and not the formatted volume that may appear just below the flash drive's manufacturer name. Click the Erase button in the Disk Utility toolbar. The Erase sheet will drop down.
Set the Erase sheet to the following options: The USB flash drive will be erased. When the process is complete, click the Done button. Before you leave Disk Utility you need to make a note of the flash drive's device name. You should see the device name , such as disk2s2, or in my case, disk7s2. Write down the device name ; you will need it later. You can quit Disk Utility.
UNetbootin can be downloaded from the UNetbootin github site. The utility will download as a disk image, with the name unetbootin-mac The actual number in the file name may change as newer versions are released. Locate the downloaded UNetbootin disk image ; it will probably be in your Downloads folder. Double-click the. The UNetbootin image opens. The app will work just fine from within the disk image. Launch UNetbootin by right-clicking on the unetbootin app and selecting Open from the popup menu.
For older hard drives, this is going to take some time! To do this, simply follow the steps you did above but make a smaller partition, eg 8GB. This is the fun part! It will save your sanity. It will be named EFI Boot or something similar. Use the cursor keys or mouse to select that and hit return.
Follow through the steps as usual. Make sure you tick the box that says Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi. The next step, and arguably the most important step in the entire process is about installing Linux on the partitions you previously configured in the Disk Utility. If you select the other options, these will delete your installation of macOS and make you have a bad day TM. This is the EFI boot partition. Simply make a big partition and a small partition roughly GB in size. The big partition should be the remainder of the free space.
The small partition should be formatted as swap. Select that partition by clicking on the entry for it in the list of partitions. It must be of type fat Press OK. It also has a type of fat Click OK. One which is small, of type swap and the other, the larger of the two, will be formatted as Linux ext4. Once you are happy, click the Install Now button. Everything else should be pretty standard as per the normal Ubuntu installation.
Once the install has finished, the installer will tell you to remove the installation medium. Remove the USB stick and it enter to restart the computer. Make sure you select that. Most of these will be be covered off on the next step. Sponsored Link: Tech Tip: Okay cokey. Apple can be real pains in the asses some times read, all the time, at least these days. To do this, you can pretty much enter one simple non-destructive command.
First up, at the terminal, issue the command diskutil cs list. You will see something like the below. If you know LVM in Linux, this is pretty much the same thing.
Simply enter the following command: The conversion took ages for me, however your mileage may vary, depending upon how much data is on your drive, and how fast your drive is. Full documentation is here: Facebook Messenger on the command line. Here are the steps I followed to get everything working on Ubuntu. You need to be running a fairly recent version of Ubuntu This fixed the issue for me.
If you want the driver to be enabled on startup, extra steps may be required.
I think perhaps my wording in that section should be revised — what I mean is that to load the driver, you must add the lines into the config file. If the zip archive is not already unzipped, unzip it using the unzip command and head into the newly created refind-bin I never looked back. This is the minimum size recommended for the desktop version of Ubuntu that we'll be installing; more space to work with can be a benefit. Thanks for helping with recycling an old friend and protecting the environment. It works quite well indeed!
On Ubuntu, the following should work:. Make it executable: When you perform a system update in Ubuntu, it often updates the Kernel too. When you update the kernel, the modules need to be upgraded to work with that Kernel version. If you have any trouble, please read this guide on making a DKMS package: However, if you are having issues getting your distro to boot, then read on.
No worries, this is the Ultimate Linux Newbie Guide.
We got this! It took us about 20 minutes just to find the frigging download link! So the ULNG has taken the time to go through all the pertinent steps to make it shit tons easier for you! The version of rEFInd that we used is 0. Once you download the binary, you are going to need to start the rest of your work from the Terminal, so open up the Terminal from the Utilities folder on your Macintosh and head over to your Downloads folder where you saved rEFInd to.
If the zip archive is not already unzipped, unzip it using the unzip command and head into the newly created refind-bin For the next step, take a note of the full directory where you downloaded the refind tool into. There are a couple of ways to do this, but I found the easiest way to do so is to pop your system into recovery mode and issue a command from the terminal there.
There is a bit more information on this process over here. To enter recovery mode on your Macintosh, shut your machine down completely. Give the machine around 30 seconds and then switch back on. Shortly you will enter recovery mode. I recommend plugging in an Ethernet cable to do this, however it is possible to do with WiFi. Once you are in the Recovery tool, enter the Utilities menu up on the top bar, and click on Terminal.
