Macos Dual Boot Linux


IMPORTANT! Newer Mac hardware (e.g. T2/M1 chips) do not run Linux well, or at all. This is true for Linux in general, not just Kali Linux.
The model & year of the device will determine how successful your experience will be.

  1. Macos Dual Boot Linux Command
  2. Macbook Dual Boot Linux
  3. Macos Dual Boot Linux Download
  4. Mbp Dual Boot Linux

Tutorial to set up multi-boot of Windows, Mac and Linux using Clover and EasyUEFI. Download Clover from Clover's official website, and unzip it if it is a compressed package. Download, install and run EasyUEFI, click the button, and then click the button. Dual boot macOS rEFInd ubuntu This is step by step guide to install Ubuntu on Mac in dual boot configuration without using rEFInd or any 3rd party tools. I assume you have created a bootable Ubuntu USB flash drive installer and have verified the contents. Boot Camp is a great feature of mcOS, but it won't help you install Linux. To do that we're going to use a tool called rEFInd. REFInd is a boot manager that will help you install Linux and switch between the operating systems easily.

This guide will show you to dual-boot macOS/OS X with Kali Linux using rEFInd boot manager. If you wish to replace macOS/OS X completely, please refer to our single boot Kali on Mac hardware guide.

By using using the 3rd party boot manager rEFInd(a fork of rEFIt) we are able to increase our control when booting over macOS/OS X OS’s default option. This makes it perfect for dual booting, as a keyboard shortcut does not need to be used every time the device is powered on to boot Kali Linux. rEFInd also has the advantage of helping older hardware to boot from USB devices that would not be able to otherwise (e.g. non-EFI). Once Kali Linux has been installed, rEFInd can be customized to be hidden during boot or removed completely.

In our example, we will be installing Kali Linux on a Mac Mini (Mid 2011) using macOS High Sierra (10.13). The same procedure has also been tested on a Mac Book Air (Early 2014) using macOS Catalina (10.15).

Installation Prerequisites

This guide will make the following assumptions:

  • You have read our single boot Kali Linux install guide, as this has the same Installation Prerequisites (System requirements & setup assumptions).
  • When downloading Kali Linux, pick the live image, rather than the installer option.
  • A single disk to install to (rather than a dedicated disk per operating system).
  • Currently running macOS/OS X 10.7 or higher (later versions are more preferred) as this means the hardware is Intel (and not a PowerPC CPU).
  • Depending on the Mac hardware model & year, you may find:
    • Different results when trying to boot by using either a CD/DVD or a USB drive.
      • You may be able to increase the chances of booting (especially older hardware and non-EFI) from a USB drive by having rEFInd pre-installed.
    • When using the graphical installer, you may notice the tracepad does not function (but will after Kali Linux is installed).
    • In-built wireless may not work, as firmware-b43-installer is not included in the default images.

We need to use a different image from the single boot Kali Linux install guide, as we need the live image. This is because we need to edit the disk structure without mounting any partitions (otherwise they would be in-use). After we have finished altering the disk layout, we can still install Kali Linux using the live image, but there will be a few differences such as:

Macos dual boot linux
  • Changing or removing the desktop environment.
  • Installing or removing any metapackages.

Both of these can be addressed post installation, as it saves swapping to the installer image (as you will need either multiple CD/DVD/USBs or to re-image half way though).

This installation has the potential to go wrong very easily as it involves editing existing partitions. Be aware of what partitions you are modifying and where you are installing Kali Linux to.
Having a backup of your macOS/OS X files available is a good idea in the event something goes wrong.

Resize macOS/OS X Procedure

Before we can install Kali Linux, there needs to be room on the hard disk. Depending on the format of the macOS/OS X partition, will depend on what method you need todo.

  • If macOS/OS X Sierra (10.12) and earlier, it will be Mac OS Extended (HFS+).
    • You can resize using GParted in from a Kali Linux live session
  • Since macOS/OS X High Sierra (10.13) and later, the default will be Apple File System (APFS).
    • You can resize in a normal macOS/OS X session, or in recovery mode (recommended).


