With the introduction of Apple Silicon, the process to install Ubuntu on a MacBook has changed. Follow this updated guide for a successful installation on M1 and M2 series MacBooks.

Prerequisites

  1. Apple Silicon MacBook: M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max, or M2.
  2. A USB-C Drive: At least 16GB of storage capacity.
  3. Backup Your Data: Always back up your data before making changes to your system.
  4. Alternate OS Installation Tools: As of now, Apple Silicon MacBooks require special tools like Asahi Linux for running Linux.

Step 1: Prepare Your MacBook

Before starting the installation, ensure your MacBook is ready.

Update macOS: Ensure macOS is up-to-date.

  • Go to System Preferences > Software Update.

Backup Your Data: Use Time Machine or any other backup tool to secure your data.

Step 2: Create a Bootable Ubuntu USB Drive

  1. Download Ubuntu: Get the latest Ubuntu ARM64 ISO from the official website.
  2. Download Etcher: A reliable tool for creating bootable USB drives. Download it from Etcher’s website.
  3. Create Bootable USB:
  • Open Etcher.
  • Select the Ubuntu ARM64 ISO file.
  • Choose your USB drive.
  • Click Flash to create the bootable drive.

Step 3: Use Asahi Linux for Boot Management

Asahi Linux is a project aimed at porting Linux to Apple Silicon Macs. It provides necessary tools for boot management.

Install Asahi Linux Installer:

  • Open Terminal in macOS.
  • Install Homebrew if not already installed: /bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)"
  • Install Asahi installer: brew install asahilinux/asahi/asahi-installer
  • Run the installer: asahi-installer

Follow On-Screen Instructions:

  • The installer will guide you through repartitioning your disk and installing the Asahi Linux bootloader.
  • Choose the partition size and other options as prompted.

Step 4: Install Ubuntu

Boot from USB:

  • Insert the USB drive into your MacBook.
  • Restart your Mac and hold the Option key to enter the boot picker.
  • Select EFI Boot from the USB drive.

Begin Installation:

  • Choose Try Ubuntu to test it or Install Ubuntu to proceed with installation.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.

Allocate Space:

  • When asked about installation type, choose Something else.
  • Find the partition created for Linux (by Asahi installer).
  • Select it and click Change. Format it to ext4 and set the mount point to /.
  • Continue with the installation.

Install GRUB: The GRUB bootloader is essential for dual-booting.

  • Select the primary drive (usually /dev/nvme0n1) to install the GRUB bootloader.

Complete Installation: Follow the remaining instructions to complete the installation.

Step 5: Post-Installation Tweaks

  1. Restart Your Mac: After installation, restart your MacBook and hold the Option key to choose between macOS and Ubuntu.
  2. Fix Wi-Fi and Other Issues: As drivers for Apple Silicon are still in development, you may need to use Ethernet or external adapters for network connectivity initially.
  3. Install Additional Drivers: Use the Software & Updates utility in Ubuntu to install any additional drivers for your hardware.

Tips for a Smooth Experience

  • Stay Updated: Regularly update both macOS and Ubuntu to benefit from the latest fixes and features.
  • Follow Asahi Linux Project: Asahi Linux is an ongoing project. Keep an eye on their updates for improved support and features.
  • Backup Regularly: Regularly back up both macOS and Ubuntu to avoid data loss.

Conclusion

Installing Ubuntu on an Apple Silicon MacBook is a bit more involved due to the new architecture, but it is achievable with the help of projects like Asahi Linux. Follow these steps, and you’ll have a dual-boot setup running Ubuntu alongside macOS on your M1 or M2 MacBook.

By 9M2PJU

An amateur radio operator, military veteran, jack of all trades and master of none.

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