Using macOS from Sierra onwards, the csrutil tool may have been removed. Earlier, you noted down this folder, so just cd to it, for example:.
Do you want Linux in a virtual machine? Do you want Linux to take over the machine throwing out Mac OS X Lion ? Do you want Linux in a. If you're ready to try Linux on your Mac, this guide to dual-booting Ubuntu and Mac OS will take you through the process step by step.
Once REFind is all installed, reboot the mac and you should be good to go. All going well, you should be seeing the rEFInd menu. Use the cursor key to select your Linux installation and hit that return key. Fingers crossed, your system will start up without much of a hitch! The next bit of text was necessary for versions of rEFInd before 0. This guide has been updated for version 0. Thankfully, rEFInd has a little tool you can use to mount the partition:.
Like me, you may find the refind. Just not emacs! Next, change the config file to load the appropriate Linux file system driver. Check for a line that starts fs0. If no such line exists, add it as below, otherwise edit it:. Save the file and quit your editor. That is the hardest part over and done with. If you want to be sure it worked, you should power off your machine and power on again. If you see a grey screen with the rEFInd logo, then it has worked.
Installation is as simple as installing the package through apt-get: I did find that my keyboard backlight buttons now work out of the box on Ubuntu Maybe best to stick with xorg for now! They also have their own set of unique problems in some cases. Using the nvidia driver ensures that the maximum resolution of your display is achieved, however if you are used to seeing things extra small therefore more screen real-estate, you can enable HiDPI scaling for GNOME via the following Terminal command and log out and log back into GNOME:.
Setting it to a value of 2 returns the display to how it was before. You can also edit this setting within the dconf editor GUI application. Okay, that about wraps it up for this ditty, I hope it has worked for you. And why would I want to when I want to use Linux as my operating day to day system? Can I put a plug in for tips, tricks, and tweaks for Linux Mint mainly but there is tweaks for Ubuntu also.
Thanks Dave! You would be mounting from linux for this. Plug accepted! In theory, yes, as long as you re-install grub, it should boot your existing Kubuntu partition without having to re-install. Thanks a million!!! With the help of your guide, I have now successfully dual-booted Ubuntu Any help about how to manage to install Linux Mint on this MacBook Air would be very much appreciated.
Have you created the new Linux partitions at the installation phase? Your disk might not be sda. It should be, but sometimes it can be something else. You can select your OS X drive at that menu. Just hold down the button when you hear the chime noise. This is what worked for me. After install of LM on mbp 8,2 I had 3 icons, osx, lm, and a penguin ubuntu following instructions above.
I tried everything in refind. Booted into LM opened the file folder then clicked on file system, did a search of efi, there are a lot of returns. Most everything went off without a hitch. However, when I go to power the computer on it just boots directly into Ubuntu without the REFInd menu coming up at all. What should I do? Installed Kubuntu Everything worked out of the box: One difference: I dropped —alldrivers from. Kubuntu I am quite OK with that but it would be nice to have Grab at least. One more thing. When I was booting first time Kubuntu from the flesh drive there were two icons of the flash drive, one saying EFI version and the other saying Classic.
I booted into EFI version and then run install. Perhaps the newer Macs are a little friendlier on multiple EFI based systems! Sometimes when one OS installs or even updates it will modify the boot order of things. Here is the link to my question on AskUbuntu. Good stuff — but the fstab entry at the end has an error which caused me hours of head scratching until I spotted it: You need to hold the option key. If you are using a PC keyboard, this is usually the Alt key.
Make sure the keyboard you use is USB, not Bluetooth and make sure its plugged directly into the rear of the mac, not in a hub. Other than that, make sure you use the cursor keys. If you have used them already, try the number pad cursor keys. Hey, thanks for your reply. Option key only during boot. Sounds like you have everything covered, not sure why you are seeing this issue.
Check with refind website for known issues maybe? I would like to know if you have a step-by-step version of installing ubuntu I need the server side because I need to install a network emulator barebones. Like us, you may find the refind. Just because. What am I missing? Use the find command to search for it: If find returns 0 results, then the file is not there at all, then again, rEFInd is not installed properly.