How to install & set up Linux on a Mac

How do I install and configure Linux on a Mac?

Linux is an attention-grabbing and barely lesser identified working system – though ’s tech savvy readers will most likely know a minimum of a little about it. In the twin world of Windows vs Apple, Linux sits on 1 facet, powers severe servers, and is utilized by software program builders.

There are many good causes to be fascinated with Linux. Like Mac macOS, it has a legacy with Unix (or a minimum of a Unix clone referred to as GNU). Some Linux desktops, corresponding to Ubuntu Unity, are comparable in nature to the Aqua person interface (utilized in macOS).

Linux can also be extremely versatile, designed to run on the whole lot from mobile phones to supercomputers. This makes it ultimate for set up on older computers, such because the previous polycarbonate MacBooks. These will not even use the newest model of Mac OS X, not to mention macOS. But they may run an up-to-date model of Ubuntu Linux without fear.

Linux is liked by builders, and rightly so. If you want coding it may be nice going to Linux. It turns out macOS is (in some ways) higher than Windows for software program improvement, however, Linux is even more comfy to work in.

The open-source nature ensures that code is freely shared, and applications and options are sometimes simply an “apt” eliminated (don’t fret, you will learn what apt is later).

Apple Macs are nice Linux machines. You can install it on any Mac with an Intel processor, and should you stick to 1 of many bigger variations, you’ll have little bother with the set up course of.

Get this: You may even install Ubuntu Linux on a PowerPC Mac (the previous kind with G5 processors). And we’re not speaking about an previous model of Linux. We are speaking about Ubuntu 16.04 (and even the newest beta of 16.10). Both can be found as PowerPC picture files thanks to fairly lively group assist and the request to use previous G5 Macs as servers.

Also see:

Parallels, VMware, VirtualBox and Boot Camp in contrast

Parallels Desktop for Mac evaluate

How to install Linux on a Mac: which model of Linux to select

The very first thing to know is that there are totally different variations of Linux. These are referred to as “distributions” and every provide a totally different expertise. Which 1 you select relies upon on what sort of expertise you need. Here are some to select from:

  • Ubuntu. This is the preferred alternative for newcomers and it makes use of a desktop interface referred to as Unity, which could be very comparable to macOS. It might be the very best place to begin.
  • Linux Mint. This has not too long ago triggered waves and is a nice various to Ubuntu. You can select a vary of desktops (Cinnamon or MATE are the preferred). While Unity appears like OS X, Mint feels a bit more like Windows.
  • Kubuntu. This combines the Ubuntu model of Linux with 1 other desktop referred to as KDE Plasma. The desktop is usually thought of to be more highly effective and positively has many more options.
  • Debian. It’s a bit more advanced to set up than Ubuntu or Mint. But Debian affords many options and is broadly utilized in server software program.
  • Fedora. This tends to be on the forefront of know-how, and you may typically find options right here that make their method to different distributions (and even macOS) down the road. However, it crashes a lot and is not nice for newcomers.

We suggest that you just begin with Ubuntu, nevertheless it’s fairly simple to install all of the totally different variations of Linux and nothing prevents you from making an attempt all 3 (and more) earlier than settling on the 1 you need.

Install Linux on a Mac: use virtualization software program

By far the easiest way to install Linux on a Mac is to use virtualization software program, corresponding to VirtualBox or Parallels Desktop. Since Linux can run on previous {hardware}, it’s normally positive to run in a digital surroundings inside OS X.

VirtualBox is a free surroundings, though Parallels Desktop is more highly effective and simpler to install, so we suggest utilizing Parallels Desktop for Mac first. A 14-day free trial is offered at Follow these steps to install Linux on a Mac with Parallels Desktop.

