I'm totally new in Linux and decided to switch to Elementary OS with my old macbook 4.1 (core2duo 2.4ghz) which is on OSX Lion. I "upgraded" it with a 500Go SSD and 4GB of ram lately but with the obsolescence of Lion OS, I wanted to give it a new life with Linux. And ElementaryOS seems to be the most classy and "macos-like" that i've seen.

I checked some install documentations (on the site of Elementary of course, youtube videos and here: https://github.com/aroman/elementary-on-a-mac#before-we-begin ). The Github process made me think that maybe Elementary OS won't work on my device. I think my macbook is on 64-bit EFI but how can I be sure? Should I give it a try?

Thanks for everyone who tries to help me.

2 Answers 2


Installing Linux on a Mac isn't quite as straightforward as installing it on an older Windows machine, and you need to make a few tweaks in the installation process. You'll need a USB Thumb stick (with at least 8GB of spare space). You will also lose your macOS/OS X installation (we don't recommend trying to dual-boot OS X and Linux, because they use different filesystems and there are many reported problems).

Be warned that you'll also lose your OS X Recovery Partition, so returning to OS X or macOS can be a more long-winded process, but we have instructions here on how to cope with this: How to restore a Mac without a recovery partition

Here's how to go about installing Linux on a Mac:

  1. Download your Linux distribution to the Mac. We recommend Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS if this is your first Linux install. Save the file to your Downloads folder.
  2. Download and install an app called Etcher from Etcher.io. This will be used to copy the Linux install .ISO file to your USB drive.
  3. Open Etcher and click the Settings icon in the top-right. Place a tick in Unsafe Mode and click Yes, Continue. Then Click Back.
  4. Click Select Image. Choose ubuntu-16.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso (or the image you downloaded in Step 1).
  5. Insert your USB Thumb Drive. A reminder that the US Flash drive will be erased during this installation process. Make sure you've got nothing you want on it.
  6. Click Change under Select Drive. Look carefully and pick the drive that matches your USB Thumb Drive in size. It should be /dev/disk1 if you only have a single hard drive in your Mac. Or /dev/disk2, /dev/disk3 and so on (if you have more drives attached). Do not pick /dev/disk0. That's your hard drive. Pick /dev/disk0 and you'll wipe your macOS hard drive You've been warned!
  7. Click Flash! Wait for the iso file to be copied to the USB Flash Drive. Remove the USB Flash Drive from your Mac.
  8. Shut down the Mac you want to install Linux on and attach the USB stick. Power up the Mac while holding down the Option key.
  9. Choose the EFI Boot option from the startup screen and press Return. You will see a black and white screen with options to Try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu. Don't choose either yet, press "e" to edit the boot entry.
  10. Edit the line that begins with Linux and place the word "nomodeset" after "quiet splash". The whole line should read: "linux /casper/vmlinuz.efi file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper quiet splash nomodeset --. (See screenshot, below.) Press F10.
  11. Ubuntu boots into trial mode.
  12. Double-click the icon marked "Install Ubuntu".
  13. Select English and choose Continue.
  14. Select "Install this third-party software" option and click Continue.
  15. Click Yes to the /dev/sdb alert.
  16. Select "Erase disk and install Ubuntu" and click Continue.
  17. Ensure that Select Drive is displaying the main hard drive. Click Install Now. Click Continue in the alert window.
  18. Select your location on the map and click Continue. Choosing your keyboard layout and click Continue.
  19. Enter the name and password you want to use.
  20. Click Continue and Linux will begin installing. When the installation has finished, you can log in using the name and password you chose during installation.
  21. Install Linux on a Mac using nomodeset

Above: Step 12

When you install Linux on your Mac, it removes all of the OS X installation including the recovery partition. If you want to reinstall OS X, you'll have to create an OS X recovery disk using the thumb stick.

  • Thank you for your answer, I will do it exactly as you said.
    – Aralis
    Commented Dec 3, 2018 at 9:42
  • Thanks for this tutorial. Before downloading Ubuntu 16.04.4 like they said, i tried one last time with Juno and it worked! Actually, i've got some issues with the drivers but it boot up and i can access to Elementary and that's a huge step :) Thank you again.
    – Aralis
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 8:46

I followed these instructions and was able to install Linux on an iMac. https://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/mac/how-install-linux-on-mac-3637265/

  • your welcome, Glad it worked for you. Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 9:54

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