  1. To start resizing, make sure you insert your Kali Linux installation medium and power on the device. Immediately press and hold the Option (or Alt) ⌥ key until you see the boot menu (rEFInd if installed, else the default macOS/OS X).You may or may not have a Recovery HD depending on your macOS/OS X setup.
  1. When the boot menu appears, if everything works as expected, you should see two volumes:
  • EFI Boot - Newer hardware which support UEFI. It is common for GUID Partition Table (GPT) partitions to be used.
  • Windows - “Non-EFI” boot. This use on older hardware which uses BIOS. You often see Master Boot Record (MBR) partition tables here.

If you only see one volume (EFI Boot), then the installation media is not supported for this device. This could be because the age of the firmware on the device.
You may wish to install rEFInd, as it is a boot manager, and try again.

Even though Kali Linux is based on Debian, macOS/OS X always detects non-EFI boot media as Windows. We suggest that you select the EFI Boot volume to continue. However, if the installation hangs at this point, power cycle and select Windows (Being Kali Linux non-EFI/BIOS). The success depends on the Mac hardware’s model & year.

  1. You should be greeted with the Kali Linux boot screen. Select Live, and you should be booted into the Kali Linux default desktop.
  1. Now launch GParted, which we’ll use to shrink the existing macOS/OS X partition to give us enough room to install Kali Linux in the free space.
  1. Once GParted has opened, select your macOS/OS X partition & resize it leaving enough space (we recommend at least 20 GB) for the Kali Linux installation.

Depending on your setup, it is often the second option (the largest partition). In our example, there are three partitions:

  • The EFI upgrade partition (/dev/sda1)
  • macOS/OS X’s main operating system (/dev/sda2)
  • System Recovery (/dev/sda3)

If you are moving past into any non-white in the partition then you are editing a section that is in use.
Only remove from the area of the partition that is not in use.
It is alright to leave the third partition (/dev/sda3), and only shrink the actual install (/dev/sda2).

If you wish to organize the partition to group all the macOS/OS X partitions together, placing the free space at the end, you may do so.

  1. Once you have resized your macOS/OS X partition, ensure you “Apply All Operations” on the hard disk. Exit gparted and reboot.


This can be doing using either the command line, or graphical (using Disk Utility). Both option support resizing in a “normal” session, or booting into recovery mode. Using recovery mode, means the drive is not in use, so would reduce of the chances of issues. We would also recommend using the command line method, as it allows for a empty partition to be created which simplifies the setup process later on.

  1. To get to command line access: Spotlight->Terminal

  2. By using diskutil list, we can see our disk we want to resize is disk0s2, and it is ~500GB.

  1. We want to reduce the 500GB to be 400GB. This would give Kali Linux 100GB (we recommend at least 20 GB).
  1. Quickly checking diskutil list again, we can see it has been successful.

Kali Linux Installation Procedure

  1. The installation procedure from this point onwards is similar to a Kali Linux Hard Disk install, until the point of the partitioning.At this point, you need to select “Guided - use the largest continuous free space(rather than “Guided - the entire disk”) which got created earlier with gparted.

Do not forget you may need to press and hold the Option (or Alt) ⌥ key during the startup to see the boot menu (unless you have rEFInd installed).

  1. You can carry on following the single boot Kali Linux install guide, expect you will not have the option to select desktop environment or metapackages as you are using the live image. Once the installation is done, reboot.

By default, macOS/OS X will boot into itself, rather than any other operating system/install media. As we have done it already a few times, you need to hold the Option (or Alt) ⌥ key. Whilst this “works”, but its not ideal as it is easy to not boot anything other tha macOS/OS X. Enter rEFInd, a replacement boot manager (which can also have themes applied).

Installing rEFInd

rEFInd is a boot manager, replacing the limiting default one with macOS/OS X, allowing for greater options. It can be installed either before or after Kali Linux’s installation, as well as from macOS/OS X or Kali Linux.

