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Mac user here. I have two laptops, a late 2010 MacBook Air (Intel Core 2 duo) and a late 2011 MacBook Pro 17" (Intel i7). Having read about elementaryOS Freya, I thought I'd like to try installing it on an external USB to try it out as an alternative OS.

I downloaded both the 64bit and 32bit versions, as well as UNetbootin, and have followed the installation instructions on the website, installing it on a 32GB thumb drive and on an USB-2 External. I tried the 64bit on the MBP with the thumb drive, and the 32bit on the MBA using the external HD.

In each case the process seems to run through normally, to the point where it says I should re-boot holding down the option key, but it then gives me the warning that the Mac won't boot from a USB (not actually the case) and when I reboot holding down the Option key, as the website explains, the USB drives are not found.

How to proceed?

  • Can you select the USB drives in the BIOS (have no experience with Macs, therefore have no clue if they have something like a BIOS)? – arc_lupus Aug 27 '15 at 9:49
  • Thanks. I don't think Macs have a BIOS, they use another system, and I wouldn't like to play around with that as it would likely render my Macs unusable. – MRH Aug 27 '15 at 10:57
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Macs hasn't used BIOS for almost 10 years now, and are UEFI based.

I havn't used Unetbootin for years, but back then it didn't make the devices bootable, and it seems like this is still a bug.

Try find some other way to partition your USB drive.

The only method i know that always works is dd, but i do not recommend using it because if you do not know what you are doing you can potentially erase your whole computer which is not fun at all. If you are careful at each step it should work fine though, and Ubuntu has a guide which works well. So if you use this method, be very careful at step 8.

Good luck :)

EDIT: Also, use the 64bit version. It's better optimized for your computer.

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I have installed elementary OS Freya on a really old Macbook Pro (late 2006), but I had the same problem.

I eventually installed rEFInd to be able to dual boot elementary OS and Mac OS X and realized that USB sticks won't boot anything unless is a really recent Macbook, so you have to burn a DVD with the ISO file, manually partition the hard disk through Mac OS X's Disk Utility, reboot into rEFInd (which is done automatically as you install it) and finally select the DVD and install elementary OS.

This guide (which I personally followed) is more detailed: http://lifehacker.com/5934942/how-to-dual-boot-linux-on-your-mac-and-take-back-your-powerhouse-apple-hardware

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Thanks. I don't think Macs have a BIOS, they use another system, and I wouldn't like to play around with that as it would likely render my Macs unusable.

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