Installing Kali Linux on Macbook / OSX / macOS

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 for Kali Linux. The model & year of the device will determine how successful your experience will be. Please check the above link for more details.

Putting in Kali Linux (Single boot) on Apple Mac {hardware} (corresponding to MacBook/MacBook Professional/MacBook Airs/iMacs/iMacs Professionals/Mac Professional/Mac Minis), generally is a straight ahead, if the {hardware} is supported. More often than not, there are a couple of points that come up, so there's a little bit of trial and error.

How to install Kali Linux on MacBook
MacBooks are made to be use with macOS/OSX. Apple created the operating system just for their hardware. Installing other OS on the hardware may be not stable as macOS.

This information will present you to interchange macOS/OS X with Kali Linux. Nonetheless, in case you want to hold macOS/OS X, it would be best to discuss with our dual-boot information as an alternative (Dual boot article will come shortly).

In our instance, we might be putting in Kali Linux on a Mac Mini (Mid 2011) utilizing macOS Excessive Sierra (10.13). The identical process has additionally been examined on a Mac E-book Air (Early 2014) utilizing macOS Catalina (10.15).

Installation Prerequisites

This guide will make the following assumptions:

  • We have read our single boot Kali Linux install guide, as this has the same Installation Prerequisites (System requirements, setup assumptions and install media).
  • 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.
      • We 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.

Note:- Now we will be wiping any existing data on the hard disk, so please backup any important information on the device to an external media.

Kali Linux Installation Procedure

  1. To start our installation, make sure we insert our Kali Linux installation medium and power on the device. Immediately press and hold the Option (or Alt) ⌥ key until we see the boot menu (rEFInd if installed, else the default macOS/OS X). We may or may not have a Recovery HD depending on our macOS/OS X setup.

Mac OSX reccovery menu


  1. When the boot menu appears, if everything works as expected, we 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 we 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.
We may wish to install rEFInd, as it is a boot manager, and try it again.

Even though Kali Linux is based on Debian, macOS/OS X always detects non-EFI boot media as Windows. We suggest to 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.

EFI boot volume

Kali Linux Installation Procedure

  1. The installation procedure from this point onwards is the same as our Kali Linux Hard Disk install guide.

  2. After that is complete, all that is to do a reboot, take out the installation media, and enjoy our Kali Linux & hack the world.

Troubleshooting macOS/OS X

If we have issues installing Kali Linux on macOS/OS X, there are a few options we can try:

  • Install the latest version of macOS/OS X (App store, Recovery or USB) and applying any updates as this may upgrade the firmware.
  • Install rEFInd boot manager to replace the default boot manager.
  • If we’re using a DVD, refresh rEFInd once the drive has stop spinning by pressing ESC.
  • Switch from EFI to BIOS boot when trying to boot Kali Linux.
  • Switch from GPT drive to Hybrid MRB drive (using the Live image may help).

Post Installation

Now we’ve completed installing Kali Linux on Macbook, it’s time to customize our Kali Linux system.

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Kali Linux

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