Since the release of macOS/OS X El Capitan (10.11), an additional security feature got introduced, System Integrity Protection (SIP). To install rEFInd using macOS/OS X, this first needs to be one-time bypassed (recommended), or disabled. Alternatively rEFInd can be installed using Kali Linux (we recommended todo so after when Kali Linux is installed rather than using live mode).

Installing rEFInd using macOS/OS X

rEFInd cannot easily be downloaded when in recovery mode, as there is limited space and tools/libraries available (e.g. curl does not support https). As a result, we will download rEFInd inside of a normal macOS/OS X session and afterwards reboot to recovery mode to install.

At the time of this writing, the latest version of rEFInd is 0.12.0.

  1. We will start off by downloading rEFInd, check its a valid zip file, and then extract.
  1. We are going to restarting macOS/OS X, and press the Command (⌘) and R keys at the same time, until you see a boot logo. At this point, if there is a firmware password, you will need to enter it in order to continue.

This will bypass SIP by using macOS/OS X’s Recovery System version which is in-built to the firmware (so no Internet connection is required).

  1. When recovery mode has fully loaded, from the menu: Utilities->Terminal.
  1. Afterwards, we need to navigate to the extracted folder.

The path will be different, as its based on the label of the hard disk (in our case, Macintosh HD) and username (username) and version of rEFInd (0.12.0)

  1. Execute shell script refind-install.

Even though we are in recovery, where SIP is not running, rEFInd still believes it is. We will overwrite this.

  1. Reboot macOS/OS X. From the menu: Apple->Restart.
  1. Upon restart you should see the new boot manager, rEFInd.

Installing rEFInd using Kali Linux

rEFInd is also included with Kali Linux. We can quickly install it by doing the following:

During the installation, you will get a prompt saying about automatically running rEFInd. We recommend you press yes, otherwise you will need to run sudo dpkg-reconfigure refind (or sudo refind-install) afterwards.

Upon restart you should see the new boot manager, rEFInd.

Configuring rEFInd

If you wish, you can alter rEFInd in various ways now, including:

  • The default OS selection
  • Timeout for menu selection
  • Direct boot into the default OS (Note, by pressing Option (or Alt) ⌥ key during boot, you will have a one-time boot menu).
  • Adding custom icons/themes.


macOS/OS X El Capitan

If you wish to make any of these alterations, this can be done by editing rEFInd’s configuration file. If you are using macOS/OS X El Capitan (10.11) or later, you need to mount the EFI boot volume first to access the file. This is done by doing the following.

macOS/OS X Yosemite

If you are using macOS/OS X Yosemite (10.10) or earlier, the configuration file is located here as no mounting is required.

Kali Linux

On Kali Linux, the configuration file is found in the following location.

Post Installation

Now that you’ve completed installing Kali Linux, it’s time to customize your system.

The General Use section has more information and you can also find tips on how to get the most out of Kali Linux in our User Forums.

Are you familiar with the concept of “habit fields”? They’re these magical auras we give to everyday objects, assigning them purpose and allowing us to focus our awareness to accomplish tasks faster. But habit fields can work against you as well, if you’re not careful:

If you’ve been trying to do everything from one place and one device, then you may need to make a conscious decision to divide different modes of behavior.

Jack Cheng, Habit Fields (2010)

One device you may be trying to do everything from one place is the MacBook Pro. With the beefy specs on the flagship Apple notebook it can be easy to piledrive too many activities all into one place, affecting your Mac’s habit field.

But there’s a trick you can use to divide different modes of behavior on a Mac. And that’s to add a second operating system and dual-boot. Here’s how to install and dual-boot Manjaro Linux alongside macOS on a MacBook Pro.

Update 2020-Aug-15: Updated article to remove Mojave-specific references. And though I have not personally tested Manjaro alongside Catalina or Big Sur as I use Arch now the instructions should here should still work fine.
Update 05-Nov-19: Here’s a similar article for a more opinionated installation if you’re into tiling window managers like i3. Hat tip to Briain in After Dark Hugo for bringing this to my attention.

