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.

How to Install MacOS / OSX on a Chromebook

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.

Chromebook Recovery Util

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.  Crosh
  • Next, type “shell.” Then, download the script that someone already wrote to make this process easier.
  • Type “$ cd ~/Downloads/”
  • Then, type “wget” 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.

  1. Type “cd ~.”
  2. Type “wget” and then press “Enter” on your Chromebook keyboard.
  3. Now, type “sudo 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.                                                   Ubuntu Software Center

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:

  1. In the Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager, select “New.”
  2. Give your virtual machine a name like Mac. Then, click on the “Next” button.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. On the next screen, select “Create VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)” and click the “Next” button.
  6. Select a dynamically allocated hard disk file on the next screen and click the “Next” button.
  7. 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:

Do you have any tips or tricks for installing macOS on a Chromebook? If so, please leave us a comment below!

26 thoughts on “How to Install MacOS / OSX on a Chromebook”

E says:
I can’t set the setup headers with the command “sudo sh”. My computer spits out the error “Your kernel version 4.4.217-17387-g30584173746a with architecture amd64 is not supported”.

I am using an Acer Chromebook Spin 11 (it has an intel processor) and trying to just go to the terminal and typing “sudo apt-get install virtualbox” would install it but I would later get an error telling me that i’m missing virtualbox drivers in some location.

I don’t know what to do next.

Pedro says:
Wont Happen, chrome is is based on Gentoo/Pentoo linux, inst based and debian and have locked inmutable kernel. The delevelopers team just added a croutoun is more like a container inside the chrome with it run Debian SID, and only some models can by enable linux.
Kayla says:
I tried typing wget and it didnt work so i used “curl” and i got 400: invalid request. what do i do?
Tatijana Y Simmons says:
Hello, will doing this allow me to use iMovie or final cut pro?
Anonymous Person says:
yes it will
ethan says:
I’m thinking about doing it but does it work on Chromebook r11?
Jake says:
when i type “wget“, it says “bash: wget: command not found”
Grace Morrison says:
Try “curl” instead of “wget” and leave the url the same.
vserralta says:
Hi, thanks for the tutorial.
Could it be possible to record a video of it?
It would be amazing!
Adam Hurwitz says:
I will test this out on the new Pixelbook 2 once it is released. I’m wondering if the keyboard, wifi, and other components will work. Does any have thoughts on this?
JD says:
Has anyone tried this on a Pixelbook? What is the performance like? Can the Mac App Store be accessed and utilized? Are there any Cons to running a MacOS Virtual Machine on a Chromebook?
Adam Hurwitz says:
@JD – I will be testing this out on the new Pixelbook 2 once it launches this month.
Sam says:
Can you run applications compatible with the Mac operating system with this?
Liam says:
Yes. If you are running OSX, you can run OSX programs on it.
Ogre says:
Which Chrome Books are compatible for this? I would like to use an Acer C710 So I can upgrade RAM/HD. Not willing to loose WiFi/Mouse/Keyboard capabilities.
poop says:
how do you get developer mode?
Bertil says:
when i write “Shell.” my chrush say “ERROR: unknown command: shell.”
plzz help me i can`t do anyfing on this chromebook
Matt says:
you have to go in to developer mode
alex says:
step one: Hold esc + reload (circular arrow thingy)+ power

Step two: wait till white screen that says ‘varification blah-blah)

step three: press control + D

step four: hit ‘enter’

step five: press control + D

step six: wait… for a few mins….


note: this will have to erase all your data in the Chromebook… bye : )

Nathan says:
Do still have the option to run chrome os if you feel like and additionally what happens when you turn your pc off and back on does it still run OS? or Chrome OS?
Sanmay says:
Is the mac thing temporary? Or is it forever?
Joshua says:
No you can switch just like linux for linux to change but you need to be in developor mode on you chrome os side then shut your chrome os down and start it back up but don’t hit ctrl+d hit cirl+l
Matthew says:
Does my chromeboook need an Intel processor for this to work? It has ARM
Aidan says:
yes you need an intel cpu to run linux because arm cpus’ are not able to run linux
Joshua says:
Not true all you need is intet chrome OS which is what I have
Jack says:
Hey my laptop says that the thing a have to download is incompatible with my chromebook
Olivia Kelly says:
If your talking about the VirtualBox, look at the name at the top of your terminal and download the amd64 of the ones that matches that name, basically you don’t have to download trust for this to work.
yeaboi says:
it keeps telling me command not found on the one after shell even though i’m in developer mode
yourboi says:
Me too
JJ says:
did you install linux?
Heather says:
Hello. I was using MacOS Sierra. I got the copy of the software from my Macbook. I created an installable version of Sierra on a USB Thumb drive. Hope this helps.
Michael k says:
I do not currently own a mac. However the option of purchasing a copy of the software was my other option but since macos is not available via physical medium and only through the app store. Im kinda stuck. Unless i purchas an older version and do subsequent upgrades.
Michael K says:
You didn’t mention which version of max os your installing or where you acquired the copy whether via physical medium or a iso/dmg image of the installation material.
dbmethods says:
I have a 4GB Thinkpad Chromebook; I like to install Ubuntu 16.04 at SD card or usb 128GB drive.
Is SD or usb 3.0 more speedy for it?
Is there simple steps such as burn iso image from a Mac OSX and plug that USB to Chromebook and boot it up directly?
Heather says:
Hi That Guy,

Thank you for your insight and leaving your helpful comment for others.

That Guy says:
To get to developer mode (in order for the “shell” command to work, along with everything else), you need to do a couple of steps. Now, remember, this will wipe all the memory on your computer. If you have anything valuable, back it up first. So, to get started, press esc + refresh plus the power button at the same time. When you see a yellow exclamation mark flash on your screen, press ctrl + D to enter developer mode. If it doesn’t work the first time, press esc + refresh + power again and then ctrl + D until you get it to prompt you for developer mode (it took me a couple tries). After you hit enter, leave the computer alone until it beeps and restarts. Then it will go through that process one more time. Let it beep and restart, and don’t press any keys. Then you will be able to set up your computer. When you go into crosh again and type “shell”, this time it will work for you, and you will be able to execute all of the commands. Hope this helps.
yourboi says:
Thanks man
Yolo says:
After I press enter it keeps on saying ¨unknown command¨ also can you do a video on it because dave Bennetts video doesn’t really explain the crosh part very well
sdfg sdfghjk says:
does it work?
Videogamemaster says:
the sudo startunity one won’t work even though those other scripts have been entered in correctly
L G says:
you have to download crouton first
then type in this command
sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton/ -t unity
once it finishes loading, it will tell you to make a username and password
then you can start unity with sudo startunity
Heather says:
Hi Blake,
Thank you for your question. To get into developer mode on your Chromebook hold down the esc + refresh key and then, tap the power button. That should resolve your issue.
l says:
and then ctrl+d then wait 30 sec. for 2 beeps and create new account
Blake Baird says:
Do I have to be in developer mode to do this? I’m typing “shell” in crosh and hitting enter but it is saying, “ERROR: unknown command: shell”.
Pro Helper says:
yes, you do, like always
Jeremy says:
You need to enable developer mode.

Comments are closed.

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