How to Install MacOS / OSX on a Chromebook
The macOS is specific for Mac hardware so it’s not possible to install macOS as a replacement for the Chrome OS on your Chromebook. However, if you are technically inclined you can install macOS on a virtual machine.
Once again, the world proves that where there’s a will, there is a way. And even if you’re interested in macOS, there’s no sense in wasting the laptop that you already have on hand. Waste not, want not. If you’re technically inclined and want to give it a try, or just plain curious about how it works, read on.
You’ll need to take a few preliminary steps before you get down to installing and using macOS, and we’re going to instruct you on what needs to be done to get to that point.
Note that this project requires comfort with Linux and the command line as you’ll be installing the Ubuntu distribution of Linux in order to install a virtual machine on your Chromebook using VirtualBox. Then you’ll install macOS on the virtual machine using Linux on your Chromebook!
Ready, set, go!
Back up your Chromebook
As with any new installation, you’ll first want to make a recovery image of the current one installed for your model of Chromebook.
Even if you’re sure everything will go flawlessly, not having a recovery option is basically a guarantee that something will go wrong. There’s a rule that the time you don’t create a back up will be the time you will need a backup!
A recovery tool is available in the Chrome Web store.
You’ll also need the media you intend to use, such as a 4GB USB stick or 4GB SD card that’s wiped completely clean for the recovery image. Follow the instructions here to recover your Chromebook.
Install Ubuntu Linux First
To install the Ubuntu distribution of Linux, you will first need to get into the Chrome OS developer shell, Crosh.
- Press “ctrl + alt + t” on your Chromebook’s keyboard, which in turn opens Crosh in a new tab of your Chrome Browser.
- Next, type “shell.” Then, download the script that someone already wrote to make this process easier.
- Type “$ cd ~/Downloads/”
- Then, type “wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/divx118/crouton-packages/master/change-kernel-flags” and press “Enter” on your Chromebook keyboard.
- Then, you’ll get the script to execute itself by typing “sudo sh ~/Downloads/change-kernel-flags” and pressing “Enter” on your Chromebook keyboard.
- Now, you’re going to start up Ubuntu Linux by typing “sudo startunity.”
You’ll now be in Ubuntu Linux and need to open the terminal. Once you’re in the terminal in Ubuntu, you’ll download another script that sets up your headers. Be sure you’re located in the home directory.
- Type “cd ~.”
- Type “wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/divx118/crouton-packages/master/setup-headers.sh” and then press “Enter” on your Chromebook keyboard.
- Now, type “sudo sh setup-headers.sh” which executes that header script.
Install VirtualBox to Install macOS on a Virtual Machine
Navigate to this page to download Ubuntu 14.04 (trusty) AMD64 VirtualBox for Linux. Basically, it will let you emulate types of software.
- Then, in the download box, choose “Open with Ubuntu Software Center (default)” and click the “OK” button.
- In Ubuntu Software Center, click on the “Install” button.
After you’ve installed VirtualBox, you’re going to open it in Ubuntu Linux. You’re going to install a new virtual machine doing the following:
- In the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager, select “New.”
- Give your virtual machine a name like Mac. Then, click on the “Next” button.
- Now allocate the memory size for your VM, but stay within the green line; otherwise, your VM is going to have some operational issues such as crashing, which you don’t want happening. Click the “Next” button.
- Next, you’ll create a virtual disk image. The size recommendation is 20GB for the VM; you can use a USB flash drive if your Chromebook has less space than that available. Then, click the “Create” button.
- On the next screen, select “Create VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)” and click the “Next” button.
- Select a dynamically allocated hard disk file on the next screen and click the “Next” button.
- The final step in creating your Mac VM is selecting the file location for it and choosing the size you’d like it to be. Click the “Create” button once you’ve finished.
Mac VM VirtualBox Settings
When your Mac Virtual Machine gets created, you’ll want to go into “Settings” in the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager.
- Go to “System” and where it says “Extended Features,” uncheck “Enable EFI (special OSes only)” and uncheck “Hardware Clock in UTC Time.” Make sure the base memory falls within the green line.
- Then, click on the “Acceleration” tab. Where it says “Hardware Virtualization,” ensures that both the “Enable VT-x/AMD-V” and “Enable Nested Paging” are both checked “off.”
- In “Display,” you can use the maximum amount of video memory that’s available.
- The storage made for your Mac VM should be located where enough space is available either on your Chromebook, USB flash drive, or SD card.
- Next, in “Storage,” add an optical drive in “Controller: SATA,” and then you’ll click on “Choose disk” and navigate to the location where you have your Mac ISO file located.
Install and Use macOS on Your Chromebook
Start the macOS Virtual Machine in VirtualBox. This prompts the installation of macOS. Go to the Mac toolbar, then find and open “Disk Utilities.” In Disk Utilities, go to the virtual disk image, and then click on the “erase” button and make sure the format selected is “macOS journaled partition.”
Then, go back and choose the disk image you’ve just created and install macOS to it. It could take a while to install, especially if you’re doing it from a USB drive or SD card.
Now, reboot your Virtual Machine and remove the disk image (ISO) from your drive so you don’t accidentally start it and get back into the setup process.
You only need to go through this whole rigmarole once, and you don’t want to accidentally go through it again. After that, you’ll be able to use it as you normally would.
Enjoy your macOS Virtual Machine on your Chromebook! Let us know how things go with using it.
If you enjoyed this article, you might find other TechJunkie articles about Chromebook useful, including these:
- How To Block Websites on a Chromebook
- How To Install and Use Java On Chromebook [October 2019]
- The Best Touchscreen Chromebooks – October 2019
Do you have any tips or tricks for installing macOS on a Chromebook? If so, please leave us a comment below!