You don’t need to make any permanent changes to your Mac to try Manjaro. In fact, all you really need is a reasonably-sized thumb drive, balenaEtcher and a few gigs of bandwidth to download and try one of the 11 different editions:

For people who want a reliable and fast desktop…
Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly. Xfce embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that provide the full functionality one can expect of a modern desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick among the available packages to create the optimal personal working environment.
For people who want a modern and very flexible desktop…
KDE is a feature-rich and versatile desktop environment that provides several different styles of menu to access applications. An excellent built-in interface to easily access and install new themes, widgets, etc, from the internet is also worth mentioning. While very user-friendly and certainly flashy, KDE is also quite resource heavy and noticably slower to start and use than a desktop environment such as XFCE. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running KDE uses about 550MB of memory.
For people who look for a traditional desktop…
This edition is supported by the Manjaro community and comes with Cinnamon, a desktop based on modern technology that keeps known and proven concepts.
For power users and developers…
This edition is supported by the Manjaro community and comes with openbox, a highly configurable, next generation window manager with extensive standards support…
For power users and developers…
This edition is supported by the Manjaro community and comes with Awesome, a highly configurable, next generation framework window manager for X.
For people who want a simple an elegant desktop…
This edition is supported by the Manjaro community and comes with Budgie, the desktop of the Solus project. Budgie focuses on providing a simple-to-use and elegant desktop that fulfills the needs of a modern user.
For people who look for a traditional experience…
This edition is supported by the Manjaro community and comes with Mate, a desktop environment that continues the legacy of traditional user experience while carefully improving and modernizing it when needed. This preview is not suitable for production environment.
For people who want a tiling window manager…
This edition is supported by the Manjaro community and comes with i3, a tiling window manager.
For people who want to configure Manjaro from the ground up…
Manjaro-Architect is a fork of the famous Architect Linux installer by Carl Duff, that has been modified to install Manjaro instead of Arch Linux. It is a netinstaller that downloads always the latest packages, so your system is always up to date after installation, regardless of how old your install media is.
For people who want a simple and elegant desktop…
This edition is supported by the Manjaro community and comes with the Deepin desktop that provides a very beginner-friendly and elegant experience.
For people who want a simple and elegant desktop…
This edition is supported by the Manjaro team and comes with the GNOME 3 desktop that breaks with traditional concepts and allows users to focus on their tasks. Desktop-specific applications are crafted with care and clearly defined by guidelines that make them more consistent to use.

Once you’ve selected an edition go ahead and etch it to the thumb drive, reboot and hold Option during start-up to dual-boot from USB as described here.

Tip: Not sure which edition to choose? Download a few and spin them up in aVirtualBox virtual machine to give yourself a rough idea of look-and-feel.

Note: If you boot into macOS with the etched thumb drive inserted you’ll see an alert dialog indicating the disk you inserted was not readable along with three buttons. Choose Ignore to dismiss the dialog or remove the drive.

After test driving a few I selected Cinnamon (later switching to Deepin).

Macos Dual Boot Linux Command

Once you’ve settled on an edition you can dual-boot it alongside macOS directly from your Mac’s internal hard disk – no special tooling required.1

Note: Macs with a T2 chipwill require additional work to run Linux.

While booting from disk isn’t strictly necessary doing so will give you a better opportunity to form a strong habit field given its permanence and the steps required to get there: the first of which is creating a backup.

Macbook Dual Boot Linux

Create System Backup

Before making any changes to your Mac’s internal hard disk take the time to create a proper backup of macOS. In doing so you’ll likely uncover many things you don’t need. Get rid of or archive as much of them as you can.

Important: Don’t skimp out here or attempt to dodge this step due to sloth.

Purging clutter will improve your machine’s existing habit field even before you begin to realize the additional benefits received after installing Manjaro.

Shrink Macintosh HD Volume

With your back-up complete use the macOS Disk Utility app to Partiton your Macintosh HD volume, adding a new partition to make space for Manjaro. Several suggestions I saw online lobbied for a 20–25 GB partition for *nix distros. I’d say 20–25 GB is reasonable… if you plan to run out of space in two months.

