How to Install Linux on MacBook [Step by Step Guide]

MacOS is one of the best customized OS for better performance and it can easily beat Windows OS without any doubt. But when it comes to security then Linux always comes in mind before other OS. So if you are looking forward to getting Linux like Ubuntu on your Macbook or any other Mac product then this guide is for you. Here you will know how to install Linux on MacBook.

There are many known Linux distributions available but Ubuntu runs flawlessly on the MacBook. So here in this guide, we will share different methods to install Ubuntu on MacBook. We can also install Windows OS on MacBook but it doesn’t work very well because of unsupported hardware. I am a big fan of MacOS and the current macOS Catalina is really impressive but if you have the option to use both macOS and Linux then what could be better than this. How to Install Linux on MacBook

Linux has many distributions like Fedora and Ubuntu. Ubuntu comes with a user-friendly UI so many of the users like it. And we are going to install Ubuntu but if you want to install any other distribution then also you can follow this guide. The process of installing is the same for other Linux distributions. Lets now head towards the guide to install Linux.

How to Install Linux on MacBook

If you are familiar with the installation of OS then you probably know that there are many ways to install like a dual boot, installing in Virtual Machine and installing the OS separately. So we are going to cover at least two methods so that you can have an alternative if the first method didn’t work you can follow the second method. Let’s start with the first method to install Linux on MacBook or other Apple computers. How to Install Linux on MacBook

Method 1: Steps to Install Linux on MacBook

Here we are going to install Ubuntu as a single system on the MacBook. So if you prefer dual boot then follow the second method and skip this one.

  1. Download the Ubuntu OS from its official website. You can download the version with long term support.
  2. You need a tool to create a bootable drive so download Rufus for this. Rufus is available for Windows. If you don’t have a Windows PC then use Bootable Drive Maker tool which is available for Mac.
  3. Run Rufus on your PC as an administrator. Make sure Pen Drive is attached to your Windows PC.
  4. Click on the small disc icon (or SELECT in the newer version) just next to the ISO image drop down menu. And then load the downloaded Ubuntu iso file.
  5. Then click on Start and wait till it gives the success message.
  6. Once it is done take out the Pen Drive and connect to your MacBook.
  7. Now hold the Option button and press the Power button once. Keep holding the Option button till you see two boot options.
  8. Select the USB icon ‘EFI Boot’ and it will open the next screen and there choose ‘Install Ubuntu’ and press Enter.
  9. It will take you to the installation window. First, choose the language and click continue.
  10. Then select keyboard and continue, in the next one select Normal Installation and continue (Also check WiFi driver and graphics driver option).
  11. In installation type, choose the preferred option and click continue. Select the disk where you want to install and click Install Now.
  12. Wait for the installation and in between, you might have to restart the MacBook. So restart when it is required and that’s all.
  13. And finally, Ubuntu will be installed on your MacBook.

Note: If you find WiFi connectivity issue then connect with ethernet and update the OS if available. It will fix the issue.

So this way you can change to Linux from Mac OS. If in case you want to install Linux along with Mac OS as a dual boot then follow the below method.

Must Check | How to Fix Windows cannot be Installed to this Disk (GPT & MBR problem)

Method 2: Steps to Install Linux on MacBook (Dual Boot)

The dual boot has an advantage that you don’t have to remove macOS to use Linux. Also, you get to use the Linux OS with full hardware capabilities, not like Virtual Machine which uses some part of the hardware and it makes it slow. So follow the below step by step detailed guide.

Create Bootable Drive:

  1. Download the Ubuntu OS iso file that you want to install on your Macbook.
  2. Also, download Rufus tool if you have a Windows OS to make bootable drive. If you don’t have Windows OS then use Bootable Drive Maker tool on your Mac.
  3. Insert Pen Drive which you want to make bootable.
  4. To create a bootable drive open the tool that you have Rufus or Bootable Drive Maker and load the Ubuntu ISO file and click Start.

Create Drive Partition:

  1. Now you have the bootable drive, disconnect it and attach to MacBook in which you want to install Linux.
  2. In the MacBook or another computer where you want to install Linux, you need to create a partition that is necessary so you don’t install two OS on the same drive.
  3. Go to Disk Utility on your MacBook. Click on View and choose ‘Show All Devices’. Now select the primary internal drive.
  4. Then click on the Partition > Partition. Click on the ‘+’ icon to create a partition. Name the partition as Ubuntu and select ‘MS-DOS (FAT)’ in Format. Set the size of the partition as you want, more than 20GB.
  5. Again click on the ‘+’ icon to create a small Swap space more than the size of your RAM. Label it as Swap and select ‘MS-DOS (FAT)’ in Format. Remember the disk size of both Ubuntu and SWAP, it will help you with steps later.
  6. Then click on Apply > Partition and wait for the process.

Install Ubuntu on MacBook as Dual Boot:

  1. Restart your MacBook. When the screen goes off, press and hold the Option button. It will give options to select a drive to boot so select ‘EFI Boot’.
  2. In the next screen select ‘Try Ubuntu without installing’ and press enter.
  3. When it boots into Ubuntu you will find an installation file on homescreen, run the installation file. It will start the installation so first choose Language and then Keyboard layout.
  4. In the next window select Normal Installation and the last option for WiFi and graphics driver and click continue. In the Installation Type choose ‘Something else’ option > Continue.
  5. Look for the disk with the same space size that you created for Ubuntu and it should be in Fat32 type. Double click the correct one and in the Use as select ‘Ext4 journaling file system’. Select ‘format the partition’ and in Mount type ‘/‘ without inverted commas and click OK > Continue.
  6. Now look for the Swap which will also in the Fat32 type. It will be just above the Ubuntu drive or just below it. Double click on it and in Use as select ‘swap area’ and click OK.
  7. Then in the Device for boot loader installation drop down, select the device similar to your Ubuntu device. Like if Ubuntu device is /dev/sdb4 then select the same.
  8. After that click on Install Now > Continue. Select the time zone and other information and wait for the installation.
  9. Once the installation is complete click on Restart Now. It will ask you to remove bootable drive so remove it and press Enter.
  10. Go through the setup screen and connect to your WiFi network (visit here if WiFi not working). Then open a terminal window and enter the below command
    • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rodsmith/refind && sudo apt update && sudo apt install refind && sudo refind-mkdefault
  11. Now enter the Ubuntu password. Again press Enter when it asks. When it is done it will open Configuring refind and make sure it is Yes and press Enter.
  12. Wait till it’s done and then Reboot. When the screen turns off, press and hold the Option button till it shows drive or password window.
  13. Select ‘EFI Boot’. If the MacBook goes off press Power button and it will show reFind screen. In that screen select the macOS and press Enter.
  14. That’s all now you can use both Linux as well as MacOS on your MacBook.

It is a long guide but it is worth it. Now you can use any OS either Linux or macOS whenever you want.

So there you have it the complete guide on How to Install Linux on MacBook or any other Mac. If you get any error while installing the Linux then let us know in the comment section. We will assist you with installing the Linux on your MacBook.

Similar Guides:

Explore Stories


Photo of author

Ashutosh singh

Computer Science graduate and tech enthusiast. Love testing new tech gadgets ever since my first windows phone from Samsung. Working as a technical writer for more than five years, and I believe I have also developed good SEO skills. In my spare time, I like watching movies, and playing games.