How to Install Macos in a Virtual Machine on Ubuntu Linux

Embracing the versatility of Ubuntu Linux doesn’t mean giving up on the sleekness of macOS. With virtual machine technology, you can run macOS within Ubuntu, providing a platform to access Mac-only applications, test software, or just explore the Apple operating system’s features. This process involves creating a virtual environment on your Ubuntu machine where macOS can be installed and run independently of your primary system.

how to install macos in a virtual machine on ubuntu linux

Prerequisites and Preparation

To successfully install macOS in a virtual machine on Ubuntu, there’s a bit of preparatory work involved. Knowing what you’re setting up and why is crucial. You’ll need to get the necessary software and gather macOS installation files. Let’s get ready to transform your Ubuntu system.

  1. Make Sure Your System Is Compatible: Check that your hardware supports virtualization and your CPU is equipped with Intel VT-x or AMD-V.
  2. Update Your System: Ensure your Ubuntu is up-to-date to avoid compatibility issues with newer software.
  3. Install VirtualBox: This software allows you to run virtual environments on your system.
  4. Download macOS Installer: You’ll need the installation files for the version of macOS you wish to install.
  5. Install Required Packages: Some additional packages and extensions might be necessary to ensure smooth operation.

Creating the Virtual Machine

Once the groundwork is laid, you’ll create a virtual machine (VM) to house macOS. Think of it like building a customized computer within your computer, tailored for macOS.

  1. Launch VirtualBox: Open the software from your Ubuntu application menu.
  2. Create a New VM: Follow the prompts to set up a new virtual environment, choosing ‘Mac OS X’ as the type and the macOS version you’re installing as the version.
  3. Allocate Resources: Dedicate enough RAM and CPU power without depriving your host system.

Configuring the Virtual Machine

Fine-tuning the VM’s settings ensures macOS will run smoothly and with the functionality you need.

  1. Adjust Display Settings: Increase the video memory for better graphics performance.
  2. Set Up a Virtual Hard Disk: Allocate ample storage for the macOS system and your applications, files, and data.
  3. Tweak Additional Settings: Configure network, audio, and USB controllers for compatibility with macOS.

Installing macOS

It’s showtime! With the VM prepared, you’ll proceed to the actual installation of macOS onto the virtual machine.

  1. Mount the Installer: Attach the macOS installer image to the VM as a virtual disc.
  2. Start the VM: Boot up your new virtual environment, and the installer should kick in.
  3. Follow Mac Installation Steps: Go through Apple’s standard installation process, adjusting settings as desired.

Post-Installation Configuration

After macOS hums to life on your VM, there may be some additional setup steps to optimize performance and usability.

  1. Install Guest Additions: These enhance the interaction between the host Ubuntu system and the guest macOS.
  2. Tweak Settings Within macOS: Just like on a new Mac, customize the settings to fit your needs.
  3. Set Up Shared Folders: Create a bridge between your main Ubuntu system and the VM for smooth file sharing.

Testing and Troubleshooting

Now your virtual macOS should be operational, but let’s run some checks to ensure everything is as it should be.

  1. Check Peripheral Connections: Verify that connected devices work within macOS.
  2. Run Software Updates: Make sure macOS is up to date, which can also solve some initial bugs.
  3. Perform a Stress Test: Push your VM a little to ensure stability under load.

Maximizing Your VM Experience

Here, you’ll learn tips for getting the most out of your macOS Virtual Machine.

  1. Learn VirtualBox Shortcuts: These can save time and streamline your workflow within the VM.
  2. Explore Snapshots: This feature allows you to save the state of your VM, letting you revert back if anything goes awry.
  3. Optimize Storage: Keep your virtual hard disk tidy to maintain performance.

Keeping Your Virtual macOS Secure

Security doesn’t take a backseat just because it’s a virtual machine.

  1. Keep the macOS VM Updated: Regular updates will help protect against vulnerabilities.
  2. Use Security Software: Consider installing antivirus software within macOS for an added layer of protection.
  3. Secure Shared Folders: Make sure the shared folder permissions between Ubuntu and macOS are correctly set to prevent unauthorized access.

When to Update Your Virtual macOS

Planning updates to your virtual macOS is just as important as managing other components.

  1. Time Your Updates: Learn when to apply macOS updates without disrupting your workflow.
  2. Backup Before Updating: Ensure you have a current snapshot or backup before undertaking any significant system update.


The process of installing macOS in a virtual machine on Ubuntu is an investment in flexibility and functionality. You gain the ability to run macOS applications, experiment with a different operating system, and much more, all within the secure, isolated environment of a VM. While it involves several detailed steps and some technical know-how, the benefits speak for themselves. You can test software, access Mac-exclusive features or simply explore a new OS without any risk to your primary Ubuntu system. The potential downsides mainly relate to resource allocation – a VM can consume significant RAM and CPU power, which might impact your Ubuntu machine’s performance. There’s also the legal consideration: Ensure you’re compliant with Apple’s software licensing terms, as running macOS on non-Apple hardware can be contentious legally.


Stepping into the world of virtual machines opens up a realm of possibilities. Installing macOS on your Ubuntu system not only enhances your tech skills but also bridges the gap between two powerful operating systems. With this guide, you’ve conquered the technical challenges and are ready to reap the benefits of this versatile setup. From running exclusive applications to gaining new insights into macOS, your technological horizon just got broader.


1. Can I legally install macOS on a virtual machine using Linux?
The legality of installing macOS on a virtual machine depends on the terms stipulated by Apple’s proprietary software licenses. Generally, Apple permits the installation of their operating systems on Apple-branded hardware only. However, for personal use or testing environments, people often proceed with installations on non-Apple hardware, although this is not officially endorsed by Apple.

2. What should I do if my virtual macOS is running slowly?
If your virtual macOS installation is running slowly, consider allocating more system resources like RAM or CPU if available, or reduce the load on your host system by closing unnecessary applications. Additionally, making sure that your virtual hardware settings are optimized for performance and that your guest macOS installation is up to date can also improve speeds.

3. How can I transfer files between the Ubuntu host and the macOS virtual machine?
You can transfer files by setting up shared folders within VirtualBox or using network file sharing methods like SMB. VirtualBox has built-in options for sharing folders, which can be configured in the virtual machine settings. Once set up, the shared folders will appear in macOS as if they were physically part of the VM’s storage.

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