Depending on your intentions, and unless this is a test installation, aim for 20% or so of your SSD to give yourself ample room to grow into Manjaro:

When you Apply the new partition Disk Utility will automatically shrink your Macintosh HD volume. Go ahead and do that now or before proceeding, selecting FAT or ExFAT as the Format option and considering any alerts presented.

Note: Shrinking the Macintosh HD volume on a 500 GB SSD with FileVault enabled on a mid-2015 MacBook Pro may take 15–20 minutes to complete.
Caution: If resizing your boot partition connect your MacBook to external power and do not power off your device until the resizing is complete.

When the operation is finished you’ll receive the result and a log:

If successful, confirm the size and format of the new partition:


When everything looks good proceed to install Monjaro to the disk.

Install Manjaro to Apple SSD

To install Manjaro to the to internal drive partition boot once more from USB, connect to the Internet and run Install Manjaro using the optical disk icon 💿 on the Manjaro desktop as shown here:

Complete the installer wizard up to the Partitions section then:

  • Choose the Replace a parition option
  • Select the new partition created while shrinking (i.e. 100 GB partition)
  • Check the Encrypt system checkbox and enter a password

You should end up seeing something like this:

From there complete the rest of the wizard, review the summary, and then click Install followed by Install now. Installation should complete in 5–10 minutes.

When installation is finished you will be notified with an All Done message:

Then restart your computer as you would normally (power cycle if needed) and brace yourself for a black screen with some text that looks like this:

Macos Dual Boot Linux Download

LUKS encrypted filesystem pre-boot authentication

Oh snap you bricked your Mac!

Mbp Dual Boot Linux

Just kidding. That’s LUKS pre-boot authentication prompting you for the password to your encrypted volume. Enter the password set during Manjaro installation and press Enter

You’ll see Slot 0 opened briefly flash on the screen before being transported to your new Manjaro desktop following a short boot sequence:

And with that you’ve completed installing Manjaro to your Apple SSD.

Select Your Boot Option

If you’d like to boot into macOS hold the Option key during system boot and select Macintosh HD. To boot to into Manjaro simply enter your LUKS password after restarting your computer. And if for some reason this isn’t feasible for you you now know everything you need to reinstall Manjaro without encryption.

Some MacBooks have an Apple T2 Security Chip which you may need to deactivate in order to use Linux. See About Security on Apple Support for more info.

WARNING: Some 15-inch MacBook Pro units have abattery recall due to overheating which could present a fire safety risk during general use.

If you run into any hiccups with Manjaro there’re a bevy of resources on the Manjaro Wiki and a modern, easy-to-use support forum.

After 3 months using Cinnamon I decided to switch to Manjaro Deepin by following the above steps to create a second 150GB, non-encrypted disk partition:

Deepin offers the same Adapta Nokto Eta Maia theme Cinnamon was previously defaulting too, but does you one better by offering a Deepin UI theme which is superior IMO. Regardless of which you choose Deepin offers a much more polished and user-friendly interface than any other Linux DE I’ve ever seen.

Tip: Making this change required additonal disk space, which was made available by reformatting the macOS partition once a reasonable amount of confidence was gained with a thorough macOS system back-up.

In fact, I love Deepin so much I made a quick video using its screen recording tool showing how it can be modified to look like Windows, macOS or GNOME:

If you like what you see, give Deepin a try. Though I cannot personally recommend their distro given its limited amount of software – a solved problem with Manjaro.

In this tutorial I covered the concept of habit fields and how to create one by dual-booting Manjaro Linux alongside macOS on a MacBook Pro. I then weighed in on my experiences after 3 months of using Manjaro to describe how it affected me.

Not only will dual-booting increase the utility and enjoyment of your Mac, your new Manjaro operating system will give you the ability to focus your awareness and get creative with your MacBook in ways you never before imagined possible.

If you’re a developer using an Apple machine, you owe it to yourself to step outside your comfort zone and see what else is out there. Linux has come a very long way over the last 10 years and it’s only getting better.

  1. Some sources may suggest using a tool like rEFInd to dual-boot Linux on Mac. In my experience using a separate boot manager was not necessary. ↩︎