How to Install MacOS / OSX on a Chromebook

Chromebook

Although you’d think it wouldn’t be possible to install MacOS / OSX on a Chromebook, someone has figured out how to do it. If you’re interested in giving 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.

Ready, set, go!

Backup

As with any new installation, you’ll first want to make a recovery image of the current one installed for your model Chromebook. 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. Then, follow the instructions here.

Chromebook Recovery Util

Install Linux

Now, you’ll 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 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.

  1. Type “cd ~.”
  2. Type “wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/divx118/crouton-packages/master/setup-headers.sh” and then press “Enter” on your Chromebook keyboard.
  3. Now, type “sudo sh setup-headers.sh” which executes that header script.

Get VirtualBox

Navigate to this page to download Ubuntu 14.04 (trusty) AMD64 VirtualBox for Linux.  VirtualBox

  • 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,” ensure 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

Start the MacOS Virtual Machine in VirtualBox. This prompts the installation of MacOS. Go to the Mac toolbar, 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.  macOS

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.

Enjoy your MacOS Virtual Machine on your Chromebook!

Posted by Heather on July 14, 2016

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

Blake Baird

September 3, 2016 at 11:44 am

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”.

Reply

Heather

September 12, 2016 at 10:26 am

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.

Reply

sdfg sdfghjk

October 25, 2016 at 2:32 am

does it work?

Reply

Videogamemaster

January 2, 2017 at 5:04 pm

the sudo startunity one won’t work even though those other scripts have been entered in correctly

Reply

Yolo

November 17, 2016 at 11:40 am

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

Reply

That Guy

December 6, 2016 at 11:02 pm

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.

Reply

Heather

December 7, 2016 at 10:43 am

Hi That Guy,

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

Reply

dbmethods

January 8, 2017 at 2:29 pm

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?

Reply

Michael K

January 12, 2017 at 11:57 am

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.

Reply

Heather

January 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Michael,
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.

Reply

Michael k

January 12, 2017 at 4:57 pm

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.

Reply

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