  1. Download a Linux distribution file and reserve it in your Downloads folder. The file has the extension “.iso”. Click right here to download Ubuntu.
  2. Open Parallels Desktop and select File> New.
  3. Choose Install Windows or 1 other working system from a DVD or picture file. Click Continue.
  4. Parallels robotically finds all appropriate ISO files on your system. Highlight Ubuntu Linux (or the 1 you need to install) and click on Continue.
  5. Complete the Full Name, Username, Password, and Verify Password fields. Click Continue.
  6. The virtualization file is saved to your Users folder by default. Click Location if you would like to change it, in any other case simply click on Continue.

Parallels installs Linux within the digital surroundings. Click it within the Parallels Desktop Control Center to use it.

How to install Linux on a Mac: Replace OS X / macOS with Linux

Running Linux in a digital surroundings is all nicely and good, however, should you’re a more skilled Linux person, it’s your decision to utterly change OS X and use solely Linux. If so, free up more of the computer assets and get a nice Linux machine.

Installing Linux on a Mac isn’t as simple as putting in it on an older Windows machine, and also you want to make a few changes within the set up course of. You want a USB thumbstick (with a minimum of 8 GB of free area). You’ll additionally lose your macOS / OS X set up (we do not suggest making an attempt OS X and Linux dual-boot as they use totally different file techniques and there are lots of reported points).

Be warned that additionally, you will lose your OS X restoration partition, so reverting to OS X or macOS will be a longer course of, however, we’ve directions right here on how to cope with it: Recovering a Mac without restoration partition

Here’s how to install Linux on a Mac:

  1. Download your Linux distribution to the Mac. We suggest Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS if that is your first Linux set up. Save the file in your Downloads folder.
  2. Download and install an app referred to as Etcher from This is used to copy the .ISO file for Linux set up to your USB drive.
  3. Open Etcher and click on on the Settings icon within the prime proper nook. Place a check in unsafe mode and click on Yes, proceed. Then click on Back.
  4. Click Select Image. Choose ubuntu-16.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso (or the picture you downloaded in step 1).
  5. Insert your USB stick. As a reminder, the US flash drive might be erased throughout this set up course of. Make positive you do not have something on it.
  6. Click Change underneath Select station. Take a good look and select the disk that matches the dimensions of your USB Thumb Drive. It ought to be / dev / disk1 should you solely have a single arduous drive in your Mac. Or / dev / disk2, / dev / disk3 and so on (in case you have more disks hooked up). Do not select / dev / disk0. That’s your arduous drive. Choose / dev / disk0 and also you wipe your macOS arduous disk You have been warned!
  7. Click Flash! Wait for the ISO file to be copied to the USB flash drive.
  8. Remove the USB flash drive out of your Mac.
  9. Shut down the Mac on which you need to install Linux and plug within the USB stick.
  10. Turn on the Mac whereas holding down the Option key.
  11. Choose the EFI Boot choice from the boot display screen and press Return.
  12. You will see a black and white display screen with choices to attempt Ubuntu and install Ubuntu. Choose neither but, press “e” to edit the startup merchandise.
  13. Edit the road beginning with Linux and put the phrase “nomodeset” after “quiet splash”. The entire line ought to read: “linux /casper/vmlinuz.efi file = / cdrom / preseed / ubuntu.seed boot = casper quiet splash nomodeset -. (See screenshot under.)
  14. Press F10.
  15. Ubuntu boots in trial mode.
  16. Double-click the icon marked “Install Ubuntu”.
  17. Select English and select Continue.
  18. Select the “Install this third-party software” choice and click on Continue.
  19. Click Yes for the / dev / sdb warning.
  20. Select “Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu” and click on Continue.
  21. Make positive that Select Drive shows the main arduous drive. Click Install Now. Click Continue within the warning window.
  22. Select your location on the map and click on Continue.
  23. Choose your keyboard structure and click on Continue.
  24. Enter the title and password you need to use.
  25. Click Continue and Linux will begin putting in.
  26. When the set up is full, you possibly can log in with the title and password you selected throughout the set up.

Above: Step 12

Installing Linux on your Mac will take away all OS X set up, together with the restoration partition. To reinstall OS X, you want to create an OS X restoration disc with the